Chavez died and reportedly returned to his successor as a little bird. Sadly the Socialist leader did not, while in bird form, warn Maduro, that the country would shortly run out of toilet paper due to his insane Bolivarian revolution’s attempts to control every aspect of the economy.
Venezuela is now suffering from a government-induced toilet paper shortage. The situation has become politically dire enough that the government has promised to import 50 million rolls to calm shoppers.
For those familiar with the Bolivarian Republic’s less-than-sterling economic record of late, this won’t come as a surprise. The country, while relatively wealthy by developing-world standards, has been suffering through a chronic shortfall of everything from groceries to asthma inhalers, resulting in desperate lines of shoppers and a healthy black market trade in kitchen staples like flour.
While the government prefers to blame shadowy political enemies for the shortages — according to the AP, Commerce Secretary Alejandro Fleming said the toilet paper crisis was the result of “excessive demand” sparked by “a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country” — the explanation is much more straightforward.
In 2003, then President Hugo Chavez slammed currency controls into place to prevent money from fleeing the country while government seized land and corporate assets. Those rules have made it harder to buy imports. Meanwhile, price caps meant to make basic staples affordable to the poor are so low that, for many products, they don’t pay for the cost of production.
Nobody’s going to make toilet paper if they’ll lose money selling it.
“The revolution will bring the country the equivalent of 50 million rolls of toilet paper,” Fleming told a state news agency. It would be much easier to let the free market do it instead.
Yes, but this will be gloriously revolutionary toilet paper. And perhaps Chavez will even return in the form of a red roll of Bolivarian toilet paper.