Toilet Paper Defeats Venezuelan Socialism


Frances Goldin of Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA may want to take some notes. This is what turning a working country into a Socialist country leads to.

After his annual address to parliament last month, Maduro declared 2014 “the year of the ultimate triumph in the economic war,” announced a new team of economic managers and decreed a law capping business profits at 30 percent.

“You can be sure we will be inspecting everyone, sooner or later,” Maduro warned, part of the “New Economic Order” he vows to create.

Sounds great. How is the ultimate triumph in economic war going so far?

Soon word spread that the long-awaited rolls had arrived, and despite a government-imposed limit of one package per person, the checkout lines stretched all the way to the decimated dairy case in the back of the store.

“This is so depressing,” said Maria Plaza, 30, a lawyer, an hour and a half into her wait. “Pathetic.”

Pathetic, in a country with the world’s largest petroleum reserves and oil prices at nearly $95 a barrel, yet unable to supply basic goods because of its crumbling local currency and a shortage of U.S. dollars.

“Soon we’ll be using newspaper, just like they do in Cuba!” said an elderly man nearby, inching forward in line. “Yeah! Like Cuba!” others shouted.

The fate of Venezuela’s revolution, it seems, will be decided at the supermarket.

Most Venezuelans are too busy just trying to secure the basics. Residents from the country’s interior say the shortages are even worse outside the capital.

“There’s nothing to buy where we live,” said Maria Valencia, a preschool teacher from the oil-producing hub of Maracaibo, near Venezuela’s western border, while shopping at a government-run Bicentenario supermarket where products sold by recently nationalized companies carried little heart symbols and the phrase “Made in Socialism.”

Valencia and three family members had filled their cart with corn oil, four bottles each, the maximum. “This stuff is gold,” she said.

This is what Made in Socialism looks like. But at least Venezuela is safer under left-wing tyranny.

Fear is so widespread that shopping mall kiosks offer “Express Armoring” for motorists who want their vehicles bullet­proofed, fast.

Despite calls for an overhaul of Venezuela’s woeful police ­forces, Maduro said violent soap operas were to blame and warned broadcasters to clean up their content.

Yes, it’s the soap operas. Once the last independent broadcaster is shut down, then Venezuela will be safer because crime won’t be reported.

Venezuela’s real problem, economists say, is that a shortage of U.S. dollars is squeezing the ability of the government and the private sector to import. Even in upscale Caracas shopping malls, international chain stores such as Zara and Gucci are gutted, their employees standing around with nothing to sell and the mannequins left naked.

While the government has fixed the exchange rate of the country’s currency, the “strong bolivar,” at 6.3 to the dollar, the widely used street rate is more than 10 times higher. Inflation was 56 percent last year — officially — and in an oil-warped economy that depends heavily on imported goods, businesses can’t get the dollars they need to restock their shelves. Even Venezuelan-made items go scarce as factories struggle to obtain replacement parts and raw materials.

But Venezuela’s insane dictator Maduro, who claims that a little bird in the form of Chavez visited him, does have a solution.

Maduro’s government also plans to grease the wheels by selling at least $5 billion in U.S. money — at nearly twice the official rate — to companies trying to shed bolivars and secure hard currency.

Crony Socialism. It’s not just for Obama.

Venezuelans buy toilet rolls

  • Bacon_Crusader

    “While the government has fixed the exchange rate of the country’s
    currency, the “strong bolivar,” at 6.3 to the dollar, the widely used
    street rate is more than 10 times higher.”

    This is actually wrong, nowadays the street rate is between 12 and 13 times higher. It was 10 times higher in November I think. You can’t access the website from Venezuela (Unless You use Proxy/Vpn of course :) ) because it publishes the current vale of the street rate.

    Now they’re devaluating everything but food and medicine from 6.3 to 11.3 and cutting the gasoline subsidy.

    There was a good thing about Maduro “winning” the last election, the sweet irony of him having to do spending cuts (ending gasoline subsidy, devaluating fixed enchange rate) and still not being able to solve the inflation problem which will be higher than 60%

    • A Z

      A populist demagogue Maduro will cut subsidies after promising the masses low cost or free necessities. But he can;t deliver. He will be hoisted by his own petard.

      You usually get riots when you cut gas subsidies. It happened in Ecuador a few years back. Now President Correa made a new effort in August 2013 to cut gas subsidies. Governments cannot afford them. They drain their currency reserves.

      Certain businesses like gas subsidies. it keeps them in business when alternative ways are cheaper, which would be better for people, the government and the environment.

      Ecuador: LPG Gas Distributors fear their survival when gas subsidy ends

      “Ecuador to end government subsidies for LP gas and gasoline”

      • Bacon_Crusader

        It also happened in Venezuela back in 1989, ironically the government Hugo Chavez tried to bring down with a Coup.

        Carlos Andres Perez president in that Year was the one who nationalized the oil industry…

        Ever since Venezuela has been in democracy (1958) only left leaning parties have won.
        The ones before Hugo Chavez nationalized Gas and Iron, subsidized food and specially gasoline, and created the infamous exchange rate controls, had Oil been more expensive they’d have done more socialist policies….

        Before Hugo Chavez there was socialism and with Hugo Chavez Venezuela simply went more to the left

        • A Z

          Thx for the history lesson.

          I have never really been to Venezuela. Just stopped over on the way further south. It was not nice decades ago. We got to the Sheraton, a really nice hotel, and the two of the guards at the entrance had shotguns. Welcome to South America.

        • Drakken

          Time for a military coup to set things right again.

  • ebonystone

    I wonder what’s on the shelves behind the shoppers in the photo? At least something is in stock. Whatever it is, none of the customers seem to be buying any of it.

    • Bacon_Crusader

      Some of the products which are considered basic supplies (Toilet Paper, Olive oil, Milk, Sugar, Eggs, Harina Pan) are regulated with price controls. The consequence: they’re scarce, there’s a black market (basically informal vendors selling for higher price) for products like Harina Pan and Eggs.

      The products You see on the shelves aren’t regulated but aren’t a daily necessity either, so they’re more expensive but there’s more supply of them

      P.S this is Harina Pan:

      • A Z

        If you don’t live in a city, then Venezuela should raise guinea pigs and chickens for food.

        the chickens can literally scratch for a living.

  • ebonystone

    “Maduro said violent soap operas were to blame and warned broadcasters ….”

    At least so far he’s only warning them. Unlike 0bama, who claimed the Benghazi murders were the result of a video critical of Islam, amd jailed the producer

  • Omar

    The insane lunatic Maduro never fails to disappoint the world with his ridiculous economic policies and his allegiance to his colonial masters in Communist Cuba, the Castro brothers. While Venezuelans are suffering from their government’s oppressive and destructive policies, Maduro is obsessed with forcing the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to join CELAC (which is an international organization created by Chavez in which the main goal is to destroy the OAS, democracy and the free market) despite the fact that a majority of Puerto Ricans already voted to become a permanent state of the United States. What Maduro should do instead is confess to his crimes and give up power to the rightful president of Venezuela, Henrique Capriles. It is time that Venezuela returns to genuine democracy.

  • kevinstroup

    Such a crappy situation down there……

  • nobamunism

    Venezuela has flirted off and on with progressivism/collectivism for decades. This current flirtation has brought them closer to true socialism with its inherent toilet paper shortages. You can always tell when progressivism/collectivism has run its normal course, when the basic necessities of life become scarce. Long lines for splintery toilet paper, sawdust sausages, and plastic work boots must be the sign of successful socialism.

    • Drakken

      Burn baby burn! Let the whole rotten house of cards come burning down, they brought this upon themselves and have themselves to blame, if they are looking for sympathy, I am all out.

  • seansd

    Thought they were running out of newspaper, too?

  • Mike Ward

    Just before someone put a cap in his a$$, Maduro was heard to say: “Everyone will wear their underwear on the outside! Learn to play the piano and speak Swedish!”

  • unionville

    And we’re on the road to socialism. I hoarded a magnificent stash of incandescent light bulbs to get ahead of the ban. Sad to think that I might need to be creating a stash of TP as well in the future.

    • A Z

      The LEFT want solar and winder power to save the environment or for control.

      I and many like me want wind and solar to get off the grid and not be subject to utility companies or the government. It saves the household budget. Beside we might as well generate power because we all need back generators just in case their is a blackout due to a storm or something else. We need power generation because environmentalists create dirty power, which hurt electronics.

      By generating your own power you avoid taxes that morons like Al Gore put on every utility to help out the poor. Yes, I want to help the poor. I just don’t want to do it day in and day put forever. The government helps the poor for 50 (LBJ) to 80 (FDR) years now and we just have more poor.

      Me, I don’t want incandescents. I certainly don’t want CFLs. I want LEDs as soon as they come down in price so the total lifetime cost is comparable to that of incandescents.

    • robotnik

      The TP makes more sense than the light bulbs. The light bulb situation was about freedom to choose, not about technology. You would be better off with the new LED bulbs – non-toxic, clean light, longer life, and lower electricity bills. Yes, they cost more, but they last much longer and take less energy. Better to stock imperishable foodstuffs than light bulbs.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        LEDs are better for many applications, but incandescent bulbs are still used as a small local heat source.

      • Denis George Miller

        they do not last any longer as has been verified by a number of independent tests!

      • Chavi Beck

        “freedom to choose” MEANS you do not get to tell me how I would be better off. I’m supposed to decide that for my very own little self. That’s what “freedom to choose” means; go look it up in the dictionary.

  • MattBracken

    “But at least they’re trying to be fair the poor and oppressed!” ~Barack Obama

  • ping

    Could be worse, they could be like capitalist India and not have toilets at all.

    • kevinstroup

      Crony capitalist, otherwise known as fascist. But even the corruption beats out the fascism in India.

    • Softly Bob

      Er… India has toilets. WTF you on about?

  • Joseph P. Martino

    Wait until you see what Yellen does to the dollar. Soon it will be back at par with the bolivar. Or maybe even the Zimbabwean dollar.

  • EllenBernal

    This is so funny, because it reminds me of former East Germany. They did not have Toilet paper either. This must be a Communist trademark.

    • Bingeman

      In my city years ago,a bike shop owner,originally from Poland,brought his mother here.He told a story about taking his mother to a local grocery store.She asked about all the products that were on the shelves and why there were no lineups.He explained to her that this is how it was all the time….a huge selection of products available all the time with no limits.She burst into tears,sobbing that she could not believe that there was a place in this world where you could buy what you needed when you needed it,especially basics.The story brought tears to my eyes because at that point I was a teenager and had no idea that some people in the world had to live that way.Communism is true misery.

  • Lou Hodges

    OK, you’re gonna love this. My ex husband is a Russian translator. Back in the 1970s, the word was, if you went to Moscow, take your own TP. There was a woman who’s job was to tear off one sheet and hand it to you before you used the public toilet. Welcome to communism

    • Chavi Beck


    • Chavi Beck

      At least they cared about creating jobs for people like that woman, right?

  • David Stanley

    Wrong headline, it’s Socialism that has defeated toilet paper for the moment but Capitalism’s defeat of Socialism(always) has come in the form of the Hand Bidet Sprayer that Venezuelan’s are now buying so that they don’t even need toilet paper. It’s cleaner, better, and will never run out! See