Roiled Over Rolls: No Toilet Paper Has Venezuelans Fuming

Source: Peter Wilson / USA Today

LA VICTORIA, Venezuela – Soraida Gil says she can live without coffee but draws the line at toilet paper.

Gil, a 43-year-old Venezuelan housewife, spent two days looking for toilet paper in this city of 150,000 in the central state of Aragua. She found paper towels and napkins but no toilet paper.

“Call me a counterrevolutionary but there are certain things that are essential and toilet paper is one of them,” she says, staring at the bare shelves where toilet tissue used to be stocked at the Morichal supermarket, one of the city’s largest. “What do they expect us to use? Banana leaves?”

Venezuelans have grown accustomed to food shortages over the past decade as the result of the country’s foreign exchange and price controls. Milk, butter, tooth paste, margarine, cooking oil, coffee, sugar, soap, cornmeal and wheat flour periodically disappear, setting off wild scrambles when they re-emerge.

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