Skip to main content

Venezuela to 'saturate the market' with 50 million rolls of imported toilet paper

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
Venezuela's monthly demand for toilet paper is about 125 million rolls a month.
Venezuela's monthly demand for toilet paper is about 125 million rolls a month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Venezuela is facing a shortage of a number of basic goods
  • The government announced it will import 50 million rolls of toilet paper
  • Officials blame private companies and the media for the shortage
  • The opposition says the government's own economic policies are failing

(CNN) -- To avoid getting caught with their pants down, Venezuelan officials say they will confront a toilet paper shortage by importing 50 million rolls to meet demand.

Toilet paper is just one of the basic goods and foodstuffs that have been disappearing from store shelves over the past few months, as the government and private companies blame each other for the scarcity.

Venezuelan Minister of Commerce Alejandro Fleming announced the toilet paper measure on Tuesday, the state-run AVN news agency reported.

Repeating the government's stance, he blamed the media for provoking fear in consumers, who in turn begin hoarding items.

"There is no deficiency in production, but an excessive demand generating purchases by a nervous population because of a media campaign that has been created to undermine the country," Fleming said. "We are going to saturate the market so that our people will calm down and understand that they should not let themselves be manipulated by the media that says there are shortages."

But Venezuelans say the shortages are very real, as staples such as rice and cooking oil are scarce.

The lack of toilet paper is apparent in Caracas, where shoppers hurry to buy rolls and make long lines when the bathroom tissues are in stock.

Venezuela's monthly demand for toilet paper is about 125 million rolls a month, Fleming said.

The government also casts blame on private companies, who they accuse of hoarding their products in hopes of selling it later at a higher price.

But businesses and the political opposition say government policies, including price controls on basic goods and tight restrictions on foreign currency, are to blame. The regulation discourage production, and many producers can't break even with the price controls, they say.

Other hygiene products, such as tooth paste and soap, might also be imported in bulk to meet demand, Fleming said.

CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0434 GMT (1234 HKT)
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT