Business, Economics and Jobs

Venezuela toilet paper shortage ends with new toilet paper shipments


Toilet paper adorns the Auburn Oaks at Toomer's Corner Celebration on April 20, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama. Venezuela could have used some of this.


Mike Zarrilli

Venezuela's National Assembly has voted to approve a $79 million credit for toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. Sounds like a party.

No, actually, the staggering measure come after Venezuela made the news for its dire toilet paper shortage. How does a country run out of toilet paper, you might wonder? 

Economists are saying that the shortage, which affects not just toilet paper but other basic goods, is the result of price controls imposed by the country's socialist government (though government officials have presented alternative theories). 

More from GlobalPost: Venezuela has run out of toilet paper. Cue the hysteria.

Under late leader Socialist Hugo Chavez, chronic shortages have in fact plagued the country since 2003, Agence France-Presse reported

It should be no surprise then that the toilet paper shortage has ignited partisan tensions in Venezuela. In April, Chavez's chosen successor, Socialist President Nicolas Maduro, narrowly defeated challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. Scores of people died in the bitter election riots that followed (GlobalPost's Girish Gupta captured the violence on video). 

The move to approve the shipment of 39 million toilet paper rolls to Venezuela probably won't solve any of the deeper issues that caused the shortage in the first place.

"The resulting scarcity forces up inflation, defeating the entire purpose of price controls in the first place," organization Consensus Economics told BBC News.

But for now, at least locals can rest easy while they're on the pot.