A Cuban state media outlet confirmed last week that the nation’s capital, Havana, is suffering significant shortages of toilet paper. While the absence of common goods in the communist nation is not uncommon, such acknowledgment of a problem is rare.
The state newspaper Juventud Rebelde (“Rebellious Youth”) reported on Wednesday that toilet paper had “disappeared” from stores in Havana, announcing that the government’s state-run producer of toilet paper had acquired new machinery to generate toilet paper.
“They are not the super-machines, but they have an elevated technology level,” toilet paper engineer Manolo González García told the newspaper. One advantage of the new machines, he explains, is that they can simultaneously churn out two types of toilet paper rolls: a high-quality one for tourists, and an “ecological” one to sell to Cuban citizens.
The Miami-based Cuban news outlet Martí Noticias noted this week that Havana has suffered major shortages of toilet paper “for weeks” before Juventud Rebelde reported on them. Diario de Cuba adds that the Castro regime has begun importing higher numbers of toilet paper rolls from Vietnam while it adjusts its ability to produce the paper domestically, citing Spanish newswire service EFE.
While Cuban communist media covering the shortages may be new, EFE notes that “toilet paper shortages have been a constant in Cuban homes since the crisis of the 1990s, leading many families to use official state newspaper as toilet paper.” After decades of having its communist government subsidized by the Soviet Union, Cuba suffered what the Castro regime has dubbed the “special period” of extreme poverty following the collapse of its patron in the 1990s. Cuba has since established a close relationship with Venezuela, which has provided free oil and key resources to keep the regime afloat. full story