Monday, August 10, 2009

Cuba Faces Toilet Paper Shortage

Cuba is running desperately short of toilet paper, according to a report from Reuters News. Although there has been a decrease in the price of 24 basic food items, Cuban officials admit that toilet paper will be in severely short supply until the end of the year. Disastrous weather and mediocre harvests have been blamed for the toilet paper shortage. Back in the days when Cuba was a Soviet satellite, there was always a cushion for the Cuban economy.

Rudi Stettner has been interviewing Cuban officials attempting to find out more about the latest crisis. Jorge Sapingo, a Cuban official in charge of providing toiletries to Cuban consumers had the following to say.

"I feel the pain and discomfort of the Cuban consumer during the ongoing toilet paper shortage. In order to ease the shortage, I have asked the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, Granma to print editions without pictures of our leadership so that Cuban citizens who are loyal to our socialist motherland can feel free to remain clean without showing disrespect to revolutionary leaders. Additionally, laundry soap remains in abundant supply, so even if you run short of toilet paper, you can always clean up at the end of the day. Lastly, I want everyone to recall the early days of the revolution, when the entire Cuban people stood as an army against Yanqui imperialism. Back then, everyone served the people. We used to salute each other as a manner of greeting. We instituted the title " compañero and compañera to replace the counterrevolutionary Señor and Señora. As a way of showing our revolutionary solidarity during the toilet paper shortage, let us refrain from shaking hands. Instead, let us stand at a respectful distance from each other and salute each other. Let us also avoid crowded buses and ride bicycles whenever possible."

After asking Commandante Sapingo to open the windows in his office, I thanked him for his time. As a parting gift, I gave him my August 13, 2006 edition of Granma, which was a pictorial special devoted to Fidel Castro's 80th birthday. He thanked me warmly and put it in his desk drawer underneath a copy of the Bathroom Reader."

Covering the toilet paper shortage was a very interesting assignment. When I rode back to Jose Marti airport, the warm summer air in Havana rushed through the windows of my 1950 Dodge. The fragrance of the exhaust from its Russian engine was a refreshing break from my reporting assignment. when I got back on the plane, the flight attendant offered me a roll and a cup of coffee. I felt a twinge of disappointment when she brought me bread. Getting used to America again will take some time. Sphere: Related Content

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