When you’re running an epic socialist experiment while simultaneously attempting to preserve the legacy of a now-deceased “anti-imperialist” geopolitcal legend and your country’s most valuable asset has unexpectedly become a liability, it’s sometimes necessary for the common man (and woman) to make sacrifices, which is why it makes sense that at one point this year, 36 condoms cost nearly $800 in Venezuela. Fortunately for the safety of US citizens, The White House has officially recognized the country as a threat to US national security, which means no shady Venezuelans will be able to use the US financial system to procure condoms or bread on this administration’s watch. Rounding out the absurdities, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro predictably decided to use Washington’s charade to his advantage by citing Obama’s “imperialist” ambitions as an excuse to grant himself “special powers” which should help him “preserve the peace and integrity” of the country.
While it’s not entirely clear whether this falls under the purview of “preserving peace and integrity,” we imagine it would be a reputational advantage for the nation’s hotels to be able to provide guests with toilet paper, but as Fusion reports, Maduro’s socialist paradise has left some businesses up the proverbial creek:
Venezuela’s product shortages have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap, a local tourism industry spokesman said on Wednesday.
In Merida, a state in western Venezuelan that’s known for its stunning mountain landscapes, small hotels are struggling to stock their rooms with basic supplies, especially as the busy Semana Santa or Holy Week holiday gets underway.
“It’s an extreme situation,” says Xinia Camacho, owner of a 20-room boutique hotel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada national park. “For over a year we haven’t had toilet paper, soap, any kind of milk, coffee or sugar. So we have to tell our guests to come prepared.”
Gerardo Montilla, president of Merida’s tourism chamber, told Fusion that product shortages are hitting smaller hotels particularly hard during the busy vacation week.
“Five hotels have told me they are going through this situation, where they have to ask guests to bring their own toilet paper,” Montilla told Fusion. “We’re near the border with Colombia, just two and a half hours away, and lots of [Venezuelan] goods are taken there, because they sell for more money in Colombia.”
Montilla says bigger hotels can circumvent product shortages by buying toilet paper and other basic supplies from black market smugglers who charge up to 6-times the regular price. But smaller, family-run hotels can’t always afford to pay such steep prices, which means that sometimes they have to make do without.
Camacho says she refuses to buy toilet paper from the black market on principle.
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Yes, “on principle.” And while that position is fine when it comes to toilet paper, it’s not entirely amenable to goods that are necessary for basic human subsistence.