Venezuela orders temporary takeover of toilet paper factory

CARACAS Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:24pm EDT

Supermarket staff work next to partially empty shelves of toilet paper in Caracas May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Supermarket staff work next to partially empty shelves of toilet paper in Caracas May 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva

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CARACAS (Reuters) - A Venezuelan state agency on Friday ordered the temporary takeover of a factory that produces toilet paper in what it called an effort to ensure consistent supplies after embarrassing shortages earlier this year.

Critics of President Nicolas Maduro say the nagging shortages of products ranging from bathroom tissue to milk are a sign his socialist government's rigid price and currency controls are failing. They have also used the situation to poke fun at his administration on social media networks.

A national agency called Sundecop, which enforces price controls, said in a statement it would occupy one of the factories belonging to paper producer Manpa for 15 days, adding that National Guard troops would "safeguard" the facility.

"The action in the producer of toilet paper, sanitary napkins and disposable diapers responds to the state's obligation to ensure a steady supply of basic goods for the people," Sundecop said, adding it had observed "the violation of the right" to access such products.

Calls to the Manpa factory went unanswered.

Government supporters laud efforts by Maduro, the successor to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, for maintaining tough regulations of private businesses.

They blame unscrupulous merchants for hoarding products to make quick profits, and celebrate the socialist government's legacy of social assistance programs.

Critics say the shortages of consumer goods are caused by businesses' inability to import raw materials and machinery because of a shortage of hard currency under the exchange controls.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (5)
PugPug wrote:
I blame socialism for our lack of extraterrestrial contact. Why would any advanced civilization want to trade with stupid and thuggish apes? Especially ones with stinky bums.

Sep 21, 2013 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
So typical of all Socialist governments, they don’t understand why it doesn’t work, and will never work.

If a company can’t make a profit on their products, it wont stay in business very long. No amount of government edicts can make them keep producing a product when they don’t have the money to pay their workers, or to buy more raw materials . . . That’s the way business works. Ask former world power, the USSR, or even China (before they realized the truth and modified their Communism into a blend of Capitalistic Communism (an oxymoron if there ever was one)!

Sep 21, 2013 11:57am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mylena wrote:
Well, I can yell Venezuelan, YOU GOT IT!!! this country had the second opportunity to void Chavez dictator rules. They got a former bus driver like president? again: YOU GOT IT!!!!!rIGHT NOW THEY WILL REMEMBER HOW STUPID THEY WERE VOTING YOUR NEW PRESIDENT

Sep 23, 2013 9:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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