Cuba in the toilet
Cuba is running out of toilet paper. While Cuba blames the Global Financial Crisis, Fareed blames Communism.
Now for our "What In The World" segment. Here's what got my attention this week - a roll of toilet paper. Certainly not the normal subject for us here at GPS, but this is special toilet paper - Cuban toilet paper. It turns out Cuba may be running out of this stuff. The government has warned its citizens in recent days that they are facing a toilet paper shortage. And they added this paucity of paper could last until the end of the year, when they expect a shipment to come in.
So how did this happen? Well, the Cubans blame it on the global financial crisis and the hurricanes that they were hit with last year. Now the financial crisis is hurting everyone, but I had yet to hear shortfalls in toilet paper in other places. What I think is really at the bottom of this toilet paper crisis is Cuba's continuing commitment to its bizarre world of socialistic economics. Just two weeks ago, Raul Castro vowed, yet again, to keep communism alive in Cuba, to make sure capitalism doesn't return. In a world of flux, I suppose it is comforting to know that something stays the same.
Cuba's disastrous economy would be a joke where not for the poverty it has perpetuated among millions of Cubans. The whole country is stagnating. Fifty percent of its arable fields are going unfarmed. First and second year college students now work one month out of the year in agriculture. Its insane farm policies lead to frequent shortages of fruit, vegetables and other basic food needs, shortages even more serious than toilet paper. And all those programs they've held up for years as successes of the communist revolution - free education for all through college, universal healthcare. Well, Raul Castro just announced that they're gonna have to make cuts in all of these. Meanwhile, the average Cuban still earns the equivalent of less than 20 dollars per month.
Now capitalism has its problems as we have all seen, but at least we are not running out of toilet paper.