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Cuban Economy Worsens, Citizens Face Toilet Paper Shortages

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The extent of Cuba's economic crisis has become so severe that officials say the country is in danger of running out of toilet paper and other supplies, Reuters reports.

Cuban officials said they were reducing the prices on a range of basic goods, but may not receive more toilet paper supplies until later in the year.

Cuba does not currently have the raw resources to produce its own supplies of toilet paper, says Reuters.

The Cuban economy has been seriously affected by last summer's hurricanes alongside the global recession.

AP last week reported that upscale grocery stores that had closed to take inventory had failed to open as scheduled a few days later.

In a speech given last week, President Raul Castro said, "We have been forced to re-negotiate debts, payments and other commitments with foreign companies."

Cuba, which imports some 60 per cent of its food, has long blamed economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. for its financial difficulties.

Yesterday, AP reported that President Castro announced plans to expand a program providing tracts of land for farmers who use oxen to prepare the land for crops instead of modern oil-burning machinery.

The Cuban Communist Party Central Committee last month suspended plans to hold a party congress for the first time in 12 years and ordered energy savings across the island in order to cope with the economic crisis, ABC reported.

The HuffPost's blogger in Cuba, Yoani Sanchez, said the economic and energy situation heralded a return to the electricity blackouts of the nineties. Read her blog here.

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