Cuban retirees resell news as toilet paper

Aug. 27, 2009 at 5:39 PM

HAVANA, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A Cuban retiree says the country's toilet paper shortage has created a lucrative business for seniors -- buying and reselling newspapers as an alternative.

The Havana retiree said he and other seniors line up before dawn to buy surplus newspapers from distribution points for factories and offices that have closed for economic reasons and shortages of electricity and raw materials, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

The man, who requested anonymity to prevent trouble with authorities, said the seniors buy the newspapers, including the Communist party's Granma, for 20 Cuban cents -- about .007 U.S. cents. They then resell them to neighbors for up to 20 Cuban pesos, about 71 U.S. cents, for use as toilet paper.

Cuban officials were quoted by the official Radio Rebelde as saying the government plans to import a lot of toilet paper by the end of the year to ease the shortage.

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