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Toilet paper shortage hits Cuba

There's good news and bad news in Cuba.

The bad news: There's a shortage of toilet paper, and officials in Havana say it will not ease until the end of the year.

The good news: Day-old copies of the Communist party's newspaper Granma, a traditional substitute, are available for less than a U.S. penny. And that's six to eight full, if rough, pages per day.

Cuban officials say the shortage is the result of the global financial crisis and three devastating hurricanes last summer, which forced cuts in imports as well as domestic production because of reductions in electricity and imports of raw materials.

But CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria says that "at the bottom of this toilet paper shortage is Cuba's continuing commitment to its bizarro world of socialist economics."

"Cuba's disastrous economy would be a joke were it not for the poverty it has perpetuated among millions of Cubans," Zakaria said in a video commentary posted last week. "The whole country is stagnating. Fifty percent of its arable fields are going unfarmed. First and second year college students work one month out of the year in agriculture."

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