Paper shortage halts Venezuela's oldest newspaper
- Venezuela's 110-year-old El Impulso newspaper will no longer be found on newsstands from Monday, as it cannot find enough newsprint to maintain circulation

Within days Venezuela's longest-running newspaper, El Impulso, will no longer be found on the country's newsstands as it cannot secure enough newsprint to maintain a daily circulation, according to an online editorial published Wednesday by the paper.

The regional daily from the state of Lara in western Venezuela has been hit by shortages of staple products that have been felt across the country that is weathering a long-running economic and political crisis.

"As of Monday, Sept. 15, and for a time we anxiously hope will be as short as possible, the pages of this mouthpiece of the people of Lara state will not accompany the morning coffee, as the popular saying goes," the 110-year-old privately-owned newspaper said in its editorial.

"Circumstances dictate as such. The obstacles we have faced for paper, of which we have now run out, are just one link in a chain of dire adversities inherent to the severe economic situation the country is experiencing," it continued.

The paper says the break in circulation coincides – "ironically" as it puts it – with a celebration day for the state capital, Barquisimeto, and that while "joining the city in celebration of (the city's) founding date, we will be also readying ourselves for the bitter trance of this hiatus in circulation."

Strict currency controls ordered by the government mean Venezuelan companies have encountered difficulties in obtaining U.S. dollars, while import delays and bureaucracy have also conspired to stymie businesses across the South American country.

"It's the oldest paper we have in Venezuela, 110 years old, and it has a big place in our country's history despite being a regional daily," El Impulso's Caracas correspondent Juan Carlos Salas told the Anadolu Agency.

"You could say this is a political problem, like everything is in Venezuela. We are a newspaper that doesn't follow the government's line, and although El Impulsa is not the only one to be affected, it is clear some have been more than others," Salas continued, referring to editions aligned to the state-ruled Corporación Maneiro, that has received steady supplies, according to local reports.

"There is a feeling of sadness and anxiety among those working for the paper. We just hope it won't last too long."

The independent newspaper has frequently been at odds with the government, and in January it ran an editorial with the headline "Nos quieren silenciar" (They want to silence us), bemoaning the problems it was facing with its newsprint, according to the Inter American Press Association.

The newspaper says it has had to cut sections and expressed concerns that the situation surrounding the lack of newsprint could affect the quality of its news content.

Most of the country's media organizations have been bought out by government companies or by business figures close to President Nicolás Maduro and his ruling Socialist party, and concerns surrounding the freedom of the press have been consistently raised by international observers.

Sky-high inflation, a lack of staple goods, an increasingly muzzled media and rampant crime were among the main grievances voiced by hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators who took to the streets earlier this year in bloody protests that claimed the lives of more than 40 people.

Hundreds more were injured and arrested, including political figures opposed to Maduro, who was elected last year following the death of Hugo Chávez.

Last Modified: 2014-09-11 08:09:57
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