Wine, Flour Shortages Threaten Communion

Created: 2013-05-30 04:09 EST

Category: World > South America

Shortages of every day consumer goods in Venezuela could affect the sacrament of holy communion in Catholic churches.

The country is facing shortages in close to 20 percent of basic goods including toilet paper, detergents, wheat and corn flour.

Church leaders say besides reducing the amount of wine used during mass, they might have to start importing it from other countries.

Government officials say the shortages are caused by panicked buying and merchants who hoard goods to artificially inflate prices.

The opposition though says the problem is caused by currency controls and years of nationalizations that weakened private industry and left businesses unwilling to invest.

The government has agreed to work with business leaders although it is struggling to provide sufficient hard currency to businesses for the importation of goods.