PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3

Venezuela's shoppers are suffering shortages of all kinds, from corn flour to milk and even humble toilet tissue.

Critics say it's the result of clumsy efforts at currency control that are hitting imports.

President Nicolas Maduro's accusing his opponents of economic sabotage and the media of whipping up panic.

(SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO SAYING:

"I want to publicly ask the Attorney General, Doctor Luisa Ortega, in accordance with Venezuela's legal framework, to evaluate the special measures the prosecution and judicial powers have so we can punish the psychological war the press, television and radio are waging against the people's food security and the nation's economic life."

The country's Telecommunications Commission said on Monday it was investigating a programme shown by privately-owned Globovision tv.

The show outlined some of the difficulties of getting basic goods.

The same day newspaper headlines spoke of shortages, rising prices and the impact of speculation.

Long-suffering shoppers say queuing is becoming a way of life.

(SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) CATLINA RAMOS, SHOPPER, SAYING:

"When someone finds out that some product is in they call us and we come and get it and wait in line."

(SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) ALEXIS MIRANDA, SHOPPER, SAYING:

"We're waiting in lines. We think it's impossible to limit someone to buying just four packages per person because everything's so scarce, the food situation."

In a further twist the president announced on Monday he was expelling three U. S. diplomats he said were meeting opposition leaders and trying to destabilize the nation.

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