Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 4, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
38 -THE LETHBRIDOB HERALD Wednesday, December 4, 1974 Colombia enmeshed in crisis despite cheap sugar and gasoline Kleins men ring cross Klu Klux Klansmen ring a 15-foot cross before 65 persons who turned out for the rally in setting it afire at a rally near Windham Center, Pa. freezing temperatures. Only about a dozen robed klansmen were among the New York Times Service BOGOTA With sugar priced at 9 a pound, gas- oline selling at 11 cents a gallon and minimum wages just raised by 25 per cent, Colombia should by all current economic yardsticks be in an enviable position. With Colombia's traditional ability to feed and fuel its million people, she might or- dinarily be considered in a position to withstand the in- flationary turmoil embroiling the rest of the world. But in fact, Colombia is enmeshed in its worst economic crisis in years. Con- sumers have been rioting in many cities over a period of several weeks because of food shortages and soaring prices in the black market, Where merchants ignore government price controls. Manufacturers complain that the relatively small mid- dle and upper classes cannot absorb sales taxes of between 6 and 35 per cent that were im- posed recently, particularly when the inflation rate is heading toward 30 per cent .this year. About the only happy elements in Colombia's economic scene are the ex- porters and smugglers who are busy shipping sugar, beef and other foods to neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela, along with cement and other building materials. Indeed, much of Colombia's economic woes today are directly linked to the tremen- dous demand for foodstuffs and industrial raw material? in those two oil rich lands as well as in Panama and other places where low-cost goods are welcomed. So great is the demand from Colombia's neighbors that the traditional self sufficiency in both foodstuffs and petroleum is being threatened and, for the first time in many years, the government has con- tracted to import gasoline from Mexico. There is even talk that sugar, a basic item in the Colombian diet, may eventually have to be im- ported as well. Shulton 'Old Spice' After Shave Choose from five attractive 6-oz. decanters. 4.49 West Vitamin C Chewable 100-mg. Vicks Formula 44 Cough Syrup 5-02. 44 New! Earth Born Shampoo Green Apple. Apricot. Avocjdo. 7.9-oz Houbigant Primitive Naturals Solid Perfume Musk. Tea Rose. Jasmine Revel 'Curl 'n Go' Professional Curling Iron Gillette 'Super Max with 5 accessories 24.97 Solaray Groomate Styling Comb with brush and two comb attachments. Right Guard Anti- Perspirant Quelques Fieurs Gift Set Dusting Powder, Eaude Toilette Blue Jeans Gift Set Cologne. Dusting Powder Hai Karate Soap on a Rope 22.97 Clairol 'Crazy Curl' Curling Wand WIN A GIANT 5-FT. CHRISTMAS STOCKING FULL OF SAVINGS! PACKED WITH MERCHANDISE FROM OUR STORE! NTER NOW! r NO PURCHASE .J NECESSARY! OVER 125 STOCKINGS TO BE WON ACROSS CANADA BALLOTS IN OUR STORES. Tamblyn and Super City drugmarts This unusual situation for Colombia was blamed by economists recently inter- viewed here on just more ex- port demand. "We have been living for too long in an economic one expert declared, "protected by what we thought were protective low wages and relatively modest imports." For many years, he ex- plained, non coffee agriculture was ignored and periodic promises of land reform deterred investors in that sector. Today, the Venezuelan government is preparing huge investments in agriculture here, including fertilizer plants to take advan- tage of available arable lands cheap farm labor. Generally, labor costs four or five times more in oil-rich Venezuela. The coffee output accounts for less than half of total ex- ports of billion a year. Unlike Brazil, which produces twice as much coffee, most Colombian planters have small plots of lands and de- pend on quality. In the petroleum sector, .economists aJso blame decades of government sub- sidies for the failure of production to keep up with de- mand domestically. Colombia pumps an average of barrels of oil a day. Down 000 from the 1973 level. Most economists here agree that President Alfonso Lopez Michelsen has made two brilliant moves toward keep- ing the economy functioning smoothly. One was the invok- ing of special economic powers upon his inauguration last August to bypass Colom- bia's notoriously slow moving Congress, which his party controls. The other move was to name Rodrigo Bolero Mon- toya as minister of finance. Botero, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a respected in- dependent economist who has no connections with the small tight-knit industrial com- munity. Despised oxcart saves the day in oil crisis By RAM SUNDAR CP Correspondent BOMBAY (CP) Thanks to the severe oil crisis, the oxcart no longer is considered by Indian planners as a symbol of their country's backwardness. In fact, they expect that the slow and cumbersome vehicle, hitherto despised by educated Indians, will help to overcome acute transport problems. All over India freight movement has become a nightmare following the steep rise in oil prices. While the government- owned railways have jacked up freight charges, truck com- panies complain that there are not enough vehicles in the mar- ket. Motilal Mehta, a leading businessman of Bombay, now uses oxcarts to bring sugar, cooking oil and other articles from rural areas to his warehouse. Since oxcarts are not allowed to ply within Bombay limits, he has built a huge transit warehouse 35 miles from the metro- polis. Mehta says the oxcarts sometimes take 20 to 30 days to cover a distance of 500 miles. "But you can depend upon them. There is no government red tape as in the he points out. Several leading manufacturers are switching over to oxcart transportation, partly or fully. New Delhi Statesman reports that a big sugar mill in Coimba- tore in Tamil Nadu state now uses oxcarts' to distribute sup- plies. The government planning commission has begun a survey of the role of oxcarts in the national economy. The Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore has taken up a project to "modernize" the oxcart. Institute director N. S. Ramaswamy says the idea is to speed up the carts and reduce the burden on the animals. India has more than 12 million oxcarts. Costing more than they already carry more than 60 per cent of farm produce to urban markets. But the use of oxcarts to transport manufactured goods had been declining for the last five years. Now, the acute oil crisis has given them added importance in the eyes of sophisticated manufacturers. "Thank God for our oxcarts. They are going to save our economy says B. R. Ready whose firm in Hy- derabad, Andhra state, makes electric irrigation pumps. Prem Khanna, an executive in a radio and TV firm, says: "The oxcart may turn out to be the best answer to the oil sheiks of the Middle East." Oxcart owner Datta Ram of Karjat, a farm centre 60 miles from here, is hoping that the government-owned banks will now lend money at lower interest rates to enable villagers to order more oxcarts. College Mall, Magrath Drive and h Ave. S. Mayor Magrath Drive Wedding in the skies Godwin Igwe, 33, and Daniela Zocca, 26, were married by Rev. Ernest Leslie in the air over Buttonville airport, north east of Toronto. went from his home in Nigeria to the University of Milan in Italy in 1967. There he got a doctorate in mechanical engineering and met his bride who comes from Milan. He now lives in Kingston, Ont.