Queues outside shops selling food and other essentials such as soap, shoes and fuel are now a common sight in Chile.
Queues outside shops selling food and other essentials such as soap, shoes and fuel are now a common sight in Chile. The government has been in charge of the distribution of basic consumer goods since January, but the shortages, especially of food, continue.
Among the reasons for the shortages are Chile's dependence on food imports which have risen in price recently, her balance of payments deficit, and a steep drop in the number of unemployed which means that wages now far outrun the supply of goods. The situation might be even worse were it not for a recent 40% rise in the price in copper which makes up 80% of Chile's exports.
Marxist President Allende has admitted that the policies of his popular unity party are to some extent responsible for the shortages. But he has pressed ahead with his programme of social reform and nationalisation of big foreign concerns which has so alienated the United States copper companies.