With firmness and determination, the Communist rulers of Laos are putting the smallest Indochina state on the Socialist path.
GV Street scenes with closed and empty shops (5 shots)
GV & CU Workers weeding vegetable plots (4 shots)
SV & GV Vegetables being sold (2 shots)
GV & CU rice being harvested (4 shots)
GV & CU Rice being dehusked (3 shots)
GV & SV Lorry being loaded with sacks of rice (5 shots)
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Background: With firmness and determination, the Communist rulers of Laos are putting the smallest Indochina state on the Socialist path. Signs of change in the capital of Vientiane aren't particularly obvious as the government carefully implements their programme. But in the countryside, the indications of socialist activity are unmistakable.
SYNOPSIS: One of the government's first steps was to close all shops in Vientiane owned by Indians and Chinese. In some cases the closures are only temporary, others are permanent. The owners aren't sure what will happen in the future. There are other measures against foreigners, including a ban on car sales to non-Laotians.
In the countryside surrounding the capital, peasants are being encouraged to work in "labour sharing" groups -- units that could end up as collective farms or co-operatives. Harvests this years have been good, but all the food is needed and already accounted for. Great importance has been placed on agriculture.
Vegetables are still the traditional cash crops for the peasants. But now the proceeds from sales at local markets are being split between groups and communities.
Rice, of course, remains the country's most important crop. The economy fluctuates according to the rice harvest, despite aid from the Soviet Union, Vietnam and China.
The rice husking and polishing is being carried out at co-operative centres. Modern agricultural machinery is high on the list of the Laotian government's priorities. Peasants also attend re-education programmes in centres set up throughout the country side.
The programmes effect most people. Their aim is to "raise the level of consciousness and understanding of the government's programme of action". After almost two years of rule by the Pathet Lao, the change to socialism is still being brought about gradually, without under force or brutality. According to Reuters life in Laos is harder since the Communists took power, but still easy going and unopressive.