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Another Look at Yugo

August 02, 1987

If the "CrVena Zastava" (Red Flag), manufacturer of the Yugo, is a "workers' cooperative . . . whose members vote their own wages and fringe benefits," as Fran Jacobs, a vice president of Yugo America, says ("Yugo Dealerships Caught in Middle of Ethnic Clash," July 19), then the moon is made of cheese and lollipops grow on trees.

Jacobs seems totally ignorant of Yugoslavia's harsh Communist reality. Red Flag (which incidentally, is an arms manufacturer that supplies regimes in Iraq, Libya, Ethiopia and Nicaragua), is owned lock, stock and barrel by the Yugoslav government, like all factories in that country. There are no free elections--only the Communist Party is allowed--and there are no free trade unions. Strikes are illegal too, though they have been occurring more frequently under the euphemistic label, "work stoppages."

Also, your story suggested that the Croatian National Congress is waging a national boycott of the Yugo because of ethnic resentment against the politically dominant Serbs in Yugoslavia (the Yugo is manufactured in Serbia). Of course, the organization wishes to call attention to the struggle of the Croatian people for national self-determination and democracy. But equally, we seek to alert the American consumers to what we believe is the shoddy quality of the Yugo and its numerous manufacturing defects, which make this car highly dangerous. We also wish to protest the exploitation of workers in Yugoslavia and the general lack of freedom.

MATTHEW MESTROVIC

President

Croatian National Congress

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