Letters to the Editor. Freedom of the Nicaraguan press

I noted with interest your recent editorial and cartoon criticizing Nicaragua for ``stiffening its censorship of nongovernment publications'' [``Press freedom in Latin America,'' Nov. 1]. It is actually the foreign policy of the United States which is responsible for undermining the free press in Nicaragua and which is pushing it toward relying on countries not in the Western bloc. The CIA funds and distributes manuals which promote subversion and the overthrow of a duly elected government, encouraging internal terrorism and sabotage.

US foreign policy directly undermines the ``free'' press in Costa Rica and Honduras. Evidence mounts that CIA money is being used to bribe journalists in Honduras to support ``contra'' activities in Nicaragua.

Ex-contra leader Edgar Chamorro, in testimony before the World Court recently, said, ``Approximately 15 Honduran journalists and broadcasters were on the CIA payroll, and [contra] influence was thereby extended to every major Honduran newspaper and radio and television station. The same technique was employed in Costa Rica in an effort to turn the newspapers and radio and television stations of that country against the Nicaraguan government.''

Certainly a free press in Central America is important. But it's time the Reagan administration stopped being so hypocritical by extolling a free press while undermining it with under-the-table money. Douglas La Follette Secretary of State

Madison, Wis.

On reading your editorial ``Miss Liberty's torch'' (Nov. 29), I was struck by the quotation taken from the base of the Statue of Liberty: ``. . . Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'' Most of us think of the needy at this time of year, but unfortunately mainly as an opportunity to spread some goodwill and feel momentarily better about ourselves. We can't forget that as citizens of the United States we all have a lasting obligation to do what we can to make Miss Liberty's words ring true.

We cannot let (as we now are) the present situation of the homeless and otherwise destitute become a mockery of the above words of hope and freedom from severe economic oppression. Janet C. Stokes Boston

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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