Guatemala, famine, and Savimbi

The article ``Guatemala's Highland Indians'' [Feb. 5] was valuable in helping inform US citizens of how Guatemalan Indians have suffered. Unfortunately, mention was not made of the estimated 100,000 orphans in Guatemala and the 6,000 to 7,000 of these in the Quiche Department. The US administration should not be seeking funds for the police and military who have created these children's suffering.

Previous aid administered by US or Guatemalan government agencies has also been used to control and oppress Guatemalans. For example, drinkable water was provided only for people who left their native villages and moved into militarily controlled ``model villages.'' Food assistance was tied to participation in civil defense patrols.

Because of such abuses, aid to Guatemala should be administered by international humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF. This will help ensure that aid actually reaches the people. Tom Clark Greensboro, N.C.

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Once again we are confronted with the complexities of ending hunger in cultures we don't take the time to understand [``Famine: major progress, but crisis remains,'' Dec. 26]. With our money and technology, the possibility exists to wipe out death by starvation and disease.

But how do we intervene in Ethiopia's political struggle, for example, or work within Kenya's contraceptive superstitions? Our success will be measured in terms of patience, courage, and the determination to care for the planet as an investment in our future. Collin Loewen Houston

I take strong exception to your editorial ``Don't invest in Savimbi'' [Jan. 31]. Is it your contention that since Russia is more willing to supply weapons and aid to its surrogates, we should allow such conquests to continue and grow?

The US has an excellent opportunity with minimal costs to aid freedom fighters such as UNITA and the ``contras'' in Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Cambodia, and to make Russia's conquests and expansion very costly indeed!

I get weary of the contention that aid to such worthy liberation movements only means more Russian and Cuban aid, and would be non-beneficial to our interests. Russia and its surrogates do have limited resources, and if the price of expansion of their influence is increased, they will have to respond. Morton E. Nager Spanish Fort, Ala.

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

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