Statehood for Puerto Rico and the Language Issue
Regarding the editorial "Puerto Rico's Status," Jan. 13: "If Puerto Ricans want their statehood, they should have it," according to the editorial. Puerto Rico was considered for United States statehood about two years ago. At that time, Puerto Rico's legislature hastened to pass a law abolishing English as one of the island's two official languages.
The new Spanish-only law repealed an 89-year-old law that made English and Spanish official languages. In signing this legislation, the governor of Puerto Rico explained that Puerto Rico was reaffirming its heritage, culture, language, and identity. America has the right to preserve its heritage, culture, language, and identity. Therefore, if statehood for Puerto Rico is again considered, the English language must be part of the statehood option. It should be remembered that French-speaking Louisiana bec ame an English-speaking state. Puerto Rico should not be treated differently. LaVonne Brown, Encinitas, Calif. The future of El Salvador
In the article "Civilian Rulers Rein in the Military," Jan. 7, the author gives the impression that the bad old days of military control of Central American society are on the wane.
As a prime example, the author mentions El Salvador, where a negotiated peace calls for the reduction in size of the military. But size alone is a superficial indication of political power. Salvador's President Alfredo Cristiani has admitted that he is not going to purge the military of the top generals and colonels because to do so would jeopardize the stability of the country, which is a way of saying the military would attempt a coup.
His failure to purge the top leaders, which the United Nations denounced, shows that the military still controls the civilian president in El Salvador. The same is certainly true in Guatemala and Honduras, as continued human rights abuses attest. Anne Pilsbury, Brooklyn, N.Y. Central American Legal Assistance The future of El Salvador
The recent editorial "Peace and Progress in El Salvador," Jan. 6, says the right things, but it omits some comments on the current situation. A friend just returned from El Salvador with a human rights lawyer for a man held in prison. The man came to the United States after leaving the Salvadoran Army and had testified about some of the atrocities - an obvious reason for political asylum - but was denied by US authorities. Eventually he was deported to El Salvador, and now his life is threatened in a Sal vadoran prison.
Despite the peace accords, the Cristiani government has not been able to attain the confidence of the people that human rights will be possible in the Salvadoran courts. The first step would be to make public the names of those officers most responsible for rights abuses. How much responsibility does the US administration have for these abuses? Should Congress investigate these US military advisers, or does President Bush's pardon take away all responsibility?
These questions strike at the heart of the matter of our government's continuing involvement with the rightist military governments in Central America. Many of us do try to help the refugees and to cut off spending for arms for these oppressive governments.
We have been lied to. Now, those responsible have been pardoned. Charley Peterson, Hatboro, Pa.