EDITORIAL LETTERS

Exploiting Guatemala

Regarding the article ''Guatemalans Fight for the Rule of Law,'' Dec. 13:

The population of Guatemala is almost equally divided between indigenous Mayans and Spanish [descendants]. If Guatemala were in fact a democracy, then the Mayans would have voted themselves better conditions.

In a democracy, this group of people would not choose to farm only those mountain plots too steep and barren for export crops.

When we read that armed guerrillas in Guatemala are terrorizing the country, we must realize that these are Mayans simply refusing to be driven further up into the mountains. The ruling class calls them Communists because they know this will scare us.

What they do not tell us is that the United States is arming the military, which protects the landed gentry and wealthy exporters.

They do not tell us that these ''Communists'' are displaced Mayan farmers with no land, and underpaid factory workers who want to form unions. They do not tell us that Guatemala is being exploited so we can import less expensive coffee, bananas, and now hamburger patties.

Terry and Ursula Loucks

Jacksonville, Fla.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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