The July 7 article, "In Nicaragua, old US foe rises again," overlooked a key obstacle to Daniel Ortega's presidential bid: his political correlation, if any, to Hugo Chávez. Though the involvement of Mr. Chávez in the Nicaraguan race has not yet had great political consequence, the Venezuelan leader has recently expressed his support of Ortega's cause through gifts of fertilizer and promises of cheap oil to pro-Ortega Nicaraguan municipalities, which may end up being detrimental to Ortega's campaign.
Chávez's previous endorsement of leftist contenders in Mexico and Peru, in the two most recent Latin American presidential elections, hurt each of his favored candidates' success. In Mexico, the center-right candidate, Felipe Calderón, effectively shifted the focus of the presidential debate to his adversary's nonexistent connection with Chávez and his populist message, a tactic that heavily contributed to Calderón's narrow victory. Similarly, in Peru, Ollanta Humala's supposed affiliation with the Venezuelan leader helped Alan García win the presidential seat. At this stage, Ortega would be wise to distance his campaign from Chávez's populist rhetoric.
Washington Research associate,
Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Congress doesn't need more women
Regarding your July 11 editorial, "Lifting barriers to electing more women": I have to disagree with these views. First, gender parity in Congress is a ridiculous idea. The Congress that we have today is reflective of what the people want. Now, I can already see an argument to this logic: What is it about our electoral system that is keeping women out of office? The answer to that is nothing. Why aren't there more women in Congress? One reason might be that the public doesn't want a woman in office. It may be because the incumbent does a good job, or that women candidates, with their one-sided agendas, don't appeal to the public.
Second, the editorial suggests that we remove such barriers as the high cost of election campaigns because women don't have business connections. As an investor, I don't want a person to represent me who doesn't know how to navigate through the business world. We need people in office with experience, not only in the business world, but in other facets of life.
Third, women do not need to show more initiative to run for office. At a time when there are more women than ever as homeowners and business owners, women have more of a reason than ever to want to protect their interests. If they don't, however, there is no one to blame but themselves.
Finally, the idea that media should stop stereotyping women is insane. So what if there are gender-based digs by male candidates. If the female candidate is not strong enough to rise above that, then why should she be in a place of power?
In conclusion, I don't think it is incumbent upon any of us to provide a step up for anyone who isn't capable of making that step for himself or herself.
Oak Harbor, Wash.
Regarding your July 13 editorial, "Voting rights and wrongs": Nothing could be more wrong about these "rights." People want to come to America, live in America, earn in America, vote in America. They (supposedly) had to learn English sufficiently to become citizens. If that wasn't the case, then they should never have been allowed to become citizens in the first place.
Charles E. Kestner
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