I disagree with the opinion-page column "The World's 'Identity Crisis'," Feb. 27, which says the "trend toward unity in Western Europe runs counter to the separatism evident in other regions." In Western Europe, as in other regions, political control is exercised by a number of central governments. Many believe that these central governments suppress the culturally separate peoples that come under their jurisdiction. An important aspect of unity in Western Europe is a trend away from such suppression. For example, the billboards in Scotland announce expectations of a "Scotland, free in a united Europe."
It is not that Western Europe is going the opposite direction. Rather, Western Europe is going the same direction, but is somewhat further advanced.
Gary Kuhn Princeton, N.J.
El Salvador's democratic strides We agree with the opinion-page article "A Hope in El Salvador," Feb. 26, that there is hope in the country and that elections can be conducive to peace.
The demise of communism around the world, the results of the elections in Nicaragua, and the "troubles" faced by Fidel Castro in Cuba have resulted in a shift in the ideological framework of the FMLN. More important, during the November 1989 offensive, they were confronted with the fact that the Salvadoran people do not support their violence.
Internally, we have demonstrated our commitment to continue with the negotiation process; we have implemented an economic program which is already experiencing remarkable results; we have implemented a social program to alleviate poverty and raise Salvadorans' standard of living; and we continue to consolidate our democratic process.
It is certain that the Salvadoran military has a share of responsibility for our society's problems, but other sectors of our society, including politicians, share the responsibility. Nevertheless, we have announced our objective to implement military reform that will result in qualitative restructuring of the armed forces and have presented concrete proposals in this regard at the negotiating table.
It is important for the world to realize that, while not perfect, democracy is alive and well in El Salvador. The participation of leftist politicians in our democratic process is a positive step, but we also expect that they will accept the will of the people and be elegant and gracious in victory as well as in defeat.
Lic. Ernesto Altschul San Salvador
Vice-Minister of the Presidency
Put animals before profits
Regarding the article "Captivity Issue Catches Aquariums," Feb. 27: Comparing a dolphin's adaptation to captivity with a human's ability to fall asleep in a noisy hotel room overlooks the permanence of captivity for marine mammals.
Dolphins can swim up to 35 miles an hour, but at Sea World they are confined to an enclosure that measures only 80 feet long and holds about 18 animals. Most dolphins in aquariums and at various "swim-with" programs in hotels across the country have even less space.
Many proponents of keeping dolphins in captivity say that people who see them "up close" will be moved to work toward preservation of marine species, but let's face it: The primary goal of aquariums and marine parks is to make money, and too often the animals come last.
Christine Jackson Washington