Dictator Helped Make Chile Prosperous

Regarding the opinion-page article ``Dictator's Shadow Lingers in Chile,'' Dec. 27:

The author mentions that although Augusto Pinochet was largely responsible for building a strong free-market economy and for the resurrection of a civil society, he left a long shadow of the military over the country. The author does not say that in addition to these important objectives Pinochet's strength was in forbidding the Allende communists control of Chile.

I lived in Chile for five years during the period of communist threat, and it appeared to me that the Chilean people were happy with Allende's demise. Events since then have shown that Pinochet set Chile on the path of free enterprise, and although there is an unequal distribution of wealth (as in most countries), Chile is the most prosperous country in South America. Pinochet is largely responsible. Glenn C. Waterman, Bainbridge Is., Wash.

Expanding NAFTA

Now that the North American Free Trade Agreement has been ratified, proposals are surfacing to extend it to other Latin American countries, and eventually to the whole hemisphere.

An example is the opinion-page article ``US Agenda in Latin America Must Extend Beyond Trade,'' Dec. 23.

If the strategy for NAFTA ratification is the prototype for how an enlarged NAFTA will be sold to Congress and the American people, these ambitions will not get very far; there is no coherent domestic policy to backstop such a trade strategy.

The United States industrial policy advocated by Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana (``Pinpoint Aid to US Industries,'' Jan. 4) has an important role to play in the US component of the Western Hemisphere prospectus. David J. Steinberg, Alexandria, Va.

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