A Broad Look at Brazil
The article ``Results of Brazilian Elections Will Affect US Trade, Investment,'' Sept. 27, contained many blatant inaccuracies and drew unsubstantiated conclusions.
It was certainly not because of any external pressure that Brazil decided to vastly liberalize its trade. Nevertheless, the article is right in saying that Brazil has ``dramatically lowered tariffs.''
In fact, this policy, which has broad support in Brazil, reflects both domestic factors, such as the recognition that the import-substitution model is now obsolete, and many external factors, such as the recent changes in the international economic environment.
Multilateral trade and trade-related negotiations, the lowering of tariffs, privatization, and other similar issues must be analyzed in the broad context where they belong and not from the completely unacceptable perspective of ``US pressure.''
In that regard, I would emphasize that Brazil has actively participated in all 15 of the negotiating groups during the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Uruguay Round, including the negotiations on intellectual property rights that the article incorrectly portrays as a matter of purely bilateral nature, in the context of Brazil-US relations.
Moreover, matters such as government procurement, telecommunications, and management of the petroleum sector now command attention all over the world and are of interest beyond the mere Brazil-US perspective.
For example, the Brazilian legislation on government procurement does favor goods produced in Brazil, but in a way that is remarkably similar to the ``buy American'' provisions in US federal and state legislation, which predate the current Brazilian legislation by several decades.
Finally, I would like to challenge the notion that Brazil-US relations might ``again become rocky.'' Although a few differences in opinions and positions are natural in the relationship between any two countries of such size and importance, they are insignificant in view of the warm and long-lasting friendship between Brazil and the US. Paulo-Tarso Flecha de Lima, Washington Ambassador of Brazil
Cairo: Don't ignore lost message
How refreshing to hear a member of Congress speak about the importance of female education in the context of reducing population growth in the article ``Lost Message From Cairo: Educate Young Women in US,'' Sept. 23.
The media focus on abortion detracted from larger problems and their solutions. The author, Rep. Constance Morella (R) of Maryland, introduced legislation that would have shifted funding within foreign aid to put a higher priority on international goals for female health and literacy as well as for family planning. Most of her colleagues failed to support this effort.
Will the population conference make a difference? The answer lies in two questions: Did her colleagues on Capitol Hill learn anything from Cairo? Will elected and appointed policymakers have the courage to act on what they know? Chuck Woolery, Rockville, Md. Director, The Alliance for Child Survival
Humanitarian solutions for Cuba
The opinion-page article ``Cuba: A Problem of Domestic Politics, Not Foreign Policy,'' Sept. 16, is correct when it states that America's policy toward Cuba is controlled or manipulated by the influential Cuban-American lobby.
The Cuban exile hard-liners should keep in mind that it was them, the rich and affluent Cubans, who let Castro come to power in the first place and then let him confiscate their lands and properties as well.
Now they want to blame and punish the Cuban population for not overthrowing Castro, when they themselves failed to do that.
If they want Castro overthrown they should overthrow him themselves, and take back what was theirs.
As for the American government, either it should end the embargo and seek compensation for properties lost to Castro or just invade Cuba, overthrow Castro, take back what it lost to Castro, and install a better democratic system.
Those would be the most humanitarian solutions of all. Vicente Fournier, Crescent City, Calif.