Economic Recovery for Indonesia

I read with interest opinion columnist David Newsom's assertion in "Indonesian Crisis: Shared Blame" (Oct. 14) that the success of the IMF-led economic bailout in Indonesia depends on "how soon private outside capital will return." Such an assessment reflects a perspective that is dismissive of the varied, and often negative, impacts of multinational capital in Indonesia.

One particularly disturbing example is that of Freeport McMoRan, a US-based mining company in West Papua. Freeport, with the aid of the Indonesian military, has mined the sacred mountains of the indigenous West Papuans, contaminated the environment, and dispossesed the inhabitants of their lands, while profits flow to Jakarta and Freeport. Is it any wonder that there is an armed rebellion in this province?

What is truly amazing is that there is so little critical assessment of what "private outside capital" means to Indonesians outside of the Jakarta-based banking and business sector. While all multinational investment is not undesirable, the failure to analyze closely the varied nature of such investment (across the more than 13,000 islands of Indonesia and around the world) does not bode well for the longterm success of efforts directed toward economic recovery.

Coleen Fox

Eugene, Ore.

Treasure Island

Regarding "US, Haiti Face Off Over a Tiny Island's 'Green Gold'" (Oct. 20): It would be imbecilic, but not uncharacteristic, of the Clinton administration to give up Navassa Island. American claims to the island are longstanding and until recently unchallenged. The biggest question surrounding the island is not territorial but scientific: How could we have overlooked Navassa's treasures for so long?

Almost without knowing it, America owns Treasure Island. It would be ironic if the pusillanimous policymakers of the Clinton White House were to relinquish this jewel to a dysfunctional, and environmentally catastrophic, nation.

Craig Brelsford

Hickory, N.C.

Latino representation

The article "At the Polls - Latinos Find New Paths to Power" (Oct. 13) on the progress of Hispanics in California election politics was most interesting, but neglected to mention the three California Latinos that have a good chance to win US Congressional seats in November. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard should win reelection easily and Rep. Loretta Sanchez has a good opportunity to beat Robert Dornan for her second term. Grace Napolitano and Ms. Roybal-Allard were previously in the state assembly and Sanchez came out of a business background.

As more Hispanics move up from state and municipal government to the US Congress, there will be more role models to encourage increased political participation by this group.

George A. Dean

Southport, Conn.

Who creates jobs?

The article "Economy Sustains Clinton's Popularity, Polls Show" (Oct. 9) states,"While most disapprove of President Clinton's moral leadership, they trust him to keep creating new jobs." This unabashedly partisan statement serves only to perpetuate the myth that the president is responsible for job creation. In reality the lion's share of credit for job creation goes to entrepreneurs, the risk takers in business - large and small.

Ironically, no president in recent memory has done more to discourage individual initiative and the entrepreneurial spirit that Mr. Clinton, notably through his advocacy of more government controls and taxes on the private business sector.

Richard Tankard

Franktown, Va.

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