Seeds of tolerance in Venezuela

Regarding your Aug. 1 article "Venezuela tries to pull politics out of the classroom": I enjoyed reading your article about the political divide now occurring in Venezuelan classrooms. I live in Caracas, and am a teacher. Since the psychological stress that is occurring at all levels in Venezuela is created by President Chávez and his gang of thugs, we have hope that eventually all will return to our normal psychological landscape.

For the past four years, the president has been filling the airwaves with poisonous words, developing resentments between people. Several projects have been started to establish trust, communication, and tolerance among the rich and poor, or Chavistas and non-Chavistas. The poor have become poorer during Chávez's four years of power, and many no longer believe his words. The economy will take years to rebuild, but the classrooms should become places of tolerance in a short time.
Norma Rivero
Caracas, Venezuela

'Democracy at its purest'

Regarding your July 30 article "Recall as a revolt of the other California": Many people are characterizing the recall as an attempt by the right wing to reverse the results of the recent gubernatorial election. Others say that the recall makes a mockery of democracy. I disagree on both counts.

Though I consistently support liberal policies, my first concern is good and honest governance, something that has been sorely lacking since Governor Davis took office. His campaign fundraising practices and quid pro quo policy decisions border on illegal.

During the 2002 election season, Mr. Davis soon realized that Richard Riordan was a much stronger candidate than Bill Simon, so Davis proceeded to spend millions attacking Mr. Riordan. The more conservative Mr. Simon won the primary and then lost to Davis. I find it difficult to see how this behavior was democratic. With a recall election, there will be a wide selection of candidates; the winner takes all. This is democracy at its purest, despite what the two big parties may say. Before condemning the recall election, it's important to understand that, though it may be political for some, it's a matter of principle for others.
Luke Tougas
Oakland, Calif.

Positive outlook on outsourcing

Regarding your July 29 article "White- collar jobs moving abroad": This kind of article usually creates widespread panic, yet there are several sides to the equation:

1. If companies remain profitable by shipping some of their jobs overseas, does that not help them expand and hire more people stateside as well?

2. What are the costs of setting up an overseas operation, in terms of training, cultural adjustments, and orientation of managers? Are the savings adequate compensation for the investment?

3. Are there foreign companies that come to America to set up shop, as well?
Joanne Murphy
Skokie, Ill.

Lower price, higher environmental cost

Regarding your July 14 article "China looks upmarket": It's great that consumer electronics are getting cheaper, especially with the technological changes that make a product obsolete quickly. If the initial investment is low, then we'll be more apt to purchase an upgrade sooner. This imposes environmental costs, however, in both resource usage for the initial manufacturing and also in disposal at the end of useful life. I hope that the overseas manufacturers find ways to make the products out of recyclable materials and/or to make it easy to recycle them.

Perhaps "recyclability" could be used as a competitive advantage.
David Roos
Littleton, Colo.

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