Global trade: Not for greater good?

In regard to your Sept. 17 article "Globalizing economy? Not so fast," it is stated at the end, as though a certain fact, that the developing countries are those that benefit due to expanded international trade. It might be good to qualify that claim somewhat.

The benefits that accrue to the average citizens of these countries may be limited or decline. If investment in transportation (i.e. highways, automobiles, exportation infrastructure) supersedes investment in programs for food self-sufficiency, healthcare maintenance, and education, it may turn out that the benefits of globalization accrue to a limited portion of the population.

Traditional agricultural sectors of countries such as Mexico have been severely debilitated by competition with the highly subsidized economies of North America. Were they suddenly free to enter to compete with global economies, it might be fair to ask if they would be up to the challenge. In a country where a large portion of the agricultural activity is already devoted to producing winter vegetables for foreign markets, it is hard to see how exporting more food will improve the ability of the average Mexican family to feed itself economically.

It could certainly be said that the development priorities of the "advanced" countries are promoted thanks to greater access to the economies of lesser-developed countries. On the whole, if the World Trade Organization has a reputation of being a predatory organization in much of the third world, it is not by accident, but by past experience.
Daniel McCool
Guanajuato, Mexico

Winning votes - but losing Fidel fight

While the Sept. 17 Opinion "Miami's lifeline to Fidel" correctly points to the contradiction of Cuban-Americans' sending remittances to their families in Cuba and providing the major source of dollars for the Cuban economy, it appears the authors want to perpetuate the 44-year-old policy that has failed to remove Fidel Castro from power. In fact, that failed policy has provided Mr. Castro with an excuse to prolong his reign or blame failures on the blockade. While the majority of Cuban-Americans oppose Castro, many prefer a dialogue with the dictator and the lifting of restrictions on trade and travel.

Likewise, the US business community favors a lifting of the embargo so that American businesses and farmers can invest in or trade with Cuba.

After 40-plus years of trying to destabilize Cuba, it is time for American politicians to stop pandering to Cuban-Americans and reevaluate a policy that has not achieved any of its objectives. Even human rights activists in Cuba oppose any new extreme measures against Castro. Tightening the embargo at this time might win some votes in Florida, but it will only increase the suffering in Cuba and prolong Castro's rule.
Tony White
Rohnert Park, Calif.

In US, a painful past, a bright future

I read with empathy about Cameran Sadeq's experience after Sept. 11 ("Moving forward, thinking back," Sept. 10). A month ago, my husband and I attended the 60th reunion of the Minidoka Wartime Relocation Center in Seattle, where we were born and raised. Mr. Sadeq's experience is similar to that of 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were interned behind barbed wire in 1942.

The United States makes mistakes, but the beauty of our nation is that justice will eventually prevail. We are pleased to read that Sadeq and his wife are facing a promising future. Likewise, many rewarding results are found among those remembered at the Minidoka reunion.
Mary E. Inashima
Woburn, Mass.

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