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Human rights in Central America

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Your three-part series on El Salvador [Nov. 24-26] covered well the FDR-FMLN, poverty and the waning influence of the civilian Christian Democrats vis-`a-vis the military . However, El Salvador cannot be reported without reference to the continuing multiple violations of human rights. Disappearances, torture, and assassinations are documented by such groups as the Committee of the Mothers of the Disappeared, the Roman Catholic Church, and others who risk their lives to provide such evidence.

While the numbers involved in these abuses are lower than they were two years ago, these frightening occurrences are a weekly if not daily reality in El Salvador. David R. Asplin Maria Lutheran Church Pastor Kennedy, Minn.

John Hughes's column, ``Contra setback,'' Dec. 3 relies heavily on Violeta de Chamorro's dislike of the Nicaraguan regime. As with other revolutions, the Nicaraguan one has losers, many of whom, like Mrs. Chamorro, are eager to complain to US journalists. All of the numerous and reliable human rights reports show that Nicaraguan practice is vastly superior to that of Guatemala, El Salvador, or the contras, better then Honduras, and comparable to Costa Rica. The Sandinista government is in fact moderate.

Most Nicaraguans support it even in these difficult times - just as they did in November 1984 when hundreds of foreign journalists and observers monitored one of the fairest elections in Central American history. Richard Kinch Racine, Wis.

Combat the media The article on the proliferation of militaristic toys did a good job of outlining the problem and reporting some organized groups' responses [``Toy companies ride military wave and watch kids catch it,'' Dec. 10].

However, it did not indicate how parents can support one another against the onslaught of media hype for such toys. Central Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) offer one answer: a ``War Toys Free Zone'' certificate for posting in homes and elsewhere.

Anyone may receive the parchment-paper certificate by sending PSR a signed pledge which reads: ``Toys that symbolize the hurting or killing of people are contrary to the spirit of the holidays and the needs of our world. We pledge to help further peace in the world and in our homes by giving toys with nonviolent themes this holdiay season.'' Katherine Roth Lansing, Mich. Physicians for Social Responsibility


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