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`The real America'

The opinion-page column ``Show Gorbachev the real America,'' Oct. 1, suggests a ``dream itinerary'' for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. This itinerary includes a visit to a state university or community college ``to show the broad opportunities available to the average young person without exceptional means.''

To what extent does the writer believe this will impress the head of a government that offers higher education at no cost? High tuition and student debts are an American reality, but they will hardly impress Mr. Gorbachev.

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The column suggests a visit to a children's hospital for Mrs. Gorbachev. Will she also see the hospital bill? Again, I believe that this is an American reality, but since the Soviet Union offers free medical care to its citizens, this would surely turn out to be an embarrassment. Nina Mjagkij Cincinnati, Ohio

Aiding Latin America The poignant article ``City of poverty and majesty,'' Sept. 29, on the history and current suffering of people in Cuzco, Peru, should alert Americans.

It is true that the Spanish Catholics were intent on replacing the Incan beliefs with their own.

Today, religious groups from the United States are busy in many parts of Latin America trying to replace the Roman Catholic, Indian, and African beliefs with their own religious beliefs.

Carlos Fuentes recently succinctly stated that religion and violence do not need to be taught in Latin America. Hostile US military actions in Central America speak to the violence.

The US should be attempting to relieve the economic distress of this region, most pressingly the terrible debt situation, as well as encouraging work and trade.

If the US is not farsighted or generous enough to create a Marshall Plan for Latin America, then it should at least realize that these nations are not its own backyard. They are on the road to indigenous solutions of their traumas and need help, not interference. John Nattkemper Martinez, Calif.

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Memories of times past Thank you for Guernsey Le Pelley's vignette about the milkmen, ragmen, and scissors grinders of yesteryear [``Milkmen of yesteryear,'' Oct. 6].

It brought to mind wonderful sights, sounds, and smells tucked away in memories of a sweet and innocent time.

I have recently moved from a medium-sized city to a small town of 5,000 people in rural dairy country. Ironically, back in the city I had my own milkman delivering, faithfully as ever, once a week, and here such a creature has not been known for years. K. Lewandowski Richland Center, Wis.

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