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The future of El Salvador

In the article "Civilian Rulers Rein in the Military," Jan. 7, the author gives the impression that the bad old days of military control of Central American society are on the wane.

As a prime example, the author mentions El Salvador, where a negotiated peace calls for the reduction in size of the military. But size alone is a superficial indication of political power. Salvador's President Alfredo Cristiani has admitted that he is not going to purge the military of the top generals and colonels because to do so would jeopardize the stability of the country, which is a way of saying the military would attempt a coup.

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His failure to purge the top leaders, which the United Nations denounced, shows that the military still controls the civilian president in El Salvador. The same is certainly true in Guatemala and Honduras, as continued human rights abuses attest. Anne Pilsbury, Brooklyn, N.Y. Central American Legal Assistance

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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