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Rebels Threaten Mozambique; West Watches

Having just returned from development work along the Zimbabwean-Mozambican border, I must add an even more dour note to your recent assessment of the repatriation process in the article ``UN, Mozambique Begin Massive Repatriation,'' Aug. 11.

The security situation in Mozambique remains tenuous, largely because of the refusal of the the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (Renamo) to abide by the terms of the peace negotiations. The withdrawal of Zimbabwean troops has enabled rebel groups to reclaim control of many areas, and now they are demanding ``taxes'' from returning residents. An estimated 2 million land mines also threaten local villagers - not just along roads and footpaths, but also hidden near springs, fruit trees, and gardens.

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A brisk border trade certainly does exist between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Unfortunately, much of this activity is fueled by corruption and organized crime. It is disturbingly easy to purchase stolen food aid, poached elephant ivory, or AK-47 assault rifles, thanks to enterprising capitalists. Mozambique's long nightmare is not over yet, and the West's continued complacency towards a bloody conflict it foolishly created hardly helps. John E. Peck, Madison, Wis. N. America - not a mirror to EC

The Opinion page article ``Opposition to NAFTA - Nothing But Old Status Quo,'' Sept. 2, misrepresents reasons for opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The author says that the opposition ``is terrified of change and of the unkown'' and ``the issues are poorly understood.'' On the contrary, the opposition understands all too well what NAFTA will mean to the US and wants a fair trade agreement instead.

Supporters of NAFTA point to the European Community (EC) as a bloc that has successfully removed trade barriers, but they fail to discuss how this was accomplished. To join the EC, a nation must be a working democracy, have per capita income close to the EC average, and have decent working conditions and environmental standards. In the past, the richer members also provided billions of dollars to assist the poorer candidate nations. NAFTA does not have similar conditions, and the recently negotiated agreements do not provide sufficient safeguards for the Mexican worker or for the Mexican environment. Instead of NAFTA, let's join together to work for a fair trade agreement that benefits the workers, business, and the environment in all three countries. Ronald Forthofer, Longmont, Colo. As Kermit once said

Regarding the article ``The Environment's New Clothes,'' Aug. 19: The United States' garment industry should be applauded for showing some sensitivity to its ecological impact. Unfortunately, we are enculturated to believe that being stylish is more important than our savings account. Selling ``green'' clothes to such a clientele will not be easy.

``Buy less'' and wear less variety is a good prescription, but also anti-American. My daughter was amazed when she lived in Sweden that her stylish roommate would wear the same clothes for days until they got dirty.

As engineering faculty, I attend many meetings that are populated largely by ``appropriately dressed'' men. For summer conferences, I have to bring extra clothes for the air-conditioned meeting rooms that are adjusted to accommodate suit coats and ties. A large immediate impact on energy consumption could be achieved if people would dress in cool clothes for the hot months. The temperature in thousands of office buildings and meeting rooms could be increased at least 10 degrees. How much longer can we afford to let cultural values regulate our energy use? Jenifer Taylor, Alfred, N.Y. Assoc. Prof. of Ceramic Engineering Alfred University

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