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Child Mortality in Haiti Not Embargo's Fault

I write in hopes of correcting the message of the Danziger cartoon, Nov. 15, in which a forlorn Haitian mother, with a wilting child on her back, shows us the Harvard study findings that 1,000 Haitian children die monthly because of the United States-led sanctions. I attended a meeting in which the New England Observers' Delegation (a group of 15 prominent educators, community activists, and others who traveled to Haiti Oct. 28 at the request of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide) presented a report to the Haitian ambassador to the US, Jean Casimir, and to the public.

The group was disturbed by the amount of misinformation the media have been helping to disseminate. They reported that the people struggling for peace in Haiti support the embargo and link the tragic deaths of their children directly to the military, which is preventing food and health supplies exempted from the embargo from reaching health clinics.

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The report states that ``the fuel embargo is clearly having an impact: Gasoline prices have soared. While this has an effect on the poor, the media may have exaggerated this effect. Even pro-democracy organizations who saw their constituencies being hurt by the limited embargo still supported a full commercial embargo as a necessary sacrifice.'' Thousands of children were dying monthly under the military long before the embargo was implemented. Why has this tragedy suddenly been linked to the embargo by our media?

Opponents of democracy in Haiti are doing everything they can to sabotage the return of President Aristide by creating a disinformation campaign. The media must be careful not to be manipulated by it. Elizabeth Marouk, Boston Health-care coverage

In the Opinion page article ``Reform Health Care Where Consensus Exists,'' Nov. 9, the authors advocate mandatory community rating by health insurers, but resist mandatory employer-provided coverage. The result: Premiums will rise for young and healthy individuals, and many of them and their employers will decline coverage rather than subsidize insurance for the ill and elderly. Rising premiums will drive away more of the young and healthy, until only the ill and elderly retain coverage, if they can afford it. Community rating can only work with mandatory coverage. Eric J. Klieber, Cleveland Heights, Ohio Woodward Avenue revisited

Regarding the article ``New Detroit Mayor Aims to Draw Suburbs Back Into City Life,'' Nov. 4: If Mayor-elect Dennis Archer takes the advice to ``walk the decrepit commercial artery known as Woodward Avenue,'' he'd be well advised not to follow the author's directions. First of all, if he begins at the Renaissance Center (it is not brown, but green; that's why the locals jokingly call it ``the Emerald City''), he will be nowhere near the foot of Woodward Avenue.

Second, he would not be surprised to find on that ``ramshackle third-world corridor'' a new office tower, several banks, a restored theater district, Orchestra Hall (home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra), the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the vast Medical Center complex. In fact, before it leaves the city, Woodward Avenue passes by the prosperous homes of the Palmer Park area, where the mayor-elect himself lives. Sandra Tucker, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. High school teachers have extras too

The Opinion page article ``Teaching Takes Time,'' Oct. 27, correctly defends university professors' five to six hours per week in the classroom because they also counsel students, grade papers, write letters of recommendation, guide independent study students, prepare for classes, serve on faculty committees, and advise graduate students.

Perhaps, then, one can better understand the plight of the high school teacher who typically has 25 hours of classes per week with up to five different preparations each day, and who has all of the above duties save graduate students, but also has extracurricular activities, parental contacts, chaperoning, and campus supervision and discipline duties. Is it a mystery why high school teachers need everyone's support as they attempt to meet the demands placed upon them by the public for excellence in education? Ellen Stillman, Sebastopol, Calif.

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