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Problems remain in Indonesia

The column ``Indonesia Then and Now: a Passion for Freedom Remains,'' Nov. 17, is both a naive and partisan account of Indonesia's recent history.

True, President Suharto took power and stabilized the country amid growing anarchy. What the author neglects, however, is that Suharto replaced an emerging leftist dictatorship with an equally tyrannical regime, with the active backing of the CIA.

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Under Suharto, as many as 500,000 Communist Party members, suspected leftists, and purported sympathizers were killed. Even today, human rights violations persist in East Timor, Sumatra, and other regions. Indonesia has made considerable progress in some areas. But to suggest that ``much has changed for the better,'' since Suharto's usurpation of power is, at best, dubious. Michael L. Lyster, Fullerton, Calif.

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