The Oct. 24 article "Iran shows new willingness to deal with US" fails to point out that the Islamic Republic of Iran is facing huge pressure from the protests that have been taking place in Iran. In fact, observers have noted that there has been a growing participation of people in a variety of protest actions, with clear calls for a secular government, the right to expression, an end to political imprisonment, and equal rights for men and women.
It is important to include such facts to gain a comprehensive view of the actual position of the Islamic Republic both in Iran and in the eyes of the general public internationally. Had the Islamic Republic been enjoying mass support in Iran, it would not have taken its current stance.
Chair of Iranian Civil Rights Committee
Regarding your Oct. 23 article "Tourism industry ups pressure to lift Cuba travel ban": Cuba is a beautiful island, but for the past 44 years it has been oppressed and impoverished by a brutal form of government. The sad truth is that those of us who have the privilege of living in a free country have contributed greatly to keeping Fidel Castro in power by nurturing Cuba's economy through sending American dollars to help friends and families living there.
Cuba will be free and Castro's power weakened only when not one US dollar is allowed reach Cuban shores. If tourism is open to all, the amount of US dollars flowing into Cuba will help perpetuate Castro's regime.
Maria T. Cabrera
I was pleased to hear of the recent effort to raise the restrictions on travel to Cuba, which I would consider an extremist approach to economic sanction. A trade embargo is one thing, but curtailing the freedom of American citizens to travel where they choose is definitely another matter.
American tourism would certainly bring money to Cuba, which would make its way to the regime, but when restrictions infringe on a basic right of Americans, this is a moot point. I can understand why a "total war" mind-set during the cold war might have made this provision acceptable. But now it's the responsibility of the government to change this antiquated law. I am not a fan of Castro, but I like restrictions on my freedom even less. Except possibly under extreme circumstances, restricting citizens' travel abroad is not a legitimate function of a democratic government. As your article noted, most Americans would agree.
Regarding your Oct. 27 article "Finally, a wave of new jobs approaching": What wave of new jobs? The National Association of Manufacturers reported recently that since July 2000, manufacturing has lost nearly 2.7 million jobs. Projections from various economic experts estimate that the US could lose 3.3 million service industry jobs and $136 billion in wages to foreign nations by the year 2015. We think you have the "wave" washing on the wrong shores!
Your article mentions that 900 chefs, waiters, and dishwashers will soon be hired by a fast-food chain as an indication that the economy will begin its upward climb - an arduous climb on the backs of 900 low-paid employees having few benefits and working in right-to-work states with little opportunity to join a union. The few jobs cited in the article will take a long time to help the 9 million Americans currently out of work.
Josephine and Robert Pasciullo
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
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An Oct. 27 editorial "The South Surprises Again" misidentified Hawaii's governor. The current governor is Linda Lingle.