CubaEditor: Your Jan. 23 editorial criticized Cuba's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 14, 1992

Cuba

Editor: Your Jan. 23 editorial criticized Cuba's execution of Eduardo Diaz Betancourt who left Cuba last year and returned with explosives to attack its infrastructure.

You said the "secret service" is "the part of Cuba that works," implying that Cubans are a downtrodden people controlled only by a harsh dictator in control of the armed forces.

Yet, you bury on page 4 a report that Cuba is handing out thousands of guns to civilian workers to protect farms and factories.

And you never print the simple truth that living conditions in Cuba are better for the average person than in any other Latin American country.

Harold H. Burns Jr.

Baltimore.

People = Pressure

Editor: Newspaper writers, natural resources officials and environmentalists, while decrying the consequences of declining forests, never mention the basic problem. Why don't they come right out and say it? Maryland is over-populated. The recent article in The Sun about changes and losses of plants, animals and birds covered the number of acres of forests that have disappeared between 1985 and 1990, 71,000, mostly to development. It also referred to the immense amount of logging that is continuing. But it did not mention population directly.

Do people really believe the Chesapeake Bay can be kept clean and productive while it is under the constant pressure of more and more people who live on its shores and throughout its watershed? The forests are cut, houses, built, paving laid and sewerage multiplied to accommodate people.

Decades of screaming by environmentalists finally reached the consciousness of a large segment of the people. A few more decades will have to pass before everybody understands the impact of overpopulation and politicians begin to respond. By that time, there will not be much to save.

It is extremely difficult to promote and establish a population policy for an area and a country and make it work through incentives and disincentives. You start by recognizing the problem and writing and talking about it, openly and honestly.

Carleton W. Brown.

Elkton.

Why is America So Backward?

Editor: A recent educational assessment places at least a dozen countries ahead of the U.S. in student math and science proficiency. I don't understand why Japan and Germany did not participate in the achievement test. And since the sampling done by each country varied, I wonder if apples are not being compared to oranges.

Nevertheless, it is shocking to realize that 35 percent of U.S. 8th graders who took the test did not know that the whale is a mammal which produces milk to feed its young and 68 percent could not calculate the surface area of a cube when given the length of its side.

Why are American students so backward? We have science centers in major cities, dazzling aquariums, libraries in counties across the U.S. and public television programs on subjects from geography to math.

South Korea and Taiwan stood ahead of the developed world. The erstwhile U.S.S.R. and Hungary fared better than the U.S.

I don't believe money or technology will improve the incorrigible state of education in the U.S. What U.S. students lack is a love of learning and a hunger for knowledge, both of which are considered unfashionable, especially among teenagers who fritter away a lot of their energies on frivolous activities like dating and drinking.

A hunger for knowledge is as basic as hunger for food. We are born with it.

But various factors in American society throttle this instinct, this drive to know more.

We must infuse reverence into the process of learning and bring to it a quality of devotion.

In the developing world, despite poor equipment, crowded classrooms and malnutrition, children struggle to study well because they know that education is not to be taken for granted.

We will continue to deteriorate in the area of education unless we teach our children that education is a gift as grand as creation itself. We are unabashed in our worship of baseball and basketball. Why are we self-conscious about kneeling to education?

Usha Nellore.

Bel Air.

Don't Tax Us

Editor: Why should the Army Corps of Engineers or any other taxpayer-supported entity bear the burden of Ocean City's beach replenishment?

Ocean City's explosive post-1950s growth has been very

generous to the real estate, travel and insurance industries. In a free-enterprise system, risk-taking entrepreneurs such as the aforementioned industries should rejoice in their profit-taking, since they assumed the original business risks and investment.

Delmarva vacationers accept the realities of a free-enterprise system and pay premium prices for suntan oil, sandwiches and gasoline while visiting Ocean City. We will even pay the ridiculously absurd $15 ticket on a $2 T-shirt for our wanton teens; because we know that in a free market prices will naturally be higher at resorts.

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