Panama VoteWhile the stories that made the front page of...


October 27, 1994

Panama Vote

While the stories that made the front page of The Sun Oct. 6 suggested a slow news day, page 7A contained a short article about Panama's legislature voting to abolish the military which had ruled the nation for two decades until it was destroyed in 1989 by the U. S. invasion to oust Gen. Manuel Noriega.

This action was accomplished by an overwhelming vote to amend the 1972 Constitution and permanently get rid of the army.

While this might not seem to be of much significance to the U. S., it represented perhaps the major victory in 15 years for the conservative forces in the U. S. who had opposed the Panama Canal treaties ratified during the Carter administration in 1978.

In order to get these treaties ratified, the Panamanian government accepted last-minute changes that gave the U. S. permission to maintain military forces in Panama after the year 1999, if they were deemed necessary in the opinion of the United States to provide adequate defense of the canal.

With the elimination of all Panamanian military forces, except civil police, the conditions set forth in the last-minute changes to the treaties appear to be met for a continued U. S. military presence in Panama.

I recall that abrogation of these treaties was a major issue in the conservative Republican presidential platforms of the Reagan and Bush campaigns. After George Bush was elected, the subject seemed to drop out of sight.

I wonder when the Panamanian invasion was planned? I wonder if Mr. Bush remembers?

William F. List


Smoke Screen

Regarding "Postal Service deletion angers smokers alliance" (The Sun, Sept. 18):

In discussing opposition to a new stamp depicting blues guitarist Robert Johnson minus his cigarette, you cite the opposition of Thomas Humber, president of the pro-smoking National Smokers Alliance.

Your readers could better understand Mr. Humber's interest in the matter if they knew about his other job, vice president of Burson-Marsteller, the Philip Morris public relations firm.

The alliance, which has been drumming up opposition to public health initiatives in Maryland, was created largely through financial support from Philip Morris (which has kept the amount of support secret).

Because of their image problem, the tobacco companies understandably want to hide behind this and other front groups.

Henry Meilman, M.D.


Unclever Story

In The Sun's Today section Oct. 11, I had the misfortune of reading your "Beer Hound" article.

Feeding a pet dog liquor was not a memorable fete, nor one that should be classified as either cute or worthy of praise.

A dog has the intelligence of an infant, and either one would drink most liquids given them.

Would you then follow this story with an child who does drugs or prefers bourbon?

The problem is that some foolish souls will copy this act with their own dog thinking that it's clever.

It's not a self-redeeming act and should not have been published.

Kenneth Rose


Thanks on the Manatee

This letter is long overdue. However, the entire staff at Save the Manatee Club wanted to thank The Baltimore Sun and other Baltimore media for the coverage on the manatee that was recently rescued in Maryland.

We would especially like to thank Sun reporters Katherine Richards, Amy L. Miller, David Michael Ettlin and Stephanie Shapiro for their excellent work.

We also want to thank the staff from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and all the people in Maryland who reported sightings of the manatee or donated their time or other services toward the rescue.

We are very grateful and appreciative of their time and effort. With only about 1,800 manatees left in the U.S., each individual animal is literally priceless.

Manatees face many problems that are critical to their very existence. As an organization dedicated to the protection of manatees and their habitat, we believe education and public awareness are important in helping to solve these problems. As a nonprofit organization, we depend on help to accomplish our many tasks.

Because of your publication, the people of Maryland are more aware of manatees and what they can do to help save them.

Because of the help from Maryland people, there is one more manatee swimming free in the wild. Thank you so much.

Judith Vallee

Maitland, Fla.

The writer is executive director of the Save the Manatee Club.

Quieting the Noisy City

Since the appearance of the article on church bells (Oct. 12), I have received rancorous calls on my message machine accusing me of being un-Christian. Although I appreciate Frank Somerville's article, I feel that I should clarify a few points.

Of the 13 houses on East 31st Street facing St. John's Huntingdon Episcopal Church, only one is not complaining about the bells, and another has expressed no opinion.

The rest of us (85 percent of the people on the street) are disturbed by the unreasonable frequency and excessive volume of the church bells.

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