Instead of open trade, help Cubans throw off failed...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 12, 2002

Instead of open trade, help Cubans throw off failed Castro regime

In his argument for the unilateral lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against the Castro regime, Brian Alexander grossly misjudges the economic opportunities for U.S. businesses in Cuba ("Lift restrictions on trade with Cuba," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 2).

The same International Trade Commission report he cites concludes that, in the absence of sanctions, U.S. exports to Cuba would be "less than 0.5 percent of total U.S. exports."

The reason is simple: The Castro regime is bankrupt and, for ideological reasons, is unwilling to reform its dysfunctional, state-controlled economy.

Also, in the limited trade Castro musters with other countries, he has to rely on massive subsidies from foreign governments. That would mean the U.S. taxpayer would be called on to foot the bill for U.S.-Cuba trade.

Rather than cozying up to Castro, U.S. policy should place principle over the futile search for profit and empower the Cuban people to throw off the dead weight of the Castro regime.

Jose R. Cardenas

Washington

The writer is a director of the Cuban American National Foundation.

Safety training course won't curb gun violence

Ivan Penn's article "Pistol safety on the books" (Jan. 1) completely misses the point of those, like me, who feel that the 45-minute video is a waste of time and more political grandstanding by the governor and anti-gun advocates.

We all agree safety is paramount to anyone who uses a handgun or long gun for legitimate purposes. But does the governor or Ginni Wolf, director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, actually believe this course will curb gun violence? Of course not: They simply want to further restrict law-abiding gun owners' rights.

Do they believe that the illegal users of handguns will attend the new course and then practice safe gun ownership while committing crimes? The entire concept is ludicrous political babble to restrict legitimate gun owners' rights. Period.

If the governor and Ms. Wolf really want to curb gun violence, they, along with state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, should team up to prosecute those who use guns to commit crimes, and leave the law-abiding citizen alone.

Dominic Fino

Sykesville

Taking a small step toward real gun control

The Sun is correct to characterize Maryland's recently passed gun safety training law as a "timid" step in the right direction ("A lesson in firearms safety," editorial, Jan. 4). Its passage must not be taken as a "success," however. It must be an encouragement to redouble our efforts to pass real gun safety legislation.

Until required safety training for those who keep guns includes serious and periodic instruction on suicide prevention and family dispute resolution, as well as the safe storage and handling of firearms, avoidable gunshot tragedies will continue in totally unacceptable numbers.

Whether or not training in gun safety for children is effective may be debatable, but there is no sane argument against proper training for gun owners.

Peter D. Molan

Baltimore

The writer is a former education director for Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Hatchet job on prosecutor didn't belong on front page

"All hoods make not monks," wrote William Shakespeare (Henry VIII, Act 3). And all ink and words make not news.

I refer to the article "Mixed messages from a prosecutor" (Jan. 5), wherein a hatchet job on Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy masquerades as a news story.

I do not know Ms. Jessamy, don't live in Baltimore and don't care if she's re-elected. I think a lot of stuff she has said over the years makes little sense. Still, I think an obviously biased piece full of arch adjectives belongs on the Opinion

Commentary page, not the front page.

Just lay the facts out and let your readers make their own decisions.

They have less time to watch public officials, but are just as smart as you and will come to good judgments without The Sun's slant in news stories.

Philip L. Marcus

Columbia

New York mayor's millions should have been better spent

I think it's about time we do something about the amount of money used in politics. It is disgraceful that $69 million was wasted on winning a political race for mayor of New York, or mayor of any city ("Political novice Bloomberg becomes New York's mayor," Jan. 2).

When I think of the starving, homeless people on our streets and the thousands of elderly who cannot afford food and medicine, it makes me sick that someone can so easily say he spent $69 million of his own money to be elected.

It would have been far better had he used the money to help those who need it.

Kathy Riley

Baltimore

Lower blood alcohol limit wouldn't save any lives

One of the writers of the letters titled "Girl's death shows state needs to enforce drunken driving laws," (Jan. 4) suggested that lenient drunken driving laws in Maryland are the result of lobbying by the "hospitality" industry, and that we are "responsible" for the drunken driving death of 7-year-old Brijae Harris.

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