Saint Martin's students get a firsthand look
In a recent service learning trip to Guatemala, several students from Saint Martin's University spent 10 days learning about the culture, traditions and turbulent history of the country.
During the trip, we met with different organizations and activists that provided us firsthand information and experiences of discrimination, social injustice and land settlements by foreign companies, including from the United States. HydroWest, a company from Washington state is one of them. But why should it surprise us? In fact, it is not the first or last time that it will ever happen.
In recent years, an ongoing dispute has been taking place over construction of a dam that will generate enough electricity to be distributed from southern Mexico to Panama. Other countries would benefit, except Guatemala. Guatemalans pay some of the highest rates for electricity in Central and South America. In addition, many of the surrounding communities will end up without water, paying an incredibly high amount of money for electric services in an already unstable economy. And many will lose part of their land that provides them with their main source of income to a company that caters to the selfish interest of the local government and the expansionist Western ideology.
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As a Washington state resident, it was shameful being presented with the testimonies of the affected people and the uninterested and rude response from the company. Something must be done now.
Paulina Hernandez Fuentes, Olympia
Clamp down on illegal aliens
There is a confusion in Olympia regarding undocumented workers residing in this city. Someone who enters this country illegally is not an immigrant. That person is an illegal alien.
All of the free Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, legal assistance and rental assistance is paid for by taxpayers who are citizens.
The tax money taken from taxpayers to provide all of the above in abundance is taken whether they like it or not. Many of those taxpayers are struggling to get a home, educate their children and meet the medical and dental needs of their family. There is no free lunch for them, just the tax obligation to provide for the illegal aliens.
Illegal aliens should not be allowed to break our laws as they please.
Joe Winkler, Olympia
Advocating fear versus love
President Bush promotes the Machiavellian belief that it is better to be feared than loved.
The irony is his approach is more effective on those he represents than those his misguided war policies are intended for.
Mark E. Allen, Olympia
Soldiers share their wartime experiences
A recent Olympian had an article, "Writing reduces anxiety." I just read "Operation Homecoming," which features e-mails, letters and journals from the troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The book was launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to give active-duty veterans, and their families, a way to record their wartime experiences. Clearly, for some it was a way to reduce anxiety.
I encourage anyone who wants a greater understanding of what our troops face to read this book. It does not reflect a particular political view.
It is available through the library.
Bernie Main, Lacey
Mole traps work as intended
Myth: Mole traps accidentally kill pets and maim wildlife. I have caught hundreds of moles and have never caught someone's pet, and all moles have been dead when I pulled the trap out.
Fact: Supporters of Initiative 713, banning body-gripping traps, stated that it was never their intention to include mole trapping in the ban. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has to be aware of this.
The voters voted for the performance audit initiative. I suggest a performance audit to be performed on the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which continues to say mole traps are illegal.
Mort Robbins, Rochester