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Vietnam Commentary Was a Good Reminder

This piece by Dan Freeman is very timely, and I hope people stop and remember all the war fallen (Guest Commentary, Nov. 10). I've seen my dad struggle over the years to come to grips with the effects of Vietnam. As survivors of the wars in the Persian Gulf area come home and continue their lives with loss and images of war, I pray that our nation takes these soldiers under our wings to get them on the road to recovery, mentally and physically.

Jean Partoza


The 'Weekly' and Leo Banks Make This Reader All A-Twitter

I am remembering what a nice experience it was to scan the Weekly when I first moved to Tucson (about 25 years ago). I occasionally still pick one up. And the last three that I have scanned have carried articles by Leo W. Banks about the border, a subject I am interested in. When the first one was written as a sort of "thriller" about some Persian notes found in a backpack, I thought, "This guy must be joking--this is tongue in cheek, right?" In the next one, the topic was even more cloak and dagger, the writing even worse, easily summed up by "these damned meshkens keep invading OUR country." And finally we get to this last one, "Susie's Letter to Mexico" (Nov. 10).

I was intrigued--I have spent a lot of time in Mexico, and like Susie, I am married to a Mexican. (Although my husband, who eventually became a U.S. citizen, does NOT dislike Mexicans who cross the border without documents, so I guess it's not quite as general a sentiment as Leo feels it is.) And I, too, am furious at the Mexican government, a sentiment you don't hear often in the immigration debate. They abuse the "escape valve" of the U.S. border that keeps the street calm and allows each president to retire a billionaire a few times over while the people get poorer. If a number of those greedy (usually U.S.-educated) bastards would take a few dollars OUT of their pockets and create some jobs in their own country, ordinary Mexicans might have a real alternative.

Susie's letter to Mexican moms, though, should have been just the beginning. Perhaps a little note to Vicente Fox, and while we're at it, George Bush for being such a great pal. Perhaps a little note to the enormous American agricultural concerns that can't seem to function with a legal, documented workforce would have been in order.

One thing I notice about Susie is that despite her overwhelming (and much-appreciated) compassion, her political analysis is just as lopsided as every other border rancher Leo talks to. They all seem to think that the only thing wrong with Washington is that it isn't more actively arming the snot out of the border.

In this analysis, there is no problem with American corporations and small businesses that are unwilling to pay a living wage to individuals and who suck the lifeblood of easily exploited undocumented labor. Perhaps some of Susie's business neighbors in Nogales know what I'm talking about. Or maybe even her own company, which also owns the Weekly.

Frankly, the articles make me so angry that I wish your rag wasn't free, so that threatening to not read it anymore would have some economic teeth. While I appreciate that you deal with the topic of the border, your lens is offensive at best. Leo needs to learn a few words to bring me back into the fold. Lets try u-n-d-o-c-u-m-e-n-t-e-d (or refugees, as Susie calls them), not "illegals." Let's remember that the invasion was ours, Leo, in the 1800s.

Elizabeth Putnam-Hidalgo


Susie Morales' Efforts Are 'Right On'

Thank you for the excellent article, "Susie's Letter to Mexico." I was so moved that I shared it with my family as a must-read. There's an underground river flowing through Tucson we all feel but seldom see. It's a river of love and suffering, but like all rivers, it has contaminates, poisons and waste.

Tucson isn't just another town in the West. Crime is happening right before our eyes. The drug dealers and smugglers have become brazen, and we Americans are somewhat blinded or dumbfounded to what's happening. I've seen large drug dealings go wrong in public view. And smugglers race to shuttle young Mexican nationals into a SUV before later transferring them to a shiny, new trailer waiting to be towed out of harm's way in Benson, probably to a safe house in Tucson. I called 911 immediately, only to get an apathetic voice on the other end responding as if to say, "So what?"

Susie's letter is right on! Mothers of Mexico, keep your sons and daughters home! Young people are so full of life, eager to explore opportunities in "the promised land." But those of us living here find America more and more difficult to live in, robbed by big government or the high cost of living.

My heart goes out to Alex, Susie and Heriberto for their devotion, morality and sensitivity. But now they are forced to harden their hearts and say no to those in need while a growing environment of crime has imprisoned them in their own home. President Bush needs to read Susie's letter!

Dennis Carver


Susie Morales' Efforts Are 'Simplistic'

I am a Mexican citizen who recently moved to Tucson from Boston and have been living in the United States for more than 20 years and have seen both sides.

Susie Morales' view of the situation is rather simplistic and narrowly focused--the immigrant problem is far bigger than Vicente Fox's indifference toward the Mexican people. Was this problem the fault of the previous leaders as well?

It is worth pointing out that not only Mexicans are crossing the border; there are thousands of people from Central America and South America involved in this tragedy. These courageous people suffer unimaginable difficulties before they reach the United States. They are robbed, beaten, incarcerated, raped, starved, etc.

I would suggest Morales start reading some books on Mexican and Latin American history to broaden her horizons and acquire an in-depth understanding. The tradition of corruption in most of Latin America started centuries ago, and it would be unreasonable to expect one single president to wipe this out in only a few years--this has been the way of life for generations. I also want to emphasize that corruption is only one of the many ailments that afflict Mexico. We must consider an inadequate educational system; the tremendous burden of the Catholic Church as an institution and a pseudo-comfort for the lowest economic levels; and a long tradition of neglect for the people who cultivate the land.

I admire Morales' tenacity, compassion and kindness to help these poor people and to confront drug smuggling in her backyard, but if her situation is so unbearable for her and her family, why not consider moving to a safer area? Maybe it is time to find alternatives and stop blaming circumstances that are far beyond her control and understanding.

Concepcion E. Keenan


Where's the Props for Collins, Yo?

The reviewer of Capote lauds Bruce Greenwood's performance as Capote's lover to the point of claiming that performance defines "supporting actor" ("Powerful Portrait," Cinema, Nov. 3). Who really defines "supporting actor" and who is instrumental in Capote redefining himself is Clifton Collins Jr. as a killer, Perry Smith. Collins inhabits Perry Smith as intensely, as subtly and as ambiguously as Hoffman inhabits Capote. Credit where due, no?

Irma Sheppard

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