Letters – March 8, 2008

Don’t cut afterschool programs

The president’s budget proposal includes a one-two punch aimed right at the heart of afterschool programs. He calls for cutting federal afterschool funding by 27 percent and for reorganizing the current federal program into a risky voucher scheme. Both are bad ideas and should be rejected.

The president’s proposed funding cut would mean that 17,528 fewer children in Illinois could get afterschool care — a bitter pill for families to swallow. Indeed, funding should go up, not down. We’re nowhere near meeting the need for afterschool care and, as a result, millions of families can’t find such care for their kids.

The president’s afterschool voucher proposal would have dire consequences for programs across the nation, undermining existing public, private and community partnerships that are working well, and destabilizing programs by making their funding even more precarious.

Americans support afterschool programs by huge margins because they keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Congress should make quick work of the president’s bad ideas, and focus instead on increasing funding for afterschool. That would address a real problem with real solutions.

Roslind Blasingame-Buford

Chicago IL

Roslind Blasingame-Buford is associate executive director of Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development (BUILD, Inc.).

Sad news

Sergio Corrieri was indeed a great example of what a leader is in the struggle to make socialism a reality for humanity. As the head of the Cuban Friendship Society, he pulled together all peoples in North America and Latin America who have visited Cuba by selecting excellent staff to carry forth his program of reciprocity.

Corrieri was instrumental in establishing the Marti Educational School for Children. He was often the chairperson in huge gatherings at the Karl Marx Theater where Comrade Fidel Castro welcomed foreign dignitaries from the world over.

In 2004, I was honored to have Sergio pin a medal on my chest as a friend and supporter of Cuban sovereignty and socialism.

I shall miss this wonderful man who gave his life to Cuba.

John Gilman

Milwaukee WI

John Gilman chairs the Milwaukee Committee To Free The Cuban Five.

Cuban Five discussed with Vatican

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone commented on his recent visit to Cuba. The Catholic News Agency reported that Bertone and President Raul Castro discussed the necessity of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Cuba. He also said Castro is willing to exchange prisoners with the United States.

Castro emphasized the importance of reciprocity at the international level, according to Bertone. He said he was willing to address all the problems with great openness and even to make concrete gestures in an atmosphere of reciprocity.

The Vatican cardinal said President Castro brought up the issue of the Cuban Five, five Cuban political prisoners in the U.S. and their humanitarian treatment, with the eventual possibility of an exchange.

Michael Adam Reale

Via e-mail

Don’t steal the election

The ruling class is split but it’s not going to prevent the right wing from releasing itself on both Obama and Hillary. The people of this nation must mobilize and take a clear stand for both democracy and peace. If a progressive wins we might need to mobilize after the election to make sure the progressive president-elect is sworn in.

Then we must mobilize the people to press the new administration to keep its promise

It is our job to build a united front with all the progressive forces to prevent the reactionaries from stealing this election.

Tom Siblo

Saugerties NY

Lessons from India’s communists

Forty million small and medium farmers of India were awarded relief from bank loans, capital and interest both. The finance minister gave this pleasant surprise in the annual budget presented in parliament March 1. Defaulting farmers, supported by the communists and other left parties, have been struggling for years for some relief. The budget also allocates 20 percent more funds for education, 15 percent more for health sector, and 24 percent more for women’s welfare and child development. Programs for seniors and several other sections of people have also been presented. Small farmers are celebrating in villages of India. Communists and other left and supporting parties have appreciated this complete waiver of unpaid loans.

Can our owners of small houses who are defaulting on their mortgage payments not aspire from the Democrats and Republicans something similar in this election year?

R. K. Sharma

Plainsboro N.J.

‘Plan Colombia’

The capitalists in Washington continue their murderous protection of right-wing dictators in Central and South America. The U.S. Operation “Plan Colombia” provides the channel for billions of dollars to fund Alvaro Uribe’s bloodthirsty right-wing paramilitary armies who recently invaded Ecuador, killing civilians along with some leaders of revolutionary forces.

Obviously, slavery and misery is alive and well wherever “Uncle Sam” can manage it with declining U.S. currency. However, there is growing hope for Central and South America. Both Ecuador and Venezuela leaders have put a stop to Uribe’s imperialist ventures at least temporarily, but it is time for the millions of the struggling poor in Colombia to revolt and put an end to the U.S. puppet regime there. Chavez, via friendship with Ecuador, certainly provides the opportunity to advance the socialist cause.

Robert Linderholm

Via e-mail

Puzzler solver

Re “World Puzzler” (Letters, PWW 3/1-7) about a reform government that came to power in 1978: that regime was the one led by Saddam Hussein, whose Ba’ath Socialist Party murdered thousands of Communists.

Michael Pugliese

Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Actually that’s incorrect. The letter was referring to the Afghan government led by Communists, which carried out many progressive social reforms.

Author seeks information

Latinos active in Henry Wallace’s 1948 campaign: papers, photos and personal experiences. Contact:


Kenneth Burt


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