Letters

Maquila Horror
Congratulations to John Dougherty and David Holthouse for their award-level reporting from the world of the Mexican maquiladoras ("Bordering on Exploitation," July 9).

Yes, I find it morally abhorrent that Mexico, the United States and the emerging culture of boundless corporate profiteering have expanded the trappings of the worst of sweatshop capitalism into the lives of the Mexican people.

That the authors followed young Carla through her workday at a maquila, laboring at a wage of 95 cents an hour, to her village 300 miles beyond Nogales, spoke to a life crushed by the demands of an economic system that views lives like hers as "throwaway."

Aside from the representations of an environmental holocaust, "homes" as railway cars or shanties, the lure of after-hour drug dens, can one not feel a sense of shame in the face of these wounded souls? There is no justification that I can reach that would allow--in fact, force the hand of--a Carla to move away from her family, her roots, her twin sister, in order to earn less than one dollar an hour.

The official mouthpieces from management, the government and the "shelter companies" attempt to mask the squalor by bandying about claims of progressive management and having "innate understanding of the culture." Baloney, these plants are bottom-line inventions to rob livelihoods from both American and Mexican workers. Pitting work forces the world over against each other to maximize profits is the real story exposed by Dougherty and Holthouse; this crude invention brings shame to all who perpetuate this suffering. From broken homes, to cultures torn asunder, to hopes glibly shaped upon the fleeting promise of good jobs at two bucks an hour, the conspiracy of NAFTA and global capitalism will in time meet inevitable resistance.

In the meantime, unionization on a worldwide scale, reduced population growth and an understanding that we are at one with one another might act as a powerful force to combat the world of maquiladoras.

Stephen Shemin
Scottsdale

Advocacy vs. Hysteria
Paul Rubin's article on Dr. Kay Rauth-Farley and her fight against child abuse ("Special Kay," June 25) indicates that she is a fair and balanced advocate. Unfortunately, there have been hundreds of malicious and false prosecutions of innocent people for child abuse in the United States in the past couple of decades. This hysteria is similar to the 1600s Salem, Massachusetts, hysteria captured by Arthur Miller in The Crucible.

In Arizona, I am personally acquainted with one case where there was no physical evidence of abuse and the alleged perpetrator is serving a long prison sentence. At the same time, there are thousands of cases with physical evidence that go uninvestigated.

One may rent the video Indictment, starring James Woods, to see one example of this hysteria, the McMartin case in Southern California. PBS' Frontline has had a number of programs on the Little Rascals case in North Carolina. Other cases that have received some media attention include the Kelly McMichaels case; the Wenatchee, Washington, witch hunt led by a Sheriff Joe type; the Amirault tragedy in Massachusetts, where the prosecution was led by an attorney general now running for governor; the Grant Snowden case prosecuted by then-Dade County attorney Janet Reno, before she went on to order the assault on Waco that resulted in 17 dead children. Even Arizona AG Grant Woods said a few years ago that John Henry Knapp "should have been executed" for killing his two little girls; Knapp is now a free man because of the efforts of a Phoenix law firm.

Roland James
Phoenix

Thank you, Mr. Rubin, thank you for your wonderful, although painful, poignant article about Kay Rauth-Farley and child abuse in our state. I applaud you for bringing the focus to Ms. Rauth-Farley's advocacy efforts, but also shedding light on the darkest side of "humanity"--child abuse. It should never, ever happen!

In Memory of Our Precious Angel Babies,
Joanne (Mommy to Cheyenne)
via Internet

I thank you for the wonderful article on Dr. Rauth-Farley. I had no idea she existed nor that the clinic existed. I am a nurse who is no longer working. Having had the sexual-abuse issue raised in my own family, both daughter and granddaughter, my heart bleeds for the children. Thank you for letting me know there are some wonderful advocates for these children and these issues here in Phoenix. Thank you.

Sallie McKenna
via Internet

It was heartening to see the story about Dr. Rauth-Farley. More power to people like her! It seems that child abuse is reported more often in the '90s, but it remains no less disturbing. At the same time, we have also seen an increase in cases of animal abuse reported in the media.

There is apparently a strong link between these two types of behavior, as well as a connection between animal abuse by young people and later criminal behavior. Perhaps this needs to be pointed out so that the public will be aware of the importance of reporting animal abuse to the authorities. I know that the social services are always overloaded, but perhaps we can save a few souls from perpetrating child abuse, spouse abuse or other violent antisocial behavior.

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