I wish to provide my perspective about the devastating economic, political and security challenges that the Northern Triangle of Central America has experienced in recent years. I come from Honduras, which has a combination of domestic challenges such as high rates of violence and crimes, and few jobs in the formal economy. Malnutrition and hunger are the root causes of migration from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to the United States.
I strongly believe that the United States needs to pay attention to the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act. The bill will provide foreign assistance to these countries by improving nutrition and improving livelihoods. U.S assistance will significantly reduce mass migration.
It is important to keep in mind that hunger is the principal reason why many families from Central America leave their home countries. If the United States turns its focus on the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act, women and men will have a better future in which they can choose to stay close to home and contribute to their societies. I urge Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott to co-sponsor the Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act.
Omara Castillo, Ave Maria
The writer is an undergraduate at Ave Maria University and an intern with the Borgen Project, a non-profit that works with U.S. leaders to improve their response to the global poverty crisis.
Where is the outrage about the kids? | Column, June 9
Hollowing out care for kids
Paula Dockery is spot-on with her column about the Trump administration's outrageous treatment of kids. Children should not die in the custody of the U.S. government. But they are.
But why be outraged now? I am a retired educator and my wife is a retired school nurse, and we have seen the degradation of the child support system for the last 30 years. It didn't happen overnight but as a slow methodical creep. Our conservative state legislators sleep well at night, and so do the citizens who say, "Don't raise my taxes." I am outraged, too.
Carl Waldron, Dade City
Here's the real outrage
Where is our outrage over an army of more than 600,000 illegal immigrants who have been stopped so far this fiscal year? That includes more than 56,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly teens. When will it stop, if no one acts? In May, there were more than 132,000 who were stopped. With summer here, they will want free air conditioning, free food and free education. Democrats in Washington do not consider the invasion as important as obtaining President Donald Trump's tax returns.
Robert Deskin, St. Petersburg
Florida's 50 highest paid CEOs | June 9
CEO salaries unpatriotic
I found the ratios of CEOs' pay to employee salaries sickening. Every time the attempt is made to raise the federal minimum wage, we always hear the companies can't afford it and it would cost jobs. But no one ever says to the CEOs and their executives that the obscene salaries they expect to be paid will be unaffordable or will cost jobs. Ratios of 209-to-1, 393-to-1 or 170-to-1 are deemed affordable, and yet pay to the people who do the work that creates the wealth of these companies is always deemed a hardship.
I have news for everyone; $15 per hour may have been a living wage 20 years ago but is no longer anywhere near a living wage. There is no defense for this disparity in pay. These CEOs and their companies are just plain greedy. Too many American corporations are examples of capitalism run amok in this country. They are unpatriotic and damage our economy as a whole.
Vicky Ferraro, Tampa
The free market rules
So it's okay to pay a baseball pitcher who just signed with Atlanta over $21 million a year, but it's unfair to pay someone responsible for the jobs of thousands of people and future of a major company $21 million? It's called the free market.
Thomas Sheehan, Spring Hill
Can we forgive? | June 9
A child without hope
My heart broke reading the story of David Welch. He was doomed to abuse as a tiny child in that home. No doubt, a child's developing brains is severely affected by this violence. It was a different era, kids were not told to report if a friend talks of suicide or murder. This boy was abused for as long as he remembers and saw his mom beaten. It's common for the abuse to be from a parent who was a former military man. They are frequently very tough parents. He was a child. I pray that he gets clemency. Attorney Sharon Stedman is an angel on Earth to help him. What he did was horrific, he saw no way out. All involved lose.
Kathy Dreyer, Palm Harbor
Crackdown on petitions | June 8
Bad bill silences voters
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the pinnacle of partisan politics. This bad bill will now make it almost impossible for voters to collect enough signatures to make sure their wishes are put into the state Constitution, even if more than 60 percent of voters would have approved. Voters, next November 2020, these same Republican politicians will be mailing postcards and letters saying how wonderful they are and please re-elect them to office.
Instead, I say let's tell them, "You're fired!" Let's give the Democratic Party a chance to prove that they will honor the will of the people. Let them prove that you will not need a constitutional amendment to get what you want; just put into office the right people. If we do not like what they did in two years, then you can always vote the same Republicans back in office.
Mike Quartucci, Zephyrhills