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American Interference

March 10, 2004

Amy Wilentz, in "Fall from Grace" (Opinion, March 7), quotes former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as often making a joke about American interference in his country: " 'Why is Washington such a safe place? Answer: No American Embassy.' "

As anyone familiar with Latin American politics -- as I became as a freelancer during the '80s -- has often heard, that is an old joke told with relish in every capital from Mexico City to Lima, but it goes slightly differently: Why are there no coups d'etat in the United States? Answer: There are no American embassies in Washington!

Joe Gannon

Santa Monica

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