Page 16


EDITORIAL Many years agomany more than I care to rememberI hopped on a bus in Dallas, walked across the’ bridge in Laredo and took another bus heading South. I was on my way to Harlingen and decided that the best way to get there was via Oaxaca and the Yucatan peninsula. Eventually’ I made my way to the Rio Grande Valley, where I learned a few things and then moved on. I thought I had learned something about Mexico while I was in the Valley, what with all those all-night bus rides to Mexico City. One day I decided to go there and stay for good. When I got there in 1988, I discovered I knew absolutely nothing about Mexico. But it was a good time to be a journalist. \(I knew nothing about jourEvery twelve years the stars and the planets align themselves in such a way that the United States and Mexico both elect a president; 1988 was one of those years. In Mexico the “system” crashed and the election computers went down. When they went back up again Carlos Salinas de Gortariwho was always referred to as “Harvard-educated” Carlos Salinas de Goitariwas president.The pundits, the press and the professional Mexicanologists, who always had a chip on their shoulders because it was far more lucrative to be a Kremlinologist in those days than a Mexicanologist, said Ni modo. Nothing you can do about it. This is Mexico and the popular vote counts for nada.You leave your constitutional rights at the bridge. For a while there were marches in the streets. The Zocalo, the great plaza of Mexico City, filled with hundreds of thousands of protesters. I thought it was a good story; so did The Texas Observer. And then the protests stopped. Harvardeducated Carlos Salinas de Gortari, whose father had once met oilman George Bush when the elder Salinas de Gortari was a cabinet minister, went to Houston to meet President George Bush. The press wrote about “the spirit of Houston.” If you live in Mexico long enough, you learn that time isn’t linear, it’s circular. The same stories, the same problems and sometimes even the same people orbit around and around, although sometimes the spin is not quite the same. \(You could figure this out on the other side of the border, too, if it weren’t for all the noise and distraction about the next finally figured out how to elect a president. In the United States, well, what can we say. And here I am in Texas again. Paciencia y barajar. Patience and shuffle the cards. There’s so much work to do. Barbara Belejack NOTE TO READERS: With this issue we welcome our new managing editor, Barbara Belejack. A longtime contributor and friend of the Observer, Barbara comes to us from Mexico City, where she wrote for a variety of Mexican and U.S. publications. We are pleased to add her experience and wisdom to the editorial office. We are also pleased to introduce a new look, thanks to the inspired work of our graphic designer, the lovely and talented Julia Austin. Texas Observer Editors: Nate Blakeslee, Karen Olsson Managing Editor: Barbara Belejack Managing Publisher: Charlotte McCann Circulation Manager: Candace Carpenter Graphic Designer: Julia Austin Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Development Director: Susan Morris Intern: Chris Womack Special Projects: Jere Locke, Nancy Williams Contributing Writers: Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Louis Dubose, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Paul Jennings, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, Jeff Mandell, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, John Ross. Staff Photographer: Alan Pogue Contributing Photographers: Jana Birchum,Vic Hinterlang, Patricia Moore, Jack Rehm. Contributing Artists: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein,Valerie Fowler, Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Bob Eckhardt, Sissy Farenthold,John K. Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Jim Marston, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Gilberto Ocailas. The Texas Observer entire contents copyrighted 2000, is published biweekly except every three weeks during January and August Texas 78701. Telephone: E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin,Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin,Texas 78701. Stars realign, Belejack returns THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3