Carla’s Aftermath Photos by Sherrill and Dugger phy of education at the University of Texas, and, in his personal life, one of the intellectual leaders of the Mexican-Americans in the Southwest. His statement reviews his contentions with respect to the oppression of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest \(which the Observmakes, in addition, a statement that “only the Mexicanos can speak for the Mexicanos.” Speaking of the Mexican-American in the Southwest, Sanchez wrote: 44 his own leaders have not been his spokesmen. That is, decisions as to his needs have been arrived at on the basis of the opinions of individuals poorly qualified to make far-reaching judgments about the MexicanAmericanand that includes non. Latin officials whom he helped to elect and some of his own people who are, at best, only incidentally concerned over the crises faced by his fellows.” Asserting that this population group can only be understood by “the grass roots,” including the common man and business and professional men “who identify with the common man and seek nothing from him but everything for him,” Sanchez said elected state and local officials rarely fill this role. Dick Meskill, columnist in the Alamo Messenger, the newspaper of the Catholic diocese of San Antonio, suggested this doctrine is racism in reverse. Pena_ takes vigorous exception to this. First, says Pena, persons need not ‘be of Mexican extraction to belong to PASO; in Fort Worth, in fact, about half the members are not Second, he said, PASO favors participation in a liberal coalition, “as long as we are treated with mutual respect.” “What he [Sanchez] really meant,” Pena said, “was that within a coalition we felt that our advice should be heeded. We need to have a voice in the policy-making decisions.” PASO is necessary, Pena said, because “we have problems that are peculiar to this group.” As for a report that PASO would recommend only Mexican-American candidates for office, Pena said, “That’s not true. We will recommend them on the basis of their past performancesregardless,” he said with a smile, “of race, creed, or color.” ‘Few Understand’ The Observer asked Sanchez if his rule that only Mexicanos can speak for Mexicans was racism. “No! No, it isn’t!” he replied. “We have 11/2 million to 2 million people of Mexican extraction in Texas who have been ignored absolutely. . . . There is a submerged culture here that maybe a few Anglos understand, but darn few, darn few, and of the politicians, I don’t think oneexcept possibly some doubts about him. Maury close, but he doesn’t quite reach the people.” Asked how his statement differs from, for example, “only the Germans can speak for the Germans,” Sanchez said: “I was speak’ng from experience.” Ralph Yarborough, he said, has “cut our throat just as much as Lyndon Johnson, in the fact that he hasn’t done anything positive. I’m for him, but something better is needed.” In example, Sanchez cited what he described as Yarborough’s failure to take a definite position about the renewal of ‘Public Law 78, which authorizes the bracero labor program, to which PASO has declared itself opposed on be-. half of the wage interests of citizen migrant workers. Yarborough, said Sanchez, has been “the lesser of evils,” and Johnson “the worst of evils.” “I may be wrong in saying that only the Mexicano can speak for the Mexicano. Up to now there hasn’t been any evidence that the contrary is so. If you can provide me any evidence to the contrary, I will welcome it. “Seeing things as they have been in the state, I can’t help but take a completely cynical, pessimistic view of Anglo politics and Anglq politicians,” Sanchez said. Of PASO, Sanchez said that “it is toinsofar as possibleconsolidate the Mexican-American vote behind liberal refOrms, regardless of who sponsors them, Democrats or Republicansand the group can swing in any direction.” Mexican-Americans gave Kennedy more than 250,000 votes, and this, Sanchez says, was the difference. “The Mexicans saved him by giving him a quarter of a million votes,” Sanchez said. “If that block had split as they normally do, Kennedy would not be president today.” “Lyndon Johnson and Ralph Yarborough and the other fellows cannot speak for the Mexicano,” Sanchez said. “And that is true for the liberalsthey can’t speak for these people. In the Observer I saw the liberals are protesting proposed considerations on appointments. They were talking about the white liberalsthey weren’t referring to the Latin liberals, who have been treated much worse,” Sanchez said. Historical Precedence Sanchez’s paper notes that Mexicans were natives of the territory of Texas long before those nationality groups now dominant here even arrived. “If historical precedence is to be the criterion, our rights and needs have priority over those of other ‘nationality groups” the paper adopted by PASO asserts. The Mexican-American is “the most neglected, the least sponsored, the most orphaned major minority group in the United States,” it continues. Persons of Spanish surname in the Southwest “are at the bottom of the scale on virtually every criterion measuring health, wealth, education, and welfare.” Sanchez cites the high incidence of draft rejections for educational reasons among Texas ‘ Mexicans, as well as the frequent occurrence of infant diarrhea and tuberculosis among them. They do not have adequate housing or income, nor do they obtain state or federal jobs in adequate numbers, which Sanchez calls “a national scandal.” “Probably nowhere has the mistreatment of this population group been so flagrant or so devastating as in the field of laborpolitics and labor-economics,” Sanchez wrote. First as wetbacks, now as braceros, Mexican nationals have been permitted to work at cheap wagesas little as 15 cents an hourin the U.S., he said. “We see, today, the bracero in vastly larger numbers than durmg the peak of the war emergency continuing to displace \(at citizen-cousin and to beget misery for him and for those whom the latter, in turn, displaces.” Sanchez’s paper proposes: More stringent regulation of the Mexican border. “We cannot afford to subsidize the progress of Mexico or that of our businessmen with the misery of the Americans of ‘Mexican descent.” Minimum wage laws and other measures for migrant workers. Welfare measures for aged, dependent, widowed, and orphaned Mexican-Americans. Better education of Latins; better use of the natural resource, the Mexican language, in our foreign policy; and federal aid to education. Pena said the organization has local branches in Houston, Port Arthur, Orange, Fort Worth, Dallas, and of course throughout South Texashe mentioned Corpus Christi, Hidalgo and Cameron counties, and Laredo especially. R.D. Cox Greeted Enthusiastically By State GOP under its present leadership and political platforms,” Cox said. “And I shall immediately exercise my constitutional privilege of pledging my efforts . . . to assist the Republican Party in its fight to restore constitutional government.” He stressed that “under these circumstances, I am not a candidate for governor of Texas or for any other state office.” He added, however, that if the opportunity arises “in which I can be of any appreciable service,” he would give the matter “consideration.” He explained his move: “In recent years . . . long-time Texas conservative Democrats have refused to surrender their constitutional rights to the Harry Truman Adlai Stevenson Walter Reuther-Eleanor Roosevelt-dominated Democratic Party demand for blind loyalty. “Texans, like myself, now face another dilemma: Is it possible to continue within the framework and under the leadership of today’s Democratic Party now that it becomes increasingly obvious that the present Democratic Party is dedicated to a course which can lead only to the destruction of the basic political and civil rights guaranteed by our Constitution? If Cox can be counted as a possible gubernatorial contender in 1962and he shouldthere is also the likelihood that for the first time GOP primaries for major offices in Texas may be seriously contested. The Republicans, under state law, will hold their primaries on the same days, May 5 and June 2, as the Democrats. There is increasing -speculationthat as the party breaks out of the wilderness in earnest, much of the backroom decision-making that has made state GOP primaries the tame and tepid affairs of the past will be forced into the open. W.M. Inverse Racism . . . or Self-Improvement? Latins Organize Action Group Devastated Trail Left By Carla is still standing. That’s about all. Our clothes is all went. Most of the roof is gone.” The goods of home life were lying on the open ground: an eggbeater, a sink, a television, a portable sewing machine, a baby buggy -, clothes caught on brush and trees. We found M. F. Munsch surveying the incredible ruins of a Mobil station and a grocery store. “Mister,” he said, “I been through six or seven of these, and two or three times they’ve covered over this town. I ain’t gonna be here for the next one. We had hurricane winds for 24 hours. If what they said about those other storms going 150 miles an hour was true, this one was 200. It was the worst onethe length of it, and the dep’ness of it!” At the house where he was cleaning up, Edgar said, “I know dang well she was blowin”tween 175 and 200 miles an hour. I been in ten of ’em, and this was the worst I’ve ever experienced.” Willie was gone to Victoria to get an electric pump so they could start the water gOing again. He had stayed with them in the house. At 2:30, the calth -had started, and although after the eye had passed the winds came back, they never resumed their fierceness during that dark half hour when the house seemed to be floating away. Would Edgar, too, be leaving Port O’Connor? “No,” he said, “I’m gonna live it out. I’m not gonna leave this old burg.”
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.