Page 8


dining room and locked the bar door. Rodriguez told her to get into the bathroom; when she tried to watch through a window he told her to get away, and watched himself. Hearing the kicking at the back door, she went and asked Dimas in the dining room if she should leave by the back door, and he said no, the house was surrounded; she went to the kitchen and sat down on the drainboard, and by that time the Rangers were inside. She saw nothing. She continued: “I heard Captain Allee say, ‘Come on out, you two, or I’m going to kill you.’ ” Several others were yelling, and “the whole house was just shaking, the walls and everything. I have never heard such hatred in men’s voices. I never heard Ben or Magdalene say one word or even go ‘unh’ from a blow or anything. I sat there with my hands over my ears, 1 was so afraid. I just knew there was going to be and everything. I have never heard such hatred in men’s voices. I never heard Ben a shot.” When they were gone, she said, she found blood on the living room floor, the davenport, and “all over Horacio Carrillo’s hat.” Carrillo, she said, had taken a .cot out back to sleep, and was watched by sheriff’s deputies, but not arrested or manhandled. Nye, recounting the events as he had heard them the night before, said, “the Rangers said [Dimas] had the rifle and they had to subdue him to get it.” Allee told the Observer that Dimas dropped the rifle outside before he ran back into the house. Nye understood that Dimas claimed he was hit in the head with the butt of a rifle or shotgun and also kicked. He and Rodriguez were arrested, Nye said, by “either two or three Rangers.” The Strike Is Beset by Woes A UNION rally in San Juan Plaza the right of June 3rd attracted about 150 persons, officers or other observers who filtered through the audience in rustic clothes, about 15 or 20 newspapermen, and an ABC camera team. The crowd was small compared to the thousands Padilla had hoped for. The animus of the rally was the Rangers; the strike, while not forgotten, was simply the backdrop. Although Captain Allee had said earlier he’d stop in but probably wouldn’t stay long, no Rangers were seen anywhere around. On the other hand, Martin Waldron of the New York Times was approached by a man in rustic clothes who said the Rangers were no good and should be abolished, didn’t Waldron agree? Waldron said he didn’t know. The questioner was later seen at the side of a car of agents from the internal security division of the Department of Public Safety. The rally site on the plaza was surrounded by many cars full of spectators who did not come into the plaza. David Lopez, the union official who emceed the rally, said, at different times, that Col. Homer Garrison, director of D.P.S., and Allee are liars, that the Rangers have “a long history of violence and prejudice and ruthlessness,” and that the Rangers are here “to preserve the poverty of South Texas;” he spoke of a “big fat Ranger” and of “these drunken fools out here trying to beat us up.” So far, Lopez said, no striker has committed an act of violence. The Rev. Krueger praised Magdaleno Dimas’ refusal to “fight back” during the hamburger and slapping incident Krueger asserts that he saw; “I would like to offer a word of gratitude to the union in the development of human beings such as Magdaleno Dimas,” Krueger said. Lopez, who contends that the reason Dimas “was framed, if he was framed,” was his record, said of it at the rally, “I don’t think the people of this state are in such a degenerate state that they cannot give a man a second chance.” Benito Rodriguez told the rally, “We’re not afraid of the Rangers and we’re going to stand up and fight ’em.” Lopez said the strikers would picket Gov. John Connally in Laredo this month; Pancho Medrano reminded the huelgu istas to reward their friends and punish their enemies at the polls. Padilla, who was Cesar Chavez’ righthand man through the successful grapepickers’ strike in Delano, Calif., and is now directing the Rio Grande City strike, spoke of “the injustice that our people have suffered for hundreds of years.” He thanked churchmen, politicians, professors, who have given support to the strike. Four years ago, he said, they were being told in Delano they could not defeat “the big giant,” but “it was the courage of the worker who knows courage. We took beatings and the beatings didn’t stop us and we brought DiGiorgio to the bargaining table.” The unionists are emphatic that they are going on with the strike, but they concede that they have lost this showdown. The harvest and the marketing continue. Lopez says that night picketing is discontinued until lawyers are present; this mostly cuts out picketing the trains except at Rio Grande City in the late afternoon. Besides, McKeithan and Lopez have been concerned about the drain on the union treasury for bail money, and they now know that the Rangers will arrest train pickets at any time for secondary picketing. The union’s picketing of the bridge at Roma has been discontinued, probably from discouragement over CTM’s withdrawal of the pickets on the Mexican side. While Lopez hopes Mexican authorities can be brought around, he says, “In Mexico things like that take time.” The coordinator of the attempts to boycott La Casita products, Ernie Cortez of Austin, exclaimed “Boycott those melons!” at the rally, but he concedes the program has been difficult to make real with marketing outlets so far-flung and produce so hard to trace into the vegetable counters. The weight of the Starr County “ins” is thrown onto the scales against the strikers. The application of the minimum wage to such large farms as La Casita, a development that occurred after the Starr County strike was launched, has obviously deprived the union of its initial contention that the workers at La Casita are making 40 and 50 cents an hour, since by law they must make $1 or more now. The union, of course, is not limited to seeking $1.25 an hour and has never said that’s all it wants. However, because the political objective of last year’s long march to Austin was the $1.25 minimum wage, this sum is imprinted deeply into the Starr County strike, so that Rochester argues against his workers paying the prices of striking for so small a wage differential. Padilla replies: the workers at Delano get $1.75 an hour now, but more important, they sit down with dignity as workers and bargain with the growers. Yet the union does not contend that many of the fieldhands have been coming out of the fields to join the pickets. To the contrary, they say that each time they have gotten such results, mass arrests by Rangers and local authorities have occurred, cutting these events short. The rally in the plaza demonstrated the unionists’ acceptance of their present failure to stop either the melon harvest or the railroads carrying this harvest to market and their deep hostility toward the Rangers, whom they regard as the agents of the growers and Governor Connally against them. Basic to all these considerations, but often overlooked because it is not an event, is the fact that the farm worker is not protected under the National Labor Relations Act from being fired if he tries to unionize. The argument is not available to farm union organizers that if a worker is fired for coming out on strike, he can be protected by a complaint against the employer alleging unfair labor practices. WORKING AGAINST the strike, also, has been the poverty throughout Starr County, which dazes the imagination. Rodolfo de la Garza, the school superintendent of the county, testified about this poverty at hearings in Edinburg on Sen. Ralph Yarborough’s bilingual education bill. Starr, said the superintendent, is rated as the poorest county in Texas and the 17th poorest in the U.S. All but three percent of the people are MexicanAmericans. “There is nothing but stoop labor and little enough of that,” and in the main the people eat beans and rice. Of the males over 14, 29% are unemployed. More than two-thirds of all the families make less than $3,000 a year. Last year, June 9, 1967 27