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14 The Texas Observer TEXAS WILD The Land, Plants, and Animals of the Lone Star State by Richard Phelan, photographs by Jim Bones Texas Wild, a book as beautiful and extraordinary as Texas itself, explores region by region the land, the plants and the animals of the Lone Star State. From mountain desert to swampy woodland, from rolling prairie to the semi-tropics, Phelan and Bones celebrate in words and pictures a land of unique and dramatic diversity. Highlighting the geography and the natural history are fascinating tales from the state’s colorful past. “Intelligent, readable, informed, informative … covers a tremendous lot of material with a grasp that indicates solid knowledge and research … such an overall and unchauvinistic treatment of physical and natural Texas has long been needed.” John Graves “A splendid tour … this is excellent armchair travel.” Publishers Weekly 64 pages of full-color photographs, 100 drawings, 8 maps, 81/4″ x 10 3/4″, oversize format. GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe Austin, Texas 78705 Please send Texas Wild at $25.00 per copy. 0 remittance enclosed charge my account Name Address City Please add appropriate salex tax & 75q postage per copy. Printers Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Complete Computer Data Processing Services Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Journals Magazines Newspapers Books The Only 100% Union Shop in Texas! FUITURilk 512 / 442-7836 Box 3485 1714 S. Congress Austin, Tx 78764 La Fonda de la Noche Southwestern Cuisine Liberal Food Conservative Prices 2405 Nueces AA:LW 474-7562 trenched Mexican middle and upper classes perceive that they cannot hold on to their privilege forever unless something is done to create a more equitable society. In a sense, Echeverria’s difficulties were compounded by his unwillingness to turn the system upside down. In this regard he could perhaps be compared to Eduardo Frei, who preceded Allende in Chile. Echeverria took some important steps to improve the lot of the impoverished and talked of doing much more, but he didn’t want to rip the Mexican-multinational economic fabric asunder. The truth is that despite Echeverria’s talk, Mexico has continued to provide a rather comfortable climate for foreign economic investment, even with a new foreign investment law requiring a Mexican share in ownership. Companies that introduce new and important technology to Mexico, however, such as IBM, have been given a pass on the new law. Other major U.S. corporations have complied by joining forces with Mexican investors in “Mexicanization” of the multinational firmforming new companies with some degree of Mexican ownership. Investment by U.S. companies climbed to $3.2 billion last year from $2 billion before the new law took effect. As recently as Nov. 5, a Wall Street Journal headline read: “Multinationals Discover Profits in Mexico Despite Peso Problems, Ownership Rules.” The subsequent peso devaluations and economic turmoil have obviously shaken the big business interests some, but they are looking for a more stable situation under incoming President Lopez Portillo. Smaller investors, as well as Americans holding large amounts of pesos, are the ones who have been hardest hit. And despite the fact that the government has tried to restrain the flight of capital from Mexico, it is clear that much of the country’s wealth has found its way across the border in recent months. Just as Mexico remains the major U.S. export market in Latin America \(the U.S. sold $5.1 billion in goods to Mexico last nesses along the Texas border are heavily dependent upon sales to Mexicans. Recent events have played havoc with the border economy. As just one indicator of the business decline, State Comptroller Bob Bullock says there has been a significant decrease in sales-tax collections in El Paso, Laredo, and Eagle Pass. In some areas along the border, business is down 50 to 60 percent overall, and certain stores which catered almost exclusively to the Mexican trade including some appliance dealershave lost nearly all their business. The thousands of Mexicans who crossed into Texas every day to shop have quit coming. Of course, many Americans have flocked across the border to take advantage of lower prices in Mexico, although many Mexican merchants with dollar debts and peso income aren’t helped that much. In a rather dramatic and troubling way, the experience has underlined the borderarea interdependence. Despite that interdependence, the developments in Mexico received relatively minimal notice in Texas until matters reached the crisis point. With rare exception, such as W. D. Bedell’s weekly column in the Houston Post, attention has been focused on the bizarre and the banal in coverage of Mexico. Even more recent stories have tended to be of the variety reflected in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram headline: “Cheap Peso Brings Grins: Mexico is Now a Bargain.” The attitude of state officials may have contributed to the general indifference. The new Mexican consul in Austin said he has been unable to be received by Governor Briscoe for a courtesy call, despite several months of trying to arrange an appointment. Then there is the case of the Texas Good Neighbor Commission, an official state commission composed of nine members appointed by the governor for six-year terms. The commission is charged with promoting “inter-American understanding and goodwill,” with particular emphasis on relations with Mexico. Commission member Dan R. Eddy Jr. of Dallas earlier this year called Mexico a “dirty place,” and said, “If I would never get to Mexico again it wouldn’t bother me. I don’t like the food or climate.” Eddy, appointed by Gov. John. Connally in 1968 to fill an unexpired term on the commission and reappointed by Gov. Preston Smith in 1972, was under fire from State Rep. Bill Hollowell for a trip he made to Tampico last May for a commission meeting. Only four of the nine commissioners showed up for that meeting, one short of the quorum necessary to conduct business. Arrogance and complacency have often marked the Texas attitude toward Mexico. But Mexico is in one of the most critical periods in its history, and events there can have profound implications for Texas. The direction of the new Lopez Portillo government and the handling of key economic, social, and political issues are going to bear close watching. State Zip