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money to Mexican revolutionaries who had bought guns and taken them across the border. He said that he had not told them to buy any armaments. He also said he hadn’t told them not to. His tone was that of a man trying to win sympathy after a failure. It said, “Look, there is misery in Mexico, and I was trying to do something about it. I can’t help what those guys did with my money.” But it also carried a trace of defiance, as if what went unsaid was “They really did need those guns.” I suspect that Mario told everything he knew, but only half of what he felt. \(During the land seizure, hostages were taken by the guerillas. I saw them, and cringed with the feeling that keeps timid men away from lynch mobs; I was afraid to see violence inflicted. The hostages were not harmed, but Mario, I recall, showed only passing concern for them. His mood was one of boyish pleasure at the larger events of the seizure, which ultiI doubt that when questioning of Mario was done, Sandoval and Kuntsler felt that, as lawyers say, they had rehabilitated their client. Prosecutor Rodriguez must have been sure he had Can.tti nailed, even though no one, I believe, had established any conflict between the gun incident and Cantu’s probationary status. Sitting in the audience, I asked a reporter how he thought Sessions would rule. We discussed possible sentences by note, and agreed on an estimate: Mario Cantu would be sentenced to three years in prison. Bill Kuntsler began his summation. He told the court that Mario was a man like those who led the American Revolution, principled and unafraid. It was a facile, and I thought, vapid comparison. Mario spoke last. He spoke quietly. There was pain and hesitation in his voice, as if he were taking a stand he feared to take. He talked about his political commitments, and said that in Europe he had accomplished an agitational mission. I know Mario well enough; he never is say these things. Something more had to be coming, I told myself. “I have come back to face whatever it is that I must face,” Mario said after a minute. He went on to say other things, but I did not listen. The strain in his voice eased off. Mario had said what was most difficult for him. He had admitted that the court could punish him, and that he was afraid it would. He had summed up everything I had advised him to say. I hope Chacho was in the courtroom to hear that one sentence. It was the only sentence I’ve ever heard Mario speak in a tone of resignation. I believe that Mario was ready to go to jail, perhaps even quietly. His voice was unusually quiet. Men, ideals, loyalties Radicals are, by and large, a feisty and overbearing lot. They survive on the forbearance of their followers and associates. Ultimately, if they do not slack up on their demands for sympathy, their associates denounce or desert them. Defections, purge trials and de-Stalinizations are all testimony to this. During the years I have known him, I have seen Mario CantU drive off more supporters than he is likely to have today. Over the past 10 years, the period of his activism, Mario CantU has inconvenienced not only the authorities, but many of the rest of us: family, friends, business peers, even sectors of the press. Perhaps our discomfort is necessary. Mario is, after all, the first prominent Texan to espouse revolutionary socialism in public since the McCarthy era, when the legislature required all communists to register as foreign agents or face felony prosecution. In the two decades since witch hunts waned, red celebrities have arisen in other states William Kuntsler is one. Texas has seen only CantU, and it is not surprising that he draws his inspiration from Mexico, where revolutionary socialism is almost voguish. Because of our nearness to Mexico, Mario CantU, or someone very much like him, is an inevitable figure in our political life, if only at its fringes. He has chosen to walk down a trail strewn with legal, moral, historical and religious issues as prickly as cactus. I do not think Mario has learned to be politic, but, as later events of the day may have shown, he may at last be on his way. After Mario spoke, Kuntsler told the Judge that the defense was concluded. Sessions proceeded immediately into observations on the case. He began with what radicals of the ’60’s would have called a de-obfuscation, had the pronouncement been made by one of them. Sessions denied that Kuntsler’s comparison of John Adams and James Madison to CantU went far enough. They organized revolution knowing that it meant victory or imprisonment. No Bill of Rights protected their advocacy. CantU, however, was liable to imprisonment for violating the rules of the closed world of probation, a world in which, as in pre-Revoluntionary days, many ordinary liberties are proscribed. Sessions said that as he understood it, the defense had argued, without saying so, that Mario’s violation was mitigated by First Amendment considerations: Mario had violated his probation agreement in order to aid the press and to espouse his own political opinions. Sessions said that another judge, whom he Cantu on probation. While he made no criticism of the case, he referred again to the letters which showed that Mario’s sentence was an unpopular and unusual one. He then cited my testimony and that of Jacoby as having buttressed the argument that Cantu was honorable, if defiant. Sessions sentenced Mario CantU to five months in a San Antonio halfway house, and a return to probationary supervision. He also said that in the future, he, not CantU’s probation officer, would make decisions about Mario’s travel requests. Cantu and his attorneys regarded the decision as favorable. After statements were made to reporters, they recessed to Mario’s restaurant, where followers were already grouping for a victory celebration. Several long tables were joined together, and Mario ordered drinks on the house. I went, but did not join in the festivities. Instead, I sat in a booth with Sra. Piedra and her daughter. We talked of other things. After half an hour, one of Mario’s collegiate supporters, in a fresh summer suit, came over to our booth. “Mr. Reavis,” he told me, “we have just named you Unreliable Witness of the Day. Your prize is a one-way bus ticket back to Austin.” There is an old saying in Spanish: “Don’t talk to the clowns, talk to the head of the circus.” I rose and walked over towards Mario. Conversation at the long tables stopped. In a voice for all to hear, I asked Mario if he wanted to step outside to settle a grievance. I wasn’t really looking for a fight. Rather, I wanted to make a demand on Mario’s soul. I felt no remorse for my testimony, that’s for sure and I didn’t think that he could blame anything on me. Mario stood up halfway, then waved. “Ah, don’t worry about these people,” he said. “Don’t pay attention to them. You did all right.” Mario’s supporters, I am sure, thought that he was kowtowing to the press, but he and I knew better. Mario was speaking for himself, not for his movement, not for his lawyers. For the second time that day, he had spoken as I’d never seen him speak before: not as an advocate, but as an individual. Long ago, he convinced me that he is unquestionably a man of principle. That afternoon, he convinced me that he is something much more important: a man. Had Chacho Munguia been there, I am sure he would have offered a handshake to Mario. Perhaps he will yet. 10 JULY 25, 1980