quite possible Velasquez did not intend the events in Boulder to take the turn of serious menace that they did. \(Gonzalez also names two other Texans he has been told had a hand in promoting the What follows is Gonzalez’ account of the Boulder confrontations. About a dozen young people spirited him into a room at the university. Their leader, arranging a chair and a small telephone table at one end, sat down and announced, “You, Henry Gonzalez, are on trial. We demand that tonight you do not appear on the lecture platform unless you are prepared to denounce the Gringo Establishment and the mistreatment of Chicanos.” Gonzalez thought he was kidding. “What did you say your name was?” he asked. “You don’t talk tonight,” said his judge, “unless you talk about Chicano rights.” Gonzalez, still polite, said he could not honor that request. “We’re not requesting, we’re demanding,” said the judge. As this kind of thing continued, Gonzalez flared: “One thing I never take from anybody is shit. To hell with you. Screw you. You think you’re gonna scare me!” A large youth came from his right flank, doubling a fist, and Gonzalez told him, “You get your big ass over there and don’t stand on my right, or else I might have to knock the shit out of you.” All of them rose and moved toward him. The judge proclaimed, “We find you guilty, and you are a traitor.” Gonzalez responded, “Well, you’re a little dumb shit. We have a saying in Jalisco, Como amigo soy amigo. Como Cabr6n soy to padre.” The judge, Gonzalez believes, could not speak Spanish and so did not understand this meant, “As a friend I am your friend, as a son of a bitch, I am your father,” but the girls in the group did and left. As the others followed them out, the judge told him, “All right, you better look out. Tonight we’ll be back.” At the auditorium building that night there were picketers with signs saying “Gonzalez, Go Home” \(misspelling his two of his badgerers, Gonzalez said to the biggest of them, “Piojos, h6ganse a un lado, aqui viene su peine” \(Lice, step stepped aside. Inside there were some demonstrators, an audience of about 20, and no reporters. One of Gonzalez’ “jurors” leapt on the stage, tore out the plug of the mi crophone, and threw the mike aside. As a young man reached back as if to hit Gonzalez, he said, “I see a gun the guy has a pistol.” At once Gonzalez said to himself, “Oh, shit, this is a different ballgame.” Looking at his tormentors more carefully now, he concluded that four of them had guns, and they seemed to be hopped up on something. One of the armed men, Gonzalez says, was “a scrawny little black with peroxided red-tinged hair.” To him directly Gonzalez said, “Hey, son, I’ve got you picked out. You may kill me, but I’ve got you picked out to go with me, because I’ll kill you first.” The fellow was never more than 25 feet away from him, Gonzalez says. “I meant it, and he knew it, even if they had riddled me I’da had enough strength to get to him and strangle him. I felt I could communicate to them what I felt through him because I felt that that kid would know I meant what I said. I meant it. That’s exactly the way I felt.” The professor in charge and Gonzalez dicussed whether to bring in police, but Gonzalez thought that would start the intruders shooting. The professor went outside and consulted the security officers, but returned and told his wife that the officers had agreed they should not come in “because the congressman’s life is at stake. The congressman is in mortal danger.” The lady had been faint, anyway, and Gonzalez had her fake a swoon. The professor and he then helped her out, moving very slowly. A chair was thrown and nicked Gonzalez’ ear. They were rushed, and all three were spat on. But they made it. Outside, Gonzalez walked, “sauntering,” to the Faculty House and got inside just as something shattered the window beside the door. He says $3,000 damage was done to the building by the mob outside. He was looking for “a piece of iron” to defend himself with when the police arrived. Charges were filed against a student and the chairman of La Raza Unida Party of Colorado, but not against any Texans. If any of the people Gonzalez suspects did advise the Colorado group to act against him, there would be the further question whether they intended what happened. But Gonzalez’ continuing belief that some of his critics in Texas promoted the Boulder disturbance is still important in his attitude toward the Chicano movement in this state. Backwash For instance, Velasquez was invited to speak last year to the congressional Hispanic caucus in Washington, but Gonzalez protested his being listed as a sponsor of a speech by his enemy, and the invitation was withdrawn. Gonzalez says he did not object to Velasquez speaking and that the decision he would not speak was made by the chairman of the caucus; but Bernal contends that Gonzalez was putting his personal problem with Velasquez ahead of the welfare of the Chicanos nationally. The Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, which Bernal calls “the institution that Willie created,” has voter registration campaigns going in 125 cities and an annual budget of $325,000. The Project has aggressively litigated against gerrymandering of all kinds to disfranchise Mexican-American voters; Velasquez says the Project has been currently suing, settling, or negotiating with 47 counties in disputes concerning redistricting and election fraud. Velasquez rolls off dazzling figures on the progress of Mexican-Americans in overall voter registration and in the election of mexicano officials. As Bernal sees it, “Willie is the No. 1 producer of information on voter participation and voter registration . . . The need was so great, in spite of the barriers Henry put up, the organization has flourished.” “Even the foundations tell me of Henry’s sometimes brutal descriptions of what he’s gonna do if they give me money,” Velasquez says. “No,” says Gonzalez, “I haven’t lifted a finger against his Voters’ League. I haven’t ever discussed it with anybody who has to do with his funding,” and he has no intention of doing so. Watching his boss’ conflicts with Pena during this tumultuous period was Gonzalez’ aide, Albert Bustamente. At first Bustamente was just a caseworker, but “All of a sudden,” Gonzalez says, “he would just camp out at my house,” wanting to take him everywhere. The last year Bustamente literally carried Gonzalez’ briefcase. Gail Beagle, the administrative assistant in the office, says Bustamente apparently was making lists of poor constituents Gonzalez helped and of his wealthy backers, too. The press speculated that Bustamente would run against Pena, and Gonzalez demanded to know if it was true. Bustamente, knowing Gonzalez would disapprove, would not say, so Gonzalez finally had Beagle tell him he was flat fired. This came out later, but not in time to help Pena, who had to run against a fellow who was making a big to-do about having been Gonzalez’ aide for three years. Gonzalez stayed neutral, but as Bustamente says with a smile, “I was THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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