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The World From Texas The witch-hunt in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times based on the suspicion that an El Salvadoran refugee, Ana Guevara, jailed in Corpus, was actually Commander Norma Guevara, a leftist Salvadoran leader, ended when fingerprint comparisons proved beyond question they are two separate people. Ana Guevara is serving a 90-day sentence for violating immigration laws. A shopkeeper who fled her country, she was arrested June 24 on a freight train with 12 other refugees. NASA employees helped private rocket-company people figure out why their privately-funded rocket exploded on its pad Aug. 5 on Matagorda Island. Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson said “There are obvious foreign policy concerns under review. We have to be careful. . . . We’re not saying we would prevent the rocket from going up. We just want to make sure” that it’s safe. The private company is planning another attempt. that they must discover they had been “misled.” There may be truth to this last statement. Conversations with the detainees indicate that INS officials actually warn them that to ask for political asylum is only a waste of time and will cost them a great deal of money and more time in jail. Many feel that requests for asylum guarantee problems with the junta when they get back home. With deportation perceived as a certainty, most of the immigrants resign themselves to their fate. There are a great many rumors about immigrants who have disappeared upon returning to El Salvador. Some detainees ‘told us that an entire planeload was diverted to the military airport in El Salvador, Ilopango, and then “disappeared.” Some detainees offered names of individuals they said had been killed upon return. An INS official assured us, however, that “we would not let people be deported if we thought their lives would be endangered. . . . We check constantly with the State Department on such things.” With increased U.S. aid for the military of El Salvador, it is unlikely that the State Department is going to provide an unbiased view of the carnage occurring every day in El Salvador. A report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that the major author of the “White Paper” on El Salvador admitted that its reports of leftist activities were possibly “misleading” and “overemphasized.” Our interviews indicate a strong need for a “White Paper” on the carnage visited on students, peasants, and factory workers by the right-wing elements of the government and the military in El Salvador. How did the Salvadorans we talked to view the situation in their country? Be. cause of the variety of their social and economic backgrounds, there were widely varying viewpoints. In general, peasants from the least affected costal areas saw fewer problems than those from the mountainous areas where guerrilla activity has been the greatest. The least-affected individuals tended to see the leftists as foreigners or campesinos who were only trying to get glory or some free land. Students and urban reffigees were more familiar with the danger of being caught in the middle. They were most fearful of the thugs and opportunists who work with the tacit approval of the extreme right. Some also feared the left, with whom they indicated they were losing sympathy because the leftists have also taken to indiscriminate killings of mayors and former military personnel even when such individuals are highly esteemed by the people. Indeed, the greatest fear is not being able to predict who will be the next 4 AUGUST 28, 1981 one killed. Without exception, each refugee believed that deportation represented some threat of personal danger or economic disaster. Raped in Mexico There was a deep-seated bitterness among the refugees against the Mexican government and some elements of the Mexican population. Tales of abuse, beatings, rape, and extortion were commonplace. Those who cross legally into Mexico fare somewhat better than those who swim the Suchiate River, which divides Mexico and Guatemala. The tourist papers which used to be easy to obtain are now expensive and are often limited to travel only in certain portions of Mexico. Immigrants must pay a mordida to get such papers officially stamped. In addition, checkpoints have been set up at many points along the northward route and repeated demands for mordidas are a never-ending process. As the immigrants proceed northward, federal and local Mexican police wait in train stations and bus stations to single out anyone who looks or talks like a Salvadoran. Invariably something is found amiss with can be overcome only with a healthy mordida. We were told some Mexican officials have taken away all papers from the Salvadorans and then deported them. The seriousness of such actions can be seen if one realizes that being without papers in El Salvador is considered by the government to be a crime worthy of any range of punishment. From both immigrants and Border Patrol officials we learned that Mexico has at times cooperated with the U.S. Border Patrol in setting up northern inspection stations to catch immigrants suspected of intending to immigrate to the U.S. In at least one border area, off-duty Mexican police have chased Salvadorans into the. U.S. and accused them of “illegally leaving Mexico.” Robbery and extortion are the results of such actions. Those who enter Mexico without legal permission face far more serious consequences. One particular southern check station is widely known for the brutality and viciousness there. Beatings are common. Women are forced to exchange sex for freedom or are raped and sent back. Those confined in prision soon discover that Salvadorans are considered scum and treated accordingly. In El Salvador’s northern neighbor, Guatemala, Salvadorans invariably reported far better treatment. Another aspect of Salvadoran resentment against Mexicans is reserved for the coyotes or polleros who smuggle the aliens through Mexico and into the U.S. For some, this operation begins at a “travel agency” in El Salvador where one can arrange the entire trip. Others with less money wait until they get to the Mexican border towns to make arrangements to be crossed into the U.S. Smugglers are not hard to find. They too have learned to spot Salvadorans and to offer their services. Costs very greatly, but it is not uncommon to pay $200 to be passed to a spot just north of the border and more than $1,000 to reach cities such as Houston and New York. Because we interviewed only those persons apprehended, however, confidence in smugglers was low. Border Patrol officers confirmed stories that smugglers often lead their prey to fields a short distance from the river, leave them supposedly to go “get a car,” and never return. Often the pollos are told that they should leave their valuables and extra money in the possession of the smuggler, since the Border Patrol will take everything away from them if they are caught. Those who are caught with their smuggler frequently get some “benefits” denied to those ambitious souls who strike out on their own. In order to prosecute a smuggler, federal marshals confine the “witnesses” for extended periods until the case can be brought to trial. Our discussions identified one witness who had been in the Los Fresnos