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it,: I III 1111 I I It 1111 11111/11 1.11 it i TETXDB SERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1984 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 76, No. 9 74=0 May 4, 1984 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForuM-Advocate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CAREY McWILLIAMS FELLOW: Nina Butts CALENDAR: Chula Sims WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Al Watkins LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Alicia Daniel EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton. Austin.; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana. Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford. Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi, Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon, Greg Moses, Rick Piltz, Susan Raleigh, Paul Sweeney, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Kevin Krenek, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Business Manager Frances Barton Assistant Alicia Daniel Advertising, Special Projects Cliff Olofson Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 si..*:A…wwwr.4Alte ,os The Texas Observer published biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues in January and July \(25 Co., 600 West 7th Street. Austin, Texas Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. $20: two years, $38: three years, S56. One year rate for full-time students. $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor. Michigan 48106. Copyright 1984 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. PAGE TWO The Return of Simpson-Mazzoli Austin WHERE THERE IS A BORDER delineated, etched, in this case, by the meandering bed of the Rio Grande there is also flux. Follow the curves of the river through Ciudad Juarez or Laredo or Reynosa or Brownsville. Large economic and social forces grate on each other there, sliding over and under each other like huge geological plates constantly in motion, where the First World meets the Third. But the borders of their meeting are not determined entirely by geography. This is where the Mexican peso devaluation meets the North American recession. The absence of a sanitation system in vast parts of Nuevo Laredo is mirrored by the absence of a sanitation system in colonias around Pharr. Radiation released in a junkyard in Ciudad Juarez contaminates a school in El Paso, while the Environmental Protection Agency tests the burning of PCBs in the Gulf of Mexico not far from the mouth of the Rio Grande. The labor of the Rio Grande Valley, as well as that of the Valley of the Rio that the railroads of North America arrived at the river to meet the railroads from the south. As our cover story by Louis Dubose indicates, there is great unrest across the river, fueled by the inequities of a stagnated agrarian reform movement. Observer contributor Scott Lind was tortured’ during interrogation by Mexican authorities while he was covering a hunger strike by Zenith workers in Reynosa. Lind’s work for the Valley Monitor covering the Zenith strike and the agrarian unrest around Reynosa led to his detention. And there is unrest on this side of the river: voter registration drives and organizing against inadequate public services and unemployment. There is the creation of a political constituency less vulnerable to exploitation. All the while, the great sociological plates of inadequate health care, unemployment, environmental peril, and unfair labor practices shift back and forth across the river. On April 25, 205 members of the Mexican labor force were transported by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Virginia Agricultural Growers Association, as part of the U.S. guestworker \(H-program, to work in the tobacco fields of Virginia while unemployment among Valley farmworkers runs between 33 and 50 percent. At the same time, the Valley has become the battleground in which the fight between the churches and U.S. immigration authorities will be waged concerning the right to safe haven for Central American refugees. The arrest of Jack Elder of Casa Oscar Romero in San Benito \(TO, of Catholic lay worker Stacey Merkt on charges of transporting refugees have brought out leaders of many denominations in public opposition to the current policies of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Yet once again there is a concerted effort in the United States Congress and among members of the Reagan 2 irpositoroWASIMMOINNW 4 111 A1 MAY 4, 1984 ‘ rift 11, Vie -0101111M000011r Ad” ” 1 ‘ ise