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Many credit a 1978 hunger strike of 80 mothers, in front of Mexico City’s National Cathedral, as an important factor in then President Jose Lopez Portillo’s decision to comply with the Amnesty Law of 1978 and release some 1500 political prisoners and permit the return of more than 50 political exiles. According to Ibarra de Piedra, with the release, more than 70 desaparecidos “reappeared.” The National Cathedral is located on the Zocalo, Mexico City’s huge stark central plaza: a place frequented by international tourists in a nation that is dangerously dependent on tourism. The cathedral is also next to the Palacio Nacional, the seat of government. According to Ibarra de Piedra, during the strike, soldiers from the national palace detachment often walked by and furtively told of their support for the strikers’ cause. In 1981, Ibarra de Piedra was one of six minority party candidates for the nation’s presidency. “iDonde estan?,” she demanded in most of the nation’s public plazas, speaking in a thin voice that somehow suggested Edith Piaf. She crisscrossed the republic in a station wagon, stopping at prisons to deliver her speech to inmates. Her efforts won her 1.7 percent of the presidential vote and a small place in Mexico’s history as the first woman to ever run for the presidency. But her party won only 1.3 percent of the congressional vote, suspiciously only .2 percent shy of the figure that would have guaranteed her a seat in the Federal Chamber of Deputies. By early spring, she will have decided if she will file as a minority party candidate for the chamber in June’s congressional elections. Should she win, the floor of the national chamber will become “my forum to denounce repression in this country.” In all of this, there is something sadly quixotic, or perhaps donqui jotesco. Rosario Ibarra de Piedra believes that her son Jesds is alive. Dr. Jesds Piedra Rosales still practices medicine in Monterrey. The family sometimes gets together in Monterrey or Mexico City. And the mothers, fathers, brothers, and wives of the 462 names on the list that Rosario holds in her hand as she speaks, well, what do they think? Quijote, Nabokov reminds those of us who missed the point, is not farce, but the most profound of tragedies. A tense for the desaparecidos? All, somehow, seem imperfect. POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Short Memory v When asked during his March 21 press conference why he had decided against visiting a Nazi concentration camp while in Germany this coming May, President Reagan responded: ” . . . I felt that, since the German people have very few alive that remember even the war, and certainly none of them who were adults and participating in any way, and the, they do, they have a feeling and a guilt feeling that’s been imposed upon them. And I just think it’s unnecessary.” v The Reagan administration has prepared new regulations that can be expected to make it more difficult for Central American refugees to gain asylum in the United States. The rule changes are designed to take the asylum issue out of the legislative arena, and could throw a few more road blocks in front of the sanctuary movement. Here are the proposed changes: In an effort to “streamline” the process, the immigration service will no longer need a formal advisory opinion from the State Dept. on every asylum application but must merely give the department “notice” of application. Asylum may be denied if an alien forsook a “safe haven” on the way to the U.S. Under the current rules, asylum can only be denied if a refugee has been offered “permanent resettlement” in another country that has signed the 1967 UN Protocol on the status of refugees. The new rules would omit the word “permanent” so asylum could be denied if a refugee temporarily ceased his or her flight to the U.S. and found “protection” in another country. The proposed rules stiffen the standard of proof for gaining asylum. A refugee would have to prove “a clear probability of persecution” to obtain protection. This would entail more than showing that violence in the homeland posed a potential danger: the immigrant would have to prove he or she was likely to be singled out. There will be 60 days for public comment before the new rules are enforced by the Justice Dept. ci Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, whose last big Texas splash was in Dallas among festive Republican convention delegates many with “Jeane is Keen” signs will deliver an address in Houston May 11. Kirkpatrick is the big-ticket speaker for 1985 Texas Lyceum conference on “economic globalization” and “the challenge for Texas.” Back on the Street V The Reagan administration has a few ideas for the problem of minority youth unemployment. One, remove the tax credit for hiring the economically disadvantaged. Two, lower the minimum wage for youth in the summer. The Treasury Dept. is asking Congress not to renew a tax credit for hiring the poor. The credit, enacted in 1978, provides for a reduction of up to $3000 per year per employee from a targeted group, including a special $2250 reduc tion for youths hired for summer jobs. On the other front, the Labor Dept. is seeking to lower the minimum wage for summer jobs. The Labor Dept.’s plan calls for a three-year test program during which time the minimum wage would be decreased to $2.50 an hour from $3.35 an hour, from May 1 to Sept. 30, for workers aged 16 to 19. This plan doesn’t thrill civil rights groups, including the National Urban League, or organized labor, which fears that subminimum wage youths would replace higher paid adults. The Meese Story V Brace now for Edwin Meese, United States Attorney General. As seen on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, March 15: “Meese vowed to fight for broader death penalty use, and wider police power. . . . Meese also said he would explore new ways to ease anti-trust constraints on corporations and seek to protect white workers from racial hiring quotas.” The Journal’s Andy Pasztor elaborated: Meese said he will advocate federal and state laws authorizing increased use of the death penalty; push for court rulings and legislation giving police much more authority to use incriminating evidence gathered during questionable searches, and he will ask the Defense Dept. for more manpower and “other resources” to combat drug THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13