Page 6


nies doing business with South Africa. The school’s board of trustees approved the sale with “appropriate exceptions,” and set a deadline of October 1987. Houston continues to lead the way toward new dimensions in gay-baiting politics. Eight incumbent city council members who supported measures aimed at protecting homosexuals from discrimination in city employment have been targeted by the Campaign for Houston-Straight Slate. The Campaign for Houston group was instrumental in defeating the measures in a Jan. 19 referendum for gay rights, which voters rejected by a 4 71 margin. The group has put up challengers to oppose council members solely on the issue of hornosexual rights. . White Oil Mess Railroad Commission candidate John Thomas Henderson says the current commissioners are responsible for the “white oil mess.” Henderson, I the Republican who refuses contributions and pays for his campaigns out of his own pocket came within a hair’s breadth of defeating incumbent Commissioner Mack Wallace in the 1984 election while spending only a fraction of the money spent by Wallace and receiving little support from the Republican party hierarchy. Regarding the white oil controversy, Henderson says: “Political officeholders cannot accept political contributions from the people they regulate and still retain their independence or make unbiased judgments.” It is Henderson’s contention that the commissioners let the white oil problem “slide” rather than alienating Panhandle voters or contributors /they regulate. “No matter what the outcome,” says Henderson, “a lot of people are, going to be hurt economically. I think the Railroad Commission erred eight years ago when the matter first surfaced and they didn’t nip it in the bud and again four years ago when they didn’t act on Phillip’s Petroleum’s lawsuit. Now, they are compounding their errors by condoning their Oil & Gas Division general counsel’s statements to the effect that Judge Clark’s ruling will not stop the Railroad Commission’s enforcement of its opinion on white oil matters. Evidently the Railroad Commission believes that it is above the courts and the law.” Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire’s .amendment to the Labor Department’s fiscal 1986 appropriations bill bars use of the funds to build new departmental toilets and hand-washing facilities until the department promulgates a fieldsanitation rule for farmworkers, reported the Wall Street Journal this month. 1/1 Attorney General. Edwin Meese says the landmark 1966 Supreme Court decision that gave suspects the right to speak with an attorney before police questioning only benefited the guilty. In an interview published in U.S. News and World Report, Meese said: “The Miranda decision was wrong. Its practical effect is to prevent the police from talking to the person who knows the most about the crime, namely the perpetrator.” Meese went on to say, “Miranda only helps guilty defendants. Most innocent people are glad to talk to police.” The following article was received from a . writer whose identification would jeopardize his safety in Guatemala. -Ed. Guatemala 6 6 HERE WERE twenty three of us all together back then,” explains the seventeen-year-old Guatemalan woman in a steady voice. “We would all go running together in the mornings at 5 a..rri. My cousins would sing for us, and we all had silly names for each other. It was my uncle that was the real leader of the family. After the earthquake in 1976, he would take clothes and food to the countryside. In our neighborhood, if people were sick or needy, they would come to him and he would always help. My favorite person was my six-year-old cousin Delores. She had long dark curls and tilted eyes, and I would play with her almost every day.” “In 1980,” she continued, “my uncle was kidnapped and tortured to death. We found him with burn marks all over his body and a crushed skull. His teeth, the bones in his arms. . . . I can’t tell you about it. I was put in jail when I was thirteen years old. While I was there, someone came to tell me that heavily armed men had come and machinegunned my Aunt’s house, and that she and Delores were gone.” The young woman’s voice remained firm and quiet as she explained that, of the original twenty-three people, some thirteen are either dead or have disappeared. Since 1980, her father and all of her brothers have disappeared, lost in the wave of human rights violatigns that have plagued her homeland for the last five years. Despite the odds, she has no intention of forgetting them or of giving up hope. She is a member of the Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, or Mutual Support Group, an organization founded last year by citizens determined to find their disappeared relatives. The group’s first year has proved to be both difficult and tragic for its many members. Although they have worked tirelessly at taking personal testimony, speaking with witnesses, petitioning the government, and organizing quiet marches and Church masses, not one member has yet succeeded in locating a loved one. “If I only knew for certain that my son is dead, I could heal,” said one woman. “Not to know is so terrible.” Although hopes rose last fall when the government formed a tri-partite commission to look into the disappearances, some thousands of which have been reported since 1980, the commission’s response in June 1985 was both vague and disappointing. None of the victims were presented or accounted for. Worse yet, in the eyes of many members, it was insinuated that such persons had either secretly joined the leftist forces in the mountains or, perhaps, had simply abandoned their families and moved north. As one woman noted angrily, “My son had recently returned from a training session in the United States, and he still had a valid visa. Also he had his family here. Why would he simply abandon us and go to the mountains or to the north and never even write to us?” THE EFFORTS of the group, moreover, have placed many of its members in outright peril. In April 1985, two prominent members were brutally murdered. Hector Gomez, a 31-year-old carpenter and father of three, was seeking his missing brother. He was abducted, tortured, and killed Searching for the Disappeared in Guatemala 14 OCTOBER 25, 1985