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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 human-kind 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. SINCE 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: James Cullen Production: Peter Szymczak Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Interns: Todd Basch, Mike Daecher, Ophelia Richter, Darvyn Spagnolly. Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Kellman, Michael King, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, James McCarty Yeager. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Business Manager: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group. and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zceb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cast. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981,The Texas Observer Index. copyrighted, 0 1994, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. E-mail: [email protected] Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Fast Times: A Letter from Guatemala City Editor’s Note: Jennifer Harbury, a former law clerk for U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice in Tyler and a former Texas Rural Legal Aide lawyer, has been staging a hunger strike outside the National Palace in Guatemala City in an effort to gain release of her husband, a Mayan guerrilla commander she met while writing a book on the Guatemalan guerilla movement. While the Guatemalan army maintains that Efrain Bamaca Velcisquez killed himself after being wounded in battle two years ago, Harbury believes witnesses who reported her husband, also known as Everardo, has been held in a secret military prison since March 1992. This letter was written October 19, on the ninth day of her fast. Call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111 and/or the State Department at 202-647-7024. [See “Truth in Guatemala,” TO 9/30/94.] The last few days have been packed with interesting events. I remain healthy, though a bit weaker. It’s harder to jump up and down but I still walk back and forth to the hotel for a hot shower and phone calls. My eyes are much better now that I have the right eye-drops, though. Crowds of people are here from 9 a.m. ’til nightfall and remain extremely supportive. They say prayers over me, tell me their own stories, share their fears that the army will continue to kill no matter what papers are signed. Several women have come by weeping over family members killed recently. Flowers, change, prayer, notes and letters continue to flow in. We have 10 hour-a-day political discussions. \(So, hey, larly amused when a recent drunk told me to go home, eat, and find someone else. The crowd was about to lynch him. The press here remains pretty censored but more and more is breaking through. Three TV channels interviewed me and I gave rowdy answers. Two censored the interview heavily. One broadcast the whole thing. That night a car stopped in front of me with a large rifle the window. They didn’t shoot and clearly feel they cannot. But we are in good communications with each other, even though there have been no formal messages. Marilyn McAffee, the U.S. ambassador, came out again to ask about my health and safety. She continues to insist that all institutions like courts and police must be strengthened. But cash won’t strengthen them until the army no longer controls them. A judge in fear of his life cannot rule correctly. It’s money down a leaking sieve. That’s why the Harvard Project pulled out so long ago. If no consequences are attached to Everardo’s life, why shouldn’t the army kill him? Since when has “mentioning” things ever saved a life here? The foreign press is rolling into gear. UPI, AP and Reuters have all written, as has the [New York] Times, the [San Francisco] Chronicle, Miami Herald and Christian Science Monitor have interviewed me. Why do I always get my photo taken when I look my absolute worst? Many people have asked me why I am taking this drastic step. It’s really simple. Time is up for Everardo. He is still useful for his military information and as a negotiating chip in the peace talks. The army still has to negotiate the issue of what their role will be after the cease fire and they need him until then, but not for much longer. I calculate I have until X-mas to get him out alive. I had hoped the peace talks would help but human rights violations have risen dramatically since the Global Accord on Human Rights was signed in March 1994. Evidently the army feels that none of their funding can be cut by the international community as long as they are engaged in a peace process. Compliance is not to be bothered with. All they have to say is “give peace a chance” and their money is safe. Because their money is safe a lot of civilians here are dead. The army is getting rid of opponents. My negotiations with the army reflect all this. In January 1994 the Minister of Defense bargained openly with me. He did so again in June. In August he would not meet with me at all. He no longer thinks he needs to talk with me. OAS [Organization of American States] is wonderful \(as are all the other support American Courtthough very powerful will come too late to save his life. The [U.N.] Verification team hasn’t even started yet [to ensure that the human rights accord between the URNG guerrillas and the government is being honored]. So I am, unhappily, down to this: I will not let them keep Everardo. If the army shoots him, with the clear evidence that exists, plus the outcry from the international community, who will they kill in the future? They are testing us. I will do what I can to make them give on this case. Everardo is not something I can bear to lose. Jennifer Harbury, Guatemala City DIALOGUE 2 OCTOBER 28, 1994