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Parole are appointed by the Governor himself. Ndiaye also asked Gonzales why, compared to other states, Texas has had so many executions. “I pointed out to him that Texas is a big state, with a large population, and many prisoners on death row. And Texas juries have been willing to impose the death penalty.” From Austin, Ndiaye travelled to Houston, where he met with Harris County Assistant District Attorney Dan Strickland, representatives of the Mexican consulate, and members of local antideath penalty groups. In Huntsville, he spoke to prison officials as well as prisoners on death row. David Attwood, of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who accompanied Pierre Sane on his trip to Huntsville and also met with Ndiaye during his visit, described the two delegations as part of a growing international movement against the death penalty. “There’s more and more of a focus on Texas, in the international community,” Attwood said. “Momentum is building, but I think that’s only one component. The politicians are still going to be looking at the polls, and if the polls say 78 percent of the people still support it, I don’t think the international pressure will have much effect. It will probably have some effect, but in terms of really changing the situation in Texas or in the United States, it’s going to take more than just international attention to change it.” According to an aide who accompanied him on his U.S. trip, Ndiaye will compile his report over the next couple of months, to be issued in the spring by the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Ndiaye told the Observer that while the overall international atmosphere for human rights remains precarious, particularly in regions enduring armed conflict, he is encouraged by the growing international trend away from the death penalty. He said that in the U.S., however, the increasing emphasis on majoritarianism and “victims’ rights” has moved the state in the opposite direction, towards expansion of the application and uses of the death penalty. “One has to remember,” said Ndiaye, “that at [society’s beginnings], victims were the judges, themselves. If you killed someone, the family would retaliate…. We have now a judicial system; I don’t see that we should go back to the past. What will you do, if the victims say, ‘Okay, we don’t want his death, we just want him burned.’? What will you do? There are also international standards about the rights of victimsto compensation, rehabilitation, respect, compassionbut they never have the right to retaliation. There is no international standard saying, the victim has a right to retaliation. It is the role of the state, to do justice.” To contact the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: in ecorne y spectacles. Back flying helicopters and the crac walkie talkies, special squads with names like “Jaguars” and “Foxes” break down doors in neighborhoods, with high crime rates and haul off the occupants, guns to their headswhile news photographers shoot away. After one week of daily raids, in which 700 citizens were hauled in, only twelve were booked for a criminal violation. When Mexico City human rights ombudsman Luis de la Barreda called the round-ups “ineffectual and unconstitutional,” he was accused of defending criminalsand General Salgado made it clear that the raids would continue. Perhaps the most savage example of recent police abuse was recorded September ders of the youths and other recent cases of police-criminal complicity have been repeatedly threatened and attacked. In five incidents in September, the modus operandi has been identical: assailants who appear to be police officers or ex-officers accost reporters by name, beat them into submission, and warn them to lay off police scandal stories. During their Mexico City stay, Amnesty representatives also met with reporters concerned about these abuses. Unruffled by Zedillo’s rebuff, Sane told a packed press conference that it was the Mexican president who lost credibility by refusing to meet with Amnesty Interna nd tit, European influence over exico’s human rights policies is minimal. Mexico does less than 10 percent of its export trade with Europe, numbers that Zedillo would like to double by signing a free trade pact. On the other side of the money and the border, the U.S. now accounts for nearly 90 percent of the volume of Mexico’s commercial transactions and Tidball-Binz argues that it is Washington that continues to wield real influence over the Zedillo government. “The Clinton administration has done very little” he said, to change Mexico’s appalling human rights record. John Ross’ new book, The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the IMF, was just published by Common Courage Press. NOVEMBER 7, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11