A Tale of Two Women---and their work in Guatemala

Molly Ivins is a texan.
Molly Ivins is a journalist.
Molly Ivins is one tough-minded lady.
I like Molly Ivins.

In her most recent syndicated column, Molly took on the CIA and its role in the most murderous work in Guatemala...dated 22 Dec., 1996 for those of you who want to cite it. Below is a summary.

Her first point is that Guatemalans have decided to end their civil war and grant each other amnesty. Molly is unsure about this but concedes that, after years of killing, more killing can do little good.

Her second point is that the amnesty does not cover the USA, who engineered the civil war in the first place by sending the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected leader, Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.

Her third point was that the Eisenhower Adminstration, Congress and the CIA viewed Arbenz as a communist because he and those who voted for him thoughtGuatemala belonged more to the people of Guatemala than to the United Fruit Company.

Then she notes that most of the Colonels who conduct the war against Guatemalans on behalf of US capital...most of these were trained in the US at the School of the Americas; trained, she says, in murder, torture, assassination and intimidation. And, Col. Julio Alperez was not only trained by the US Army but was a paid agent for CIA. Not one to mince words, our Molly.

Molly concludes her article by saying that the CIA lied about their role in Guatemala; lied to everyone; lied to Congress, lied to the the media, lied to the American people...and punished the one person, Robert Nuccio, a Latin American Scholar at the State Department who blew the whistle on the CIA...

All praise to Molly Ivins. She is one bright light in the firmament of American media.

Molly has a sister about whom she knows nought.
Her name is Deborah Billings.
Deborah Billings is my all-time favorite student.
I met Deb on Semester-at-Sea in 1987; she turned up in my Marxist Social theory class...she turned out to be valedictorian of the Semester. Deb next turned up in San Francisco for the ASA meetings; she had decided to do a Ph.D. in Sociology at UMich...I was delighted.

Deb is one bright lady.
Deb is one tough woman.
Deb did her doctoral thesis in Guatemala working with the women and children dispossessed by the Colonels trained by our CIA.

Along with her friend, Randall Shea, Deb organized a school at Santa Maria Tzeja village...a village utterly destroyed by the surrogate soldiers of the CIA.

The village has been rebuilt by returned refugees; some of whom Deb worked with in the southern part of Mexico in a refugee camp.

Randall stayed on to teach at Santa Maria Tzeja. He has increased the school from 40 students with one grade to 73 students with two grades...the 7th and 8th grades. Next year, he plans to add one more grade, the 9th grade.

**In social science, students have seen two films; Daughter of the Puma...and...Memories of the Wind...both of which focus on the violence as well as the attempt to rebuild a more just Guatemala.

**Randall also bought 20 copies of a book, Massacres in the Jungle which detail the scorched earth policy of the Army, the CIA and the US government on behalf of the United Fruit Company.

**In Biology, Randall offered a human reproduction and family planning course for the first time to the students.

**In Phys Ed, Randall organized a girl's basketball team and a boy's basketball with donated uniforms.

**Randall, along with two Spanish and one Scottish visitors, all three brave ladies, made a video with the students based on the play, The Past is With Us. They have made a tour with the play. The students speak in the first person as though they were the murder victim of the Army...trained and supplied by the USA.

The Video might be shown on BBC in a series entitled, The Terror and the Truth...Randall and his students will participate in a new video filmed at the site of a community massacred by the Army...massacres about which Molly Ivins speaks in her syndicated column.

Two years ago, Deb wrote to bring me up-to-date and to ask if I wanted to contribute to the school at Santa Maria. I did.

Last October, Randall wrote to ask if I wanted to contribute to the school for the next academia year. I do. On Christmas Day, I will write six post-dated checks to be cashed monthly...they won't help much but they will help a bit.

If you want to send a post to Deb Billings and tell her that you support her work with refugee women and children in Guatemala, you can do so via her email address: debbieb@ipas.org

Christmas Day would be a good day to that; for those who think that one way to repair the harm done to the children of Santa Maria Tzeja is to help them grow up in a peaceful and just society.

TR Young