by Naruth Phadungchai

Contributing Writer

Repression and violations of human rights in Guatemala have increased, said Oswaldo Enriquez Contreras, a lawyer working with international human rights organizations.

Contreras spoke Tuesday about the current human rights conditions in his native country and about the ongoing peace negotiations between the military-controlled government and the leftist guerrillas. The speech was sponsored by the UH chapter of Amnesty International.

The Catholic Church in Guatemala reported that from January to June 1994, more than 160 people died and more than 30 disappeared due to political terrorism, compared with last year, when about 70 were killed.

The peace negotiations are "advancing, but very slowly," Contreras said.

If and when both sides do sign a peace agreement, the political and social structure of Guatemala will be changed, Contreras said. The agreement would deal with many issues important to both the military, which controls the government, and the people.

Issues like how to deal with the 1.5 million refugees displaced by the 34-year-old civil war, the rights of the indigenous Mayans, the role of the traditionally oppressive military in a democratic society, the repatriation of the guerrillas and constitutional reforms will be dealt with in the agreement.

In March, the Guatemalan government and the rebel Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity signed a human rights agreement mediated by the United Nations. However, the agreement has done little to reduce the number of political killings. More than 150,000 people have died in the civil war in that Latin American country.

The conflict, Contreras said, goes back to the 1944 revolution and the counter-revolution backed by the United States 10 years later. Those people, he said, "died not of war, but of political repression."

Last June, there was some hope that the situation in Guatemala would improve when a leading advocate of human rights, Ramiro de Leon Carpio, became president, Contreras said. De Leon, who was appointed attorney general for human rights by the government, replaced ousted President Jorge Serrano in an election by the Guatemalan Congress.

But it turns out "de Leon is using the same rhetoric that the Guatemalan army uses," Contreras said.

According to Contreras, the new president has done little to improve the human rights condition in his country. Moreover, when the army recently killed a student leader and injured many others during a protest over an increase in bus fare, Contreras said de Leon applauded the military's action, calling it appropriate.

"De Leon now criticizes the people of Guatemala," Contreras said, even though he was an outspoken critic of the military while attorney general.

The reason why President de Leon now supports the army, Contreras said, is because the military, not the civilian government, is the real power in Guatemala. Any president knows that at any time, the military can replace him if it doesn't get the cooperation it wants, Contreras said.

"There is a big difference between being (attorney general) and president," he added.

The current peace negotiations represent the latest hope for the long-suffering Guatemalan people, Contreras said. In a country of 10 million people – more than half of whom are Mayans – only 2 percent own 80 percent of the arable land.

The infrastructure of the country is meager; there are about 10,000 hospital beds in the entire country and only one doctor is available for every 25,000 people.

"Guatemala is a country of big contrast," Contreras said. It is this vast social and economic disparity that has fueled the civil war and the resultant political oppression.

The negotiations now under way between the government and the guerrillas are sponsored by the United Nations, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Norway.

Contreras charges that the United States is interested in the peace negotiations only for economic reasons. He said the expansion of NAFTA and the critical location of Guatemala, which connects Central America to South America, are the reasons why the United States is pushing the two factions to sign a peace agreement. Contreras fears the substance of the negotiations will be overlooked in favor of speeding up the signing.

"The army doesn't want to sign," Contreras said. "It doesn't care about the reform. The kind of peace the people of Guatemala want is a peace with content."

Such a peace is not what the military is looking for, Contreras said, because it doesn't like the constitutional reform that would be a part of the agreement, a reform that would grant more power to the civilian government.

Another group in control of the government, the landowners, would also lose in the deal. If the agreement goes through, they stand to lose much of their land in an agrarian reform plan that is yet another major point of the negotiations.

Facing such opposition, next January, Contreras is going back to Guatemala to work with an organization trying to ensure that the government does sign the agreement.

Since his exile 18 years ago for his work in human rights, Contreras has been working with various international human rights organizations, including the International Federation for Protection of Human Rights. He has also been back to Guatemala twice: once in 1989 and again in January of this year.

Contreras conceded that his type of work is dangerous. "It's difficult to ensure the people working with the commission won't be killed," he said.

One reason why he is in the United States is to make more people aware of his efforts to bring peace to Guatemala, which he says will help to assure his safety. Another is that "Guatemalans alone are not going to be able to do it," he said.







by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

A plethora of prophylactic devices was given away in front of the University Center Satellite Thursday to promote safe sex in observance of World AIDS Day.

Brothers of the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity hosted an open condom bar in front of the Satellite, handing out free literature on AIDS, AIDS testing and sexually transmitted diseases.

In addition to the educational material, there was a steady stream of brightly colored condoms being handed out, along with a mild-tasting lubricant. Breath mints were also available.

"We give them literature. We give them condoms. If one of the people use them, then we will be happy," said Delta Lambda Phi President David Phillips.

But the day did not simply end with condoms and pamphlets; it slid into several seminars penetrating the issues concerning AIDS and HIV infection.

There were also safe-sex seminars throughout the day demonstrating the proper use of different contraceptives.

"I think this is a great idea; there's not enough HIV and AIDS awareness out there," said Jenny Young, a junior industrial engineering major.

Adding to the festivities was late-night DJ John Leach from 104-FM KRBE.

"We're just here to attract the students to this area. Hopefully, if they follow the noise, they will also pick up some literature and condoms," Leach said.

Many of the day's activities were staffed with volunteers from the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Alliance (GLOBAL), who also were responsible for steering and coordinating the day's events.

The day ended with a candlelight vigil to commemorate all the people who have died from AIDS. The event was sponsored by the National Organization for Women and held at the Cullen Family Plaza (E. Cullen fountain).

Serving as a constant reminder to the thousands of lives taken by AIDS, a 12-by-12-foot panel of the National AIDS Quilt was on display throughout the day in the UC's World Affairs Lounge.

"This is a really good idea; I think they should have something like this for the lower schools, too," said senior psychology major Jon Sledge.






by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

The recent emergence of micro-breweries, producing local beers in very small quantities, is reminiscent of a style of beer-brewing started many years ago by the Spoetzl Brewery, "the little brewery in Shiner."

Shiner (population 2,213) is a little town located deep in the heart of Texas, about 50 miles east-southeast of San Antonio, between Halettsville and Gonzales on State Highway 90A. Shiner's Spoetzl Brewery, brewer of Shiner Premium and Shiner Bock beer, produced its first keg of beer in 1909.

At that time, most of the beer available on the commercial market was American beer, produced in the United States and brewed to appeal to American tastes. German and Czech farmers who settled near Shiner wanted to produce a beer that would satisfy their thirst for the taste of beer they remembered from the Old World, beer produced by a small local brewery and only available in a single town or local area.

The Shiner area is blessed with natural Artesian springs that provide crystal-clear water, one of the most important ingredients in brewing any truly great beer. The original investors located a deep Artesian well and built the brewery on that site.

The brewery began in a two-story tin building next to Boggy Creek. A cypress cistern was erected over the Artesian well to store water for the brewing process.

In the beginning, things didn't go well for the brewery. Some of the beer produced by inexperienced brewmasters went sour. The company soon found itself at the edge of bankruptcy.

Realizing they needed a brewmaster with experience brewing European beers, the stockholders engaged the services of a true "braumeister," a Bavarian named Kosmos Spoetzl, who attended brewing school in Germany and had been working for a brewery in San Antonio. In 1915, Spoetzl rented the struggling brewery from the troubled stockholders and began brewing Shiner Beer using an Old World recipe that had been in his family for years.

Spoetzl and his family controlled the brewery for the next 52 years, producing beer that became famous in taverns and dance halls all across Central and South Texas.

Using Spoetzl's recipe, the little brewery began to thrive. He introduced the beer to local residents by taking a truck into the local cotton fields and giving his beer away to sweltering farmers. Spoetzl and his little dog were frequently seen at local community gatherings, where he gave away glasses of Shiner Beer.

According to local legend, the brewery bookkeeper told Spoetzl he was giving away more beer than he was selling. He reportedly said, "These are my people. We have to do what we can to help them."

The connection between the town of Shiner and the little brewery continues to this day. Many local residents have worked for the brewery for years. Shiner High School and the local parochial school both use the melody from the "Shiner Song" for their fight songs. The lyrics, which are not used in the school fight songs, were originally written in Czech and tell the story of the town's origins.

"When we founded the brewery, the sun was shining," the song says. "We had a good time eating and drinking."

While Prohibition forced many breweries to close, the Spoetzl Brewery stayed open, producing "near-beer" (0.5 percent alcohol content) and ice. There are some reports that Kosmos Spoetzl continued to make strong beer for his close friends during the Prohibition years.

After the repeal of Prohibition, the company replaced the original wood-and-metal brewery building with the current structure, a white, brick building that looks somewhat like a fortress.

When Kosmos Spoetzl died in 1950, the brewery was passed to his daughter, making Cecelie Spoetzl the only woman ever to be sole owner of a U.S. brewery. She sold the brewery to a group of Texas investors in 1966.

Eighteen years later, in 1984, another Texas group, led by retired Foley's Chairman Lasker Meyer, purchased the brewery. During five years of operation by Meyer's group, profits were only marginal. Competition from giant competitors like Budweiser and Miller, plus a nationwide decrease in beer consumption, threatened Shiner Beer's continued existence.

In 1989, the Gambrinus Company, importers of Mexican beers Corona Extra and Modelo, bought the brewery and began to make some changes in production, distribution and marketing. At that time, the Spoetzl Brewery was the largest independent brewery in Texas.

Over the years, Shiner Beer has developed what can best be called a "cult" following. When the Gambrinus Company took over the brewery, major sales of Shiner were concentrated in a wide swath of Central Texas, from East Bernard, west of Houston, to Fredericksburg, north of San Antonio. Shiner sales are also strong in Austin, especially sales of Shiner Bock, a dark beer with a fuller body and taste than Shiner Premium.

One of the most famous Shiner drinkers was former President Lyndon Johnson, who had Shiner Beer delivered to his LBJ Ranch in Stonewall on a regular basis.

Although some of the longtime employees of the brewery resented the changes, the alterations made the brewery much more efficient and productive. Gambrinus Company CEO Carlos Alvarez spent several million dollars to refurbish the plant. The brew-house was completely redone, adding 25 new fermentation and storage tanks, a new keg-filling room and a new refrigerated storage facility, plus a new warehouse, a yeast-propagation facility and a fully equipped quality-control laboratory.

After the changes, the longtime employees (many have worked for Shiner for over 20 years) were impressed. They had previously witnessed continued drops in production and decreased sales. With every previous change of ownership, the situation had gotten worse.

By the end of 1990, the first full year of Gambrinus running Spoetzl, Shiner Bock sales were up 39 percent. During the first three-and-a-half years, the brand has doubled in sales. In 1993, Shiner sales reached the $3.5 million mark.

The new trend in "brew pubs" owes its existence in Texas to a loophole in the state laws regulating alcoholic beverages.

There is a concept in the laws regarding something called the "triple marketing system." Basically, it means the brewer sells to the wholesaler who sells to the retailer who sells to the general public. This law was originally passed to suppress competition, or to keep the breweries from bypassing the middlemen.

The brew pubs enjoy the one Texas exception to the beer triple marketing system: It's called the Shiner Exception. Under the exception, brewers with output of less than 75,000 barrels a year may market directly to retailers.

Visitors to Shiner can stop by the Spoetzl Brewery and enjoy a free sample of both Shiner Premium and Shiner Bock. The hospitality room is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Brewery tours are available weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.







Cougars face off against Clemson in second round

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

For the first time in history, the University of Houston will host a round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. For the second time in history, the Cougars will be looking to beat Clemson in the NCAA tourney.

Last season, Houston beat Clemson 3-0 on the road for the Cougars' first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. This season, Houston (24-6) will host the Tigers (28-7) in second-round action Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion, where the Cougars have not lost this season.

"(The team) know(s) what to expect," UH head coach Bill Walton said about the difference in entering the tournament this year and last.

Both schools have basically the same teams they had last year, only a bit more improved; therefore, Walton thinks the results will be the same.

"We're going to win," he said. "If we play up to our average, we should win."

What worries Walton is the fact that the Cougars have not faced Clemson this year.

To prepare for the Tigers, Walton said they have read the scouting reports and practice what the Tigers like to do, mainly the slide. After learning their rotations and set plays, the Cougars will work on their strengths, which usually mean the middle.

Senior middle-hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester leads the team in kills with 496, and the other middle player, sophomore Marie-Claude Tourillon, has 294, the second highest total on the team.

In Clemson's first-round match (the Cougars received a bye), the team defeated Stephen F. Austin 3-2 in Clemson. The Tigers were led by Robin Kibben, a senior middle-blocker.

Kibben had 31 kills in the match against SFA and has recorded 494 for the season.

"They're glad it's over," head coach Jolene Hoover said of the SFA match. "It was really a struggle."

Last season's match between Houston and Clemson marked the first time the Tigers had ever been in the NCAA mix; they were underdogs to Houston.

Being the favorite against SFA, Hoover said there was more pressure this year. She also added that the team is glad to get the chance to face Houston again. Her main focus, though, as are most coaches' this season, will be on Denoon-Chester.

"Lilly" was her sole answer when asked what scared her about facing Houston. She would not divulge what her team was going to do to try and stop the Cougars' attack.

"We don't want to give too much away."








by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

It seems nearly impossible to think of the Coup, hip-hop's angriest band, as the group with a (literally and figuratively) black sense of humor – enough so to make its dead-serious message almost subliminal or, at the very least, seemingly less belligerent. Yet it has happened, and it's a welcome change.

That's not to say the Coup, whose last release was an unexpected surprise, is out to make sloppy recordings or back off its leftist leanings. It's just that its new release follows through to remedy the possible mistakes of old.

<I>Genocide and Juice<P> is the Coup's follow-up to its 1992 debut, <I>Kill My Landlord<P>. Both were produced by the Coup's main rapper, Boots, but the difference is like going from one extreme to another – the most refreshing being stronger songwriting, better mixing and a band that has grown, as musicians and ideologues.

While still a great release, <I>Landlord<P> was about as odd as it got. At a time when just about every rapper was a black nationalist of some kind, the Coup made a point of being neo-Marxist internationalist, rapping about the L.A. revolts ("It's not a riot, it's a rebellion," opined Boots on one cut), the counterproductiveness of drugs and <I>The Communist Manifesto<P>.

Whereas everyone else summoned up the devil imagery, the Coup talked about the DuPonts, Bill Clinton and Al Gore ("the new slavemasters in the White House") and power structures that have contributed to far greater oppression than any U.S.-backed South American death squad you could name. The music utilized a choppy blend of old-school funk and jazz to wrap up the often complicated ideas – it worked, save for a few times.

When you get down to it, the pitch-black humor and clever hooks are what puts this new release over the top. <I>Genocide<P>, the title of which is a jab at Snoop Doggy Dogg's platinum g-thang theme song, "Gin and Juice," is still the Coup, composed of Boots, E-Roc and DJ Pam, with the shotgun and the all-the-way politics. However, the Coup seems willing to vent its rage in a way that does not consume it, but puts under the gun, in an almost funny way, those it hates.

For instance, listen to "Pimps (Free Stylin' at the Fortune 500 Club)," in which stuffy businessmen, in the guise of the Rockefellers and Gettys, start rapping at a dinner party, in the voices of Boots and E-Roc, about the ruthlessness of wealth and war. Quasi-classical music chimes in the background as the Coup's principals construct an argument better than any theorist and ride off into the sunset on one of <I>Genocide<P>'s better cuts.

On "Takin' These," Boots promises to "do Mr. Rockefeller like Old Yeller," and it's done with such sarcastic humor ("Got this Molotov cocktail/Oh, was that your Rolls Royce?") that one can't help but stifle a cruel snicker.

The Coup is one of those precious few hip-hop acts that can accurately call its members "street politicians." Plenty of rappers <I>want<P> to talk shit on the corner and kick politics, make a couple of observations, then claim they are thus somehow radical. The Coup is one group whose music is always reflective of its perspective, not merely as a hobby, but as a way of life. <I>Genocide<P> proves it again.

Those who are familiar with the group in its hometown, Oakland, know of its activist work and study groups, but also know its members can flow as musicians and balance out the package.

The Coup talks about the problems of the black community, and goes further than any other hip-hop act by having the guts to say why the problems are there – having as much to do with economics and class as with race.

On "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish," Boots tells the story of a guy just trying to get by with a few dollars and time to kill. Walking through the neighborhood, Boots runs into a rich cousin and finds out what power is about. "Hip 2 The Skeme" follows a similar theme. In fact, artistically and musically, the Coup picks up the pace where <I>Landlord<P> slipped by, applying thoughts to real life.

<I>Genocide<P> is also a solid record by virtue of the Coup's growing credibility. "Santa Rita Weekend" brings in Oakland friends Spice 1 and E-40 for a song about unfair jailing. A host of guest artists, in fact, lends support throughout the record, making several tracks stronger. This is further complemented by the superior production of Boots, whose mixing and track selection have improved considerably. DJ Pam's skills have also improved as the one in control of the musical-landscape direction, using old elements and new to make <I>Genocide<P> a lively release.

<I>Genocide<P> is an improved record for a band with an already good track record. The Coup knows how to flow as well as how to write a thinking rhyme, and this record will hopefully be the breakthrough.



Visit The Daily Cougar