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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Corporate Control Over Natural Resources: The Crystal City Natural-Gas Shut Off.
Program #

Social Issues
Bill Anderson
Alejandro Neri, David Mendoza, Sherril Smith
Nov 30, 1978

Corporate control over natural resources: the Crystal City natural-gas shut off.

In this special report, Bill Anderson explores reactions in Crystal City to the Coastal States’ Gas cut-off. Anderson describes this small town whose population is 90% Mexican American as the birthplace of La Raza Unida Party. The party took control of the city government in the late 1960s in a political shift that Anderson says has torn the city apart. The company shut the city’s gas supply after local leaders refused to comply with increased rates. Consequently, the health of local residents, many of whom are underemployed, is declining as a rash of upper respiratory problems and other illnesses spread. Anderson interviews Father Sherril Smith, the local priest, for his perspective on the recent changes in Crystal City. Father Smith, who has a long history of involvement in progressive causes, defends some of the city’s plans, explains that Raza Unida has moved to address the problems facing the Chicano community, and explains his radical interpretation of the gospel.

Anderson then interviews David Mendoza, a migrant worker, and his family. They discuss some of the difficulties of living in Crystal and migrant work, including the lack of access to loans. Mendoza, sometimes with his son as a translator, talks about their home and its need for renovations, the education of his children, and the history of his family. Anderson then talks with Zavala county Economic Border Commissioner, Alejandro Neri about why the gas was shut off in Crystal City and what officials are doing to help local residents.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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