To all of our friends on the frontera list… Jose Luis Benavides sent me this great note, including Chuck’s own words about his life and work… It says things far better now than I can…Thanks to everyone who has written to me. I hope I can respond personally in time… molly
From Jose Luis:
Yesterday, I checked Chuck’s bio he sent me back when we invited you and him to CSUN for the first time. I liked it because it captures his mood at the time, so I couldn’t resist the temptation of sharing it with you:
I have spent my life trying to learn. I once taught American history at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus but my real education has come from working on newspapers and magazines and from writing books. I started out interested in nature (Killing the Hidden Waters, University of Texas Press, 1977) but got sidetracked by the endless wars of the border–wars against drugs, wars against the migration of the Mexican poor and wars against decent wages (see Juarez: the laboratory of our future, Down by the River, Murder City, El Sicario, Exodus). I have also co-produced a documentary film, “El Sicario/room 164.” I have not controlled my life or work but been controlled by events. I could not stand by in silence as the war on drugs killed tens of thousands, imprisoned millions and squandered over a trillion US dollars. Nor could I ignore the massive flight of the poor unleashed by NAFTA, especially since the Mexicans who come north to survive are often demonized by politicians and portrayed as a national security risk. I constantly try to abandon my work. Recently, I bought a backpack, threw forty pounds into it and returned to walking the hills. I’ll see if this effort at a cure works. It never has before but I am a creature of hope.