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Weekly Edition 017: Saturday 23th June 2001

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by Gary Hardy

Introducing José P Ribas
Another TEX-MEX Bites the Dust in Terre Haute


JosÚ P Ribas

First of all this week, I would very much like to introduce our new acquisition, JosÚ P Ribas, who will be contributing his expert local knowledge of the nature here on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera to our publication each Saturday with his intriguing weekly column, Island Ecology.

Every subject has its professional jargon and instinct is the nose of the mind. JosÚ was born and breed here on the island in the San Antonio area of Ibiza and ever since he could stand up straight he began to go out and roam and discover his beloved island from top to bottom.

JosÚ is now chafing at a bit to explain all where he will eventually forge a more-than-useful alliance with a well-thought-out strategy to offer a definitive guide to nature and the particular environment of these two exquisite islands for the benefit of our would-be readers.

We all experience Ibiza in a unique way and its his all-embracing involvement in his cherished island's cause and patent passion that has stirred JosÚ to come forward and offer his time to write a weekly article on the living character of our wonderful island.

I utilized my first dozen or so winters living here on Ibiza by using my precious time walking the countryside, back lanes, hills and seashores with JosÚ and my cameras getting phenomenal images that may never be possible to capture on film ever again. I probably, because I had the time and patience, have the one of the best photo-stock and selection of both colour and black and white pictures that exist in the whole wide world.

I remember one morning during a wintertime when JosÚ came to my home to ask if I wanted to go fishing. I got my two fishing rods and hooks together but JosÚ just had a piece of string in his trouser pocket. We went to the local fish market and spent 300 pesetas to buy a kilo of Jarret (a local fish) to use as bait and JosÚ said at the time: "If we don't catch any fish then we can always cook and eat what's left of these."

We drove over to Cala Coral on the western coast of the island, which is a favourite fishing place where I really enjoy because of the Technicolor scenery. We both had a lovely relaxing day but I unfortunately didn't catch too many fish with either of my rods, simply because, I was far too busy setting up my cameras and tripod to take some awesome photographs of the spectacular surroundings.

JosÚ caught most of the fish by using the piece of string from his trouser pocket as a line and putting some of the Jarret as bait on a fishhook that he borrowed from me. He then began to wander along the coastline and amongst the rocks looking for places where he said the good fish would be living because of the fertile vegetation on the shallow seabed.

Beside catching the majority of the fish, JosÚ took a penknife out from his jacket pocket and proceeded to take the shells that were clinging to the rocks by the seashore and put them into the plastic bag with the Jarret that we had brought at the fish market that morning.

On our way home it was getting dark when JosÚ suddenly commanded me to stop the car while he got out and disappeared up the side of a hill. He returned shortly with an armful of wild asparagus, which we took home with the fish we had caught and the shells that JosÚ had collected from the rocks.
We got home and I went into the hen house to find some fresh eggs to make an omelette with the asparagus. We emptied the shells and made a stock out of their guests, boiled the fish and when cooked added some rice and we both thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal washed down with a bottle or two of vino payes (local made wine) for an initial total day's outlay of only 300 pesetas.



We all have our darkness within and on a much harsher note of the so-called free world, I feel that I should write to record and finish off the horror story, which I wrote about last week.

On Tuesday of this week another prisoner, a drug trafficker and murder, Juan Raul Garza, became the second man in nine days to be executed by the American federal government. Garza, 44, was given a lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, without the fanfare that accompanied the first execution of Timothy James McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber, there last week.

Juan Raul Garza, 44, a Mexican-born murderer and drug lord, was strapped to the same padded stretcher as McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber and killer of 168 people, before being given a lethal combination of injections.

Only 70 journalists requested accreditation to cover the execution in Terre Haute, Indiana, compared with 1.600 who travelled there to report on McVeigh's final minutes.

Garza, whose smuggling ring operated from Texas, was convicted of shooting an informant and ordering the deaths of two other men. Prosecutors said he was responsible for another five murders, four of them in Mexico.

As with the McVeigh case, there have been only a small number of calls from members of the public for Garza to be shown mercy but the death penalty opponents in America and abroad have used his plight to try to win support for their cause.

The US Supreme Court said it had rejected Garza's appeal for a stay of execution. His lawyers had argued that the judge had not told the jury that life without parole was a sentencing option. They also claimed that Garza was the victim of racial discrimination because 17 of the 19 men on federal death row were black or Hispanic.

The federal death penalty was reintroduced by Ronald Reagan in 1988 but it has taken until now for prisoners to be executed because of the time needed to exhaust the appeals process. Last year, Garza's execution was postponed by the Clinton administration pending the completion of a Justice Department inquiry into the fairness of the federal death penalty.

There is concern among some American diplomats that the continued use of the death penalty is harming relations with foreign countries but White House sources have said President Bush, who as Texas governor oversaw 152 of the 247 executions in the state since 1982, is convinced of the value of it.

At the weekend, Governor Rick Perry, Mr Bush's successor in Texas, vetoed a bill that would have prevented juries from sentencing mentally retarded killers to the death penalty.

Concern about the retarded being executed heightened at the weekend when Jerry Townsend, 49 but with the mental capacity of an eight-year-old, was released from jail after serving 22 years for six murders and rape which he had not committed. DNA evidence proved that he was innocent although he pleaded guilty.

Garza's last dwindling hopes of remaining alive appeared to rest on Mr Bush, to whom he had sent a request for his sentence to be commuted.

Cessation: When will the powers that be understand two wrongs will never make a right and for whatever reason it's barbaric to plot and premeditate to end another human beings life?

Gary Hardy

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