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My Brush with Greatness

I was with a couple of friends in a bar in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1983, and noticed a fellow sitting
alone in a corner having a beer, being stared at by a bunch of obvious Mexican plainclothes cops. 

I went over and introduced myself, told him that he looked like a dead ringer of Jerry Brown, which
he said was, because he was Jerry Brown.   The cops were interested (they obviously knew who he was) 
because they couldn't understand what he might be up to; when ex-governors visit, they come in private
jets or caravans of Suburbans, with swarms of bodyguards, secretaries/mistresses and assorted hangers on, 
and they stay in suites in the Hotel Presidente.

Gov Brown had arrived on the bus (14 hours then) alone, with one carryon bag, three shirts, and was sleeping
on a cot at a language school for Indians operated by another ex-Jesuit on the mountainside over Etla.
He wanted to know about the Guatemalan refugee camps, with 120000 or more mostly Mayan women
and children, who had fled Reagan's good buddy Gen. Rios-Mont's war of extermination, and since I
happened to know the Bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz, I offered to take him down to the camps.

Gringos, by the way weren't allowed within 50 kilometers of the camps because Reagan didn't want
anyone to know about them.  So we had an interesting adventure involving the Bishop, two Belgian nuns, 
and an old Jeep over jungle trails to avoid the military checkpoints, and some horrifying stories by the
Mayan women - all the men were dead.

I have a lot of other Jerry Brown stories. I stayed at his house in North Hollywood a few times
but this has gone on long enough so I'll leave them out.

David Piper

PS  If anyone reading this has connections with the Brown Administration, please slip a note in his inbox
that an old friend says hello.  (We lost contact after the 1985 earthquake, when I was mostly homeless
and phoneless for two years).   Maybe even mention my email, which is


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