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Hernandez / Brown Beret Presence in Odessa

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Hernandez: At that time we had another body shop. It was not our yet, we just kind of rented it out. One of my friends, he has 2 kids that he would leave with me. He was my friend. He used to work for an attorney. He was not an attorney. He was not a legal assistant or anything. He was just a guy, a shorty guy with a sombreito and a cigar. He was helping. He was always helping the guy that was not legally here. He was always helping him to improve his life, his family, take them to go see a lawyer. Like “Where you going shorty?” “I am going to take this esto vato para ya.(0.48) So he could try and get some food stamps or something. I was always seeing what he was doing. “Take care of my kids. Show them something.” You know. One of them passed a way. They did a write up in the magazine for him because he grew up to be a leader. It was crazy because the next day after the Pan American thing, I saw this Lincoln Continental drive up to the shop where I was at. The car was brown. The guy walk up to where I was at. He had brown Stacys, brown pants, and a brown shirt. He was a big old guy. He use to hold his chest up like that. He knew who he was. His license plate said something like Cardanlito. ? Cardanalito means brother. Later I found out that he played for the Cardinals. That why they called him cardanalitos. He was from Pecos. They say when this guy would hit the ball and the ball player would go all the way to the fence because those balls would soar past highway 80. He would just hit them out of the park. So that is why he probably made it all the way. I found out cardnalito went to UTEP to get an educations there. That where he met the Brown Beret. I cannot remember his name but he was a pretty important figure in the Brown Beret. I know that after I met him and we talked about him his name would always come up and he was pretty important in the Brown Berets. I guess he met him in El Paso and one thing led to another. Pero Raul showed up. Zapata: Was Raul the one from El Paso or the one that went to UTEP? Hernandez: Raul was from Pecos, but he went to UTEP in El Paso. And they he went to the Army and played with the farm leagues for the Army. I do not really know his story too well, but I know that he, Pecos, the city was smaller than Odessa. They had worse problem than we did because I remember I went to that city one time, that little town, I got thrown in jail at Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There was a sheriff there, they called him Bear, and he was bad, man. He was always terrorizing everybody, throwing everybody in jail. And they would put you in jail and shave your hair off, cut all your hair off. We had long hair like I have now. Pero Raul came over and introduced himself again and said, “tell me about the problems you are having with the police.” So we just got into conversations. Started talking about all the harassment and everything. He started telling me about the Berets, how he had just come into town and he wanted to make a difference in the neighborhoods. And by that time the barrio had moved to the east side and everyone from the east side had moved to this side of the tracks. Basically, from that side of the track over there it was almost 90% Hispanic. I was already in the building, but as a kid I would always walk by there. I was always scared to walk by there because I was scared to get beat up. Now it is my home, you know. I live there as a matter of fact now. It is my building now, I own it. That is where I started my body shop, the Barrito Body shop. My brother built a house next to it. So that is where I stay now. Right by the high school. Pero, that is how I got to the Berets, with Raul you know. Zapata: Do you remember Raul’s last name? Hernandez: Guerrero, Raul Guerrero

Interview Interview with Nick Hernandez
Subjects Education › Higher Education
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Police and Law Enforcement › Jails
Chicano Power › Brown Berets
Geography › Barrios
Police and Law Enforcement › Sheriffs
Tags Pan American Ballroom, Odessa, TX
St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis, MO
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Guerrero, Raul
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Interview date 2016-07-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Hernandez, Nick
Locations San Antonio, TX
El Paso, TX
Odessa, TX
Pecos, TX
Duration 00:05:34
Citation "Brown Beret Presence in Odessa," from Nick Hernandez oral history interview with ,  July 08, 2016, Odessa, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed February 26, 2024