Many other bodies were said to have been removed by the military during the night before ambulances were allowed in.
October 2, 1968 - More than 10,000 demonstrators congregated in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco region of Mexico City. Student movement but also included educators and other professionals. Ended in a massacre by the Mexican military and police forces. To this day, the exact body count is unknown. Many people are said to have gone “missing” that night.
The next day, the government claimed demonstrators initiated gunfire leaving military no option but to defend themselves. Students claimed otherwise but government refused to investigate; stuck to their story. The media portrayed the students as “rebel- rousers” and “unpatriotic” The government will use force if necessary against those that threaten the nation’s unity.
The Cold War: shift to technology The Vietnam War: images of death and destruction, the demise of the U.S image as being undefeatable War-torn Latin America and guerrilla warfare: Many celebrated the Revolution in Cuba Ideological debate: reading everyone from Lenin, Mao, and Trotsky to Sweezy and Wright Mills to Weber, Kelsen and Heller.
President Diaz Ordaz in office. 40 year one party system under the PRI; corruption. October 12, 1968 start of Olympics hosted in Mexico City. President Ordaz fears members of Communist student groups will disrupt games Economy is good but divide between rich and poor is increasing Frustration with poor working conditions and class system
July 22 – A fight breaks out between students of rival campuses July 23 – The conflict escalates to a fight among groups of students. The police is called in. July 26 – Granaderos wage an unprovoked attack on peaceful demonstrators. Use this opportunity to raid a Communist student group’s office and arrest several of its members.
Consejo Nacional de Huelga (National Strike Council)
August 9 – creation of the Consejo Nacional de Huelga (CNH; the National Strike Council) to promote social, educational, and political reforms Attempt to bring together the many different organizations already in existence and then expand to the masses
1. That all political prisoners be released. 2. Repeal of Articles 145 and 145b of the Penal Code (sanctioned imprisonment of anyone attending meetings of three or more people, deemed to threaten public order) 3. Abolition of granaderos 4. Dismissal of the chief of police and deputy 5. Indemnification of the families of the dead and injured who had been victims of the aggression since July 26 6. Clarification of the responsibility of officials for the acts of repression and vandalism committed by the police, granaderos, and army
Mass protests throughout the months of August and September. Although violence broke out in many instances, the majority of students remained nonviolent. When violence did occur, it was initiated by the granaderos. The use of brigades were one of the most successful actions. Brigades were small groups within the organization that printed flyers, made speeches, and helped rally popular support for their cause. A hunger strike was being scheduled for early October, but never implemented.
Rector of UNAM and a strong student supporter. Javier Barros Sierra
Nonviolent and silent. Students placed white tape over their mouths in protest. They then marched to the Zócalo in silence. Attempt to change the way the media and others perceived them. Peaceful demonstration showed that they were neither violent nor out of control. Also served as inspiration for other groups who had not yet become involved. Mainly, it showed that students were not powerless even without weapons. C:\Users\Silvia\Documents\Stanford\Fall 2010-2011\Hist 204F\documento_68_1.pdf
August – The CNH continue holding rallies throughout the month. Government officials refuse to hold a public meeting. Military occupies several campuses to “prevent gang violence.” Violence between granaderos and students breaks out throughout the month. September 13 – The Great Silent March leaves the students with a sense of optimism. Feel that compromise is near. September 18 – The government orders the military to occupy the UNAM campus. After this, no other significant advances toward a possible compromise. Demonstrations continue throughout the month.
Selected members of the CNH met with government representatives to discuss setting up the appropriate public meeting where they would then discuss the demands. Government officials refused. They thought that was the purpose of that morning meeting. Short meeting. CNH went forward with the meeting planned for later that evening. What happened next? See for yourself….
1998: FBI, CIA, and other classified government documents are made available to the public Evidence supports the students’ version of events. It was government snipers that initially opened fired. After the release of these documents, the Mexican government finally ordered an investigation of Tlatelolco. 2000: PAN candidate Vicente Fox is elected President of Mexico ending the PRI’s 70 year regime.
How do we measure a movement’s success? Was it a “nonviolent” movement? Movement ended the night of the massacre. At the time, the movement was not seen as having been very successful. In the long run, many historians argue that it was the initial push to the democratization of Mexico.
“Many historians recognize the massacre at Tlatelolco as a turning point in Mexican history. Even though the students were defeated, they struck a large blow against the government, leading to political changes. The way that the government responded to the demonstrations and protests showed the weakness of the political system, and it also showed the lengths to which the government would go to hold on to power. The extreme use of violence in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and the subsequent government has not been forgotten. The student movement was a large step towards democracy in Mexico.” (Berggren, pg 60)
Books: Alvarez Garin, R. 2002. La Estela de Tlatelolco: Una Reconstruccion Historica del Movimiento Estudiantil del 68. Mexico: Editorial Itaca. Anaya, H. 1998. Los Parricidas del 68: La Protesta Juvenil. Mexico: Plaza y Valdes Editores, S.A. de C.V. Ascencio, E. 1998. 1968: Mas Alla del Mito. Mexico: Ediciones del Milenio. Martinez Della Rocca, S. 2009. Voces y Ecos del 68. Mexico: Gobierno del Distrito Federal. Medrano, R.G. 1998. El 2 de Octubre de 1968: En Sus Propias Palabras. Mexico: Rayuela Editores, S.A. de C.V. Munguia, J.R. 2008. 1968: Todos Los Culpables. Mexico: Random House Mondadori, S.A. de C.V. Revista PROCESO. 1980. 1968: El Principio del Poder. Mexico: CISA—Comunicacion e Informacion, S.A. de C.V. Solana, F. & M. Comesana. 2008. Evocacion del 68. Mexico: Siglo xxi Editores, S.A. de C.V. Websites: Berggren, L. 2006. Massacre At Tlatelolco. http://castle.eiu.edu/historia/archives/2006/Berggren.pdf http://castle.eiu.edu/historia/archives/2006/Berggren.pdf Historias de la Historia. Mexico 1968: Cronologia del Movimiento Estudiantil http://redescolar.ilce.edu.mx/redescolar/act_permanentes/historia/html/mov68/68.htm (last visited November 10, 2010). http://redescolar.ilce.edu.mx/redescolar/act_permanentes/historia/html/mov68/68.htm La Jornada: Los Lideres del 68 by Rosa Elvira Vargas http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/10/02/3.html October 2, 2008. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/10/02/3.html NACLA - North American Congress of Latin America: Knowledge Beyond Borders. The Resilience of Impunity: NACLA and Mexico, 1968–2008 by Fred Rosen https://nacla.org/node/4696 May 22, 2008. https://nacla.org/node/4696 The National Security Archive. The Tlatelolco Massacre: U.S. Documents on Mexico and the Events of 1968 by Kate Doyle http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB99/ (last visited November 4, 2010).http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB99/