The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City were the first to be held in Latin America and the first to be hosted by a Spanish-speaking country. Mexico’s Partido Revolucionario Institucional, in power since the 1920s, saw the games as a validation of its one-party rule. Mexican students saw it as an opportunity to protest the regime of PRI boss Diaz Ordaz.
On October 2, 1968, ten days before the opening ceremonies, several thousand students gathered in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, the main square in the Tlatelolco neighborhood of Mexico City. According to British journalist Robert Trevor, who was in the crowd that day, “The majority of these protesters throughout this era were college and high school students who sought to make a better Mexico for them and their children to grow up in. These protests never turned physical for the students.”
In Trevor’s account, Mexican government troops began firing on the crowd from the surrounding rooftops, joined by helicopters. The government claimed only 25 casualties, including seven policemen, but Trevor knew that hundreds had been killed. The official figures and names of those murdered, arrested and imprisoned were never released, and the PRI regime conducted no investigation. President Diaz Ordaz and interior minister Luis Echeverria faced no charges and Echeverria became president in 1970.
On June 10, 1971, government-trained paramilitary forces attacked peaceful protesters at the Santo Tomás campus of the National Polytechnical Institute. An estimated 120 perished in what has become known as the Corpus Christi Massacre. Nobody faced charges and the PRI regime continued to cover up both attacks and smother dissent across the country.
The PRI regimes continued until 2000 when Coca-Cola magnate Vincente Fox of the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) took power, but this was little more than a change of labels. The PRI continued to dominate Mexican institutions and Fox maintained the coverup.
In 2001 Fox ordered a special prosecutor for the crimes of the past but nothing came of it, and the president blocked release of information. For their part, Mexican writers kept digging. Sierra Campuzano’s _History of Mexico: An Analytical Approach_ exposed the “hundreds of dead and wounded, thousands of arrests” but in 2003, on Fox’s watch, Mexico’s Public Education Ministry yanked _History of Mexico_ from shelves and classrooms. In 2007, architect Rosa Maria Alvarado found at least bodies of protestors buried under a hospital under the massacre site. Mexican police threatened violence if she went public with the revelation.
Mexicans continued to protest the PRI massacres, with little coverage from the American establishment media. In 2014, students at a Mexican teacher college commandeered busses to attend demonstrations commemorating the massacre of October 2, 1968. Mexican police attacked the students, killing six and dragging off 43 others. The PRI government claimed they had been taken by a drug gang and incinerated in a garbage dump.
Six months after the murder-kidnapping former president Vincente Fox appeared on Univision and said “it’s about time” the parents give up their demands on the Mexican government and “accept reality.” The next year the Mexico’s National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection, INAI, lifted Fox’s hold on information. Instead of urging an investigation, Fox became the PRI’s loudest mouthpiece against Donald Trump.
On September 13, some 23,000 high-school and college students marched in Mexico City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mexico’s 1968 massacre. American establishment media ignored their effort. On September 18, the Committee 68 appealed for the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Past Social and Political Movements (FEMOSPP), to renew the case against former PRI president Luis Echeverria, now 96, which Mexican courts had dropped in 2004. The establishment media ignored this development.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s new “socialist messiah” president, showed up last week at Tlatelolco plaza pledging to “never ever use the military to repress the Mexican people.” As far as an investigation into the 1968 slaughter, holding PRI bosses to account, and advocacy for victims’ families, AMLO had nothing to say.
Neither did puppet padres like Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, who calls U.S. border policy a “campaign of terror being forced upon families at the border.” And as they had for 50 years, American leftists looked the other way.
Fiftieth anniversaries are big news but Univision, a faithful bullhorn for the Mexican government, mounted no serious investigation of the 1968 massacre. So U.S. officials have good cause to ignore the network and its American leftist collaborators. The USA has every right to secure its border and deport those who cross illegally.
Mexicans would be better occupied staying home and building a nation that respects human rights, holds politicians accountable for mass murder, and frees the entrepreneurial energy of the Mexican people. Meanwhile, on the 50th anniversary of the massacre, Mexicans and Americans alike could learn something from Milan Kundera: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”