But this picture on my screen was taken in Oaxaca in June of And the rage of the Mexican pueblo, to this day, is quite literally burning in the streets of Nochixtlan. In the photo, the five teachers not only hold their line against the granaderos, but they taunt them. One granadero hoists his shield into the air as if to deflect a thrown rock, breaking rank with those to his side. Their schtick is up. But, of course, the shock is still there.
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Following a summer of increasingly large demonstrations in Mexico City protesting the Mexico City Olympics , armed forces of Mexico opened fire October 2, on unarmed civilians, killing an undetermined number, in the hundreds. The events are considered part of the Mexican Dirty War , when the government used its forces to suppress political opposition.
The massacre occurred 10 days before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The head of the Federal Directorate of Security reported that 1, people were arrested.
According to US national security archives, Kate Doyle, a Senior Analyst of US policy in Latin America, documented the deaths of 44 people;  however, estimates of the actual death toll range from to , with eyewitnesses reporting hundreds dead. His administration suppressed independent labor unions, farmers, and was heavy-handed in trying to direct the economy. Arising from reaction to the government's violent repression of a July fight between rival porros gangs , the student movement in Mexico City quickly grew to include large segments of the university students who were dissatisfied with the regime of the PRI , most especially at the Autonomous National University of Mexico UNAM , and the National Polytechnic Institute IPN as well as other universities.
After a fight by rival student groups in central Mexico City was broken up violently by a large contingent of police, university students formed a National Strike Council to organize protests and present demands to the government. Large-scale protests grew in size over the summer as the opening of the Olympic Games in mid October grew nearer.
On October 2, , a large peaceful march arrived at the Plaza of the Three Cultures for the usual speeches. On October 2, , around 10, university and high school students gathered in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas to protest the government's actions and listen peacefully to speeches.
The students had congregated outside the Chihuahua Building, a three-moduled thirteen-story apartment complex in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Rally organizers did not try to call off the protest when they noticed an increased military presence in the area.
Two helicopters, one from the police, and another one from the army, flew over the plaza. Around P. Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations tower. Records and information released by American and Mexican government sources since have enabled researchers to study the events and draw new conclusions. The question of who fired first remained unresolved years after the massacre. The Mexican government said gunfire from the surrounding apartments prompted the army's attack.
But the students said that the helicopters appeared to signal the army to fire into the crowd. Journalist Elena Poniatowska culled interviews from those present and described events in her book Massacre in Mexico : "Flares suddenly appeared in the sky overhead and everyone automatically looked up. The first shots were heard then. The crowd panicked…[and] started running in all directions. Shortly thereafter, the Olympia Battalion, a secret government branch made for the security of the Olympic Games composed of soldiers, police officers, and federal security agents,  were ordered to arrest the leaders of the CNH and advanced into the plaza.
The Olympia Battalion members wore white gloves or white handkerchiefs tied to their left hands to distinguish themselves from the civilians and prevent the soldiers from shooting them. The ensuing assault into the plaza left dozens dead and many more wounded in its aftermath. The soldiers responded by firing into the nearby buildings and into the crowd, hitting not only the protesters, but also watchers and bystanders.
Demonstrators and passersby alike, including students, journalists one of which was Italian reporter Oriana Fallaci , and children, were hit by bullets, and mounds of bodies soon lay on the ground. Meanwhile, on the Chihuahua building, where the speakers stood, Olympia Battalion members pushed people and ordered them to lie on the ground near the elevator walls.
People claim these men were the people who shot first at the soldiers and the crowd. Video evidence shows 10 white-gloved men leaving the church and bumping into soldiers, who point their weapons at them.
One of the men shows what appears to be an ID, and they are let go. The killing continued throughout the night, with soldiers and policemen operating on a house-to-house basis in the apartment buildings adjacent to the square. The Chihuahua Building as well as the rest of the neighborhood had its electricity and phones cut off.
Witnesses to the event claim that the bodies were first removed in ambulances and later military officials came and piled up bodies, not knowing if they were dead or alive, into the military trucks, while some say that the bodies were piled up on garbage trucks and sent to unknown destinations. The soldiers rounded up the students onto the Chihuahua Building's elevator walls, stripped them, and beat them.
Other witnesses claim that in the later days, Olympia Battalion members would disguise themselves as utilities employees and inspect the houses in search of students. The official government explanation of the incident was that armed provocateurs among the demonstrators, stationed in buildings overlooking the crowd, had begun the firefight.
Suddenly finding themselves sniper targets, the security forces had simply returned the shooting in self-defense. By the next morning, newspapers reported that 20 to 28 people had been killed, hundreds wounded, and hundreds more arrested. Most of the Mexican media reported that the students provoked the army's murderous response with sniper fire from the apartment buildings surrounding the plaza.
In , President Ernesto Zedillo, on the 30th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre, authorized a congressional investigation into the events of October 2. However, the PRI government continued its recalcitrance and did not release official government documents pertaining to the incident. In fact, former President Miguel de la Madrid was interviewed yesterday in the press, and said that he had asked the military and the interior secretary for documents and for photographs of the demonstrations, and was subjected to tremendous political pressure not to investigate.
And when he continued to press, the military and the interior ministry claimed that their files were in disarray and they had nothing.
Enduring questions remained after "La Noche Triste" the Sad Night that have taken the Mexican government over 30 years to answer. Eventually in , President Vicente Fox , the president who ended the year reign of the PRI, attempted to resolve the question of who had orchestrated the massacre. President Fox ordered the release of previously classified documents concerning the massacre. Thousands of students gathered in the square and, as you say, the government version is that the students opened fire.
President Fox also appointed Ignacio Carrillo Prieto in to prosecute those responsible for ordering the massacre. However, in March , after a convoluted appeal process, the genocide charges against Echeverria were dismissed. The Mexican newspaper The News reported that "a tribunal of three circuit court judges ruled that there was not enough proof to link Echeverria to the violent suppression of hundreds of protesting students on Oct.
In , in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the events, a stele was dedicated with the names of a few of the students and persons who lost their lives during the event. The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation has a mural commemorating the massacre. He was placed under house arrest pending trial.
On October 2, , two marches were held in Mexico City to commemorate the event. Protesters drawing chalk outlines of human bodies and doves with fake blood on Eje Central. In , Mexican rock band Pop Music Team , launched the single Tlatelolco but was heavily censored by the government after a few days of airplay.
Rojo Amanecer , directed by Jorge Fons , is a Spanish-language film about the event. It focuses on the day of a middle-class family living in one of the apartment buildings surrounding the Plaza de Tlatelolco and is based on testimonials from witnesses and victims. Alejandro Jodorowsky dramatized the massacre in The Holy Mountain , with birds, fruits, vegetables, liquids and other things falling and being ripped out of the wounds of the dying students.
A feature film, Tlatelolco, verano del '68 ,  was released in Mexico, November , written and directed by Carlos Bolado.
Auxilio was caught in the university bathroom at the time of the police ambush. She tells her story also in his later novel The Savage Detectives. Los Parecidos , a movie from , also takes place at the date, references Tlatelolco heavily and portrays the conflict between student and government.
Jarhdin , a song by Mexican artist Maya Ghazal , features a two-minute audio sample recorded during the shooting at The Plaza de las Tres Culturas. The massacre has been referenced in the arts and pop culture in various ways. For example, in literary works such as "La Noche de Tlatelolco" by Elena Poniatowska which collected interviews, chants, slogans, and banners from student movement survivors. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Mexico See also: Protests of The year in Mexico City was a time of expansiveness and the breaking down of barriers: a time for forging alliances among students, workers, and the marginal urban poor and challenging the political regime.
It was a time of great hope, seemingly on the verge of transformation. Students were out in the streets, in the plazas, on the buses, forming brigades, "going to the people. There was no central leader. Families were drawn in, whole apartment buildings and neighborhoods.
A revolution was happening - not Che 's revolution - but a revolution from within the system, nonviolent, driven by euphoria, conviction, and the excitement of experimentation on the ground. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
National Public Radio. Retrieved July 27, Washington Post. February 14, The Miami Herald. October 3, The Washington Post. October 2, BBC News. September 23, Massacre in Mexico , trans. Helen R. Lane Columbia: University of Missouri Press, December 1, Includes photos, video, and declassified documents.
La Jornada in Spanish. Mexico City. Archived from the original on October 5, Retrieved October 6,
Elena Poniatowska and the Massacre of 1968
Elena Poniatowska was born in France, in Her mother was the daughter of wealthy Mexican aristocrats and her father, a French count of Polish origin. In , Poniatowska and her family moved to Mexico to escape war-time deprivations. She began her writing career as a journalist.
Reading Elena Poniatowska’s LA NOCHE DE TLATELOLCO Amid The Oaxaca Teacher Protests
Following a summer of increasingly large demonstrations in Mexico City protesting the Mexico City Olympics , armed forces of Mexico opened fire October 2, on unarmed civilians, killing an undetermined number, in the hundreds. The events are considered part of the Mexican Dirty War , when the government used its forces to suppress political opposition. The massacre occurred 10 days before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The head of the Federal Directorate of Security reported that 1, people were arrested.