On July 6, 2008, I was in Puebla Mexico having my morning coffe reading a news article about the 20th anniversary of when the PRI candidate, Carlos Salinas de Gortari and his party basically stole the 1988 presidential election in Mexico. I was so intrigued by quotes from Julia Preston detailing that election that I googled her, found her and wrote her a note. I was surprised to get a reply, but she said the article in the newspaper was quoting from a book she had written Opening México, The Making of a Democracy. So I went and got me a copy of the book.
Though I just started reading the book by Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon both journalists for the New York Time’s I just could not believe what I was reading. I was astounded to read about the 1968 Student Massacre prior to the 1968 Olympics. I was just in the 8th grade at the time so I was not following news too closely. Though I had heard of the student massacre I was fascinated to read the details.
As I read about the student protest, I was amazed to know that as a tourist I had been in a couple of places where unarmed Mexican students where fighting the Mexican military that had been unleashed by then Mexico President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz.
Then like a couple of days after I read the massacre in the book, México’s only English Spanish daily, The News, runs a review of a memorial exhibit about the 1968 Student Massacre, titled, A living memorial.
After reading about the exhibit I went with Don Maison. Maison was in town on business so off we went by Metro.
The exhibit was put together by Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco – UNAM and I found it most informative. I got chills thinking about how the Mexican government killed so many innocent unarmed students. Though official México news reports stated at the time that about a couple of dozen “snipers” had been killed, the British newspaper, The Guardian, put the estimate like 325 students were gunned down and killed. In addition, this does not even count the students that just disappeared, never to be heard from again — today this is what the Mexican government calls a “forced disappearance.”
Though the world was shocked about the massacre at Tlatelolco, the Plaza de las tres Culturas in 1968, and the Olympic Committee people meet to see about what should be done. Nothing was done, the 1968 Olympics went on without a glitch. There can be world shock about how a government treats its people but the sports competitions must continue. Remember Tibet?
By the way, WE went to see the Memorial Exhibit on August 13, 2008, which just so happened to be the 487 anniversary that Aztec Emperor, Cuauhtémoc, lost his battle to Hernán Cortés at Tlatelolco. Marking the date the Metizo was born. The reason I know this is because there at the Plaza was a group of like 5 people creating a rather large altar and having an ancestral prayer in memory of that disaster.
August 13, 1521
Heroically defended by Cuauhtémoc, Tlatelolco fell to the power of Hernán Cortés.
It was neither a triumph nor a defeat.
It was the painful birth of the mestizo nation that is the Mexico of today.
Click photo above to see slide show the people constructing the rather large altar.
As I left the Memorial Exhibit on my way to the Metro station I came across this graffiti written on one of the walls of the apartment building. I thought about who may have written this. A young person that is political active or written by one of the students that survived the 1968 Student Massacre? The graffiti reads, “Please Don’t Forget October 2nd.”
Click photo above to see a portion of a video presentation from “Memorial del 68”
Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, or CCUT
Ricardo Flores Magón 1
Col. Nonoalco Tlatelolco
Tel: 5597-4061 and 5583-0983
Metro – Subway: Take Line # 3 and get off at Tlatelolco. Ask any vendor for directions. They can tell you in which direction to walk.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 20 pesos. Students and teachers pay 10 pesos and it’s free on Sundays.