Yesterday marked the 45th anniversary of the Tlatelolco Massacre – a tragic event that is believed to have been the worst massacre of students in the recorded history of the world. Yet even if you consider yourself pretty well informed, you have probably never heard of it.
In the summer of 1968, Mexico was experiencing the birth of a student movement. But a few months into its short life, on October 2, 1968, 10 days before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, a crowd of unarmed students that gathered at Tlatelolco Plaza was sprayed with a hail of gunfire from police officers and military.
Mexican government sources originally downplayed the severity of the attack and reported only 4 people killed and 20 wounded, but accounts of eyewitnesses told a story of as many as 3,000 young people being trucked away and airlifted to be dumped into the ocean, including those who were wounded but still alive. Thousands more were beaten and imprisoned, many vanished without a trace.
45 years later, the final death toll remains a mystery. But recently declassified documents suggest that presidential guard snipers had been posted in the buildings surrounding Tlatelolco Plaza and instructed to fire on dispatched military units in order to provoke them to open fire on the students. Federal agents wore white gloves to distinguish themselves on the ground.
A book titled La Noche de Tlatelolco by Elena Poniatowska is a very good read for those who would like to learn more about the Tlatelolco Massacre. According to her accounts, many students and professors were arrested and held in Lecumberri – the worst prison of Mexico from 1968 till 1971. They were sentenced to 16 years but only served 3, which is 3 years too many.
Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, the president of Mexico at the time said the Tlatelolco Massacre saved the country and everyone should be thankful. Later, he assumed full responsibility for the slaughter but was not persecuted.
October 2nd also happens to be Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
Video below is a short documentary on the Tlatelolco Massacre. It’s in Mexican Spanish but with English subtitles. Survivors of the massacre were taken back to Tlatelolco plaza to relive the tragic event. I’m a fairly hardened individual but seeing the professor break down really hit me and pushed tears into my eyes. You can easily tell the difference between survivors of a real tragedy and fake sob stories from Jewish racketeers about Auschwitz. It’s unfortunate that Tlatelolco has a lol in its name: