Other Discussions on Mexico

The 1968 Riots and the Olympics

Ed Simmen, now on the faculty of the University of the Americas in Cholula, sends a memo on the 1968 student riots in Mexico City. He rightly points out that they were planned to disrupt the Olympics and to discredit the government of Diaz Ordaz. He writes: "I came to Mexico City to visit my parents who had come for the Olympics and had an apartment in the Zona Rosa. I was here for the opening ceremonies. Believe this: no one talked about the incident. The government was in complete control. No one wanted to spoil the Games. The only evidence that something may have been out of the ordinary were hundreds of armed troops in battle fatigues hidden in the barrancas about the stadium. Of course, Diaz Ordaz opened the ceremonies. The City was so festive and the ceremonies so elegant and exciting that no one suspected anything. My parents' friends, Mexicans of some worth, bought box lunches at Sanborns and brought them for us to the opening. They did not say a word about the riots. How did that happen? I really did not learn much about the massacre of students until I came to Cholula in 1973 with a one-year visiting professor appointment. Strange,no? Well, perhaps not so very strange. In those prehistoric days, everything was easy to control. I am sure that people outside of Mexico knew more than did the Mexicans here! And in these days? Consider Chiapas! I listen to the World Service on the BBC every evening and nearly every day there is news from Chiapas. The BBC still has news "From Our Own Correspondent"! The coverage is certainly better than anything we get on ABC, NBC, CBS and even CNN! No wonder the US is so isolated."

Ronald Hilton, 04/16/98