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MEXICO: The Tlatelco Massacre

From Mexico, Raúl Escalante writes: "Can you please clarify what you mean by "so-called" in your reference to the Tlatelolco Massacre. I can't imagine you using the qualifier lightly, so I am curious as to what there is to doubt. My father was involved in the rather naive demonstrations leading up to October 2nd and only missed being at Tlatelolco because of another engagement. Good friends of his were there and were incarcerated. As you surely know, it is a matter close to the hearts of most young Mexicans, even those of us who don't subscribe to demagoguery.

It is ironic (especially for the Mexican left) that much of the reliable information we have on Tlatelolco and the "Guerra Sucia" comes from US archives and was originally collected by CIA operatives (I may be mistaken, of course".

My apogetic explanation: "So-called" does not mean that it did not take place. It simply means that this is the way it is commonly known. For those who did not know Mexico City, we should explain that Tlatlolco is a district the focal point of which is the so-called (!) "Square of the Three Cultures", because if features a pre-Colombian structure, a colonial church, and a modern building (the Foreign Office). I would be grateful if Raúl would keep us informed about the progress of the investigation into the Massacre. The Massacre took place during the presidency of Guillermo Díaz Ordaz, but the "dirty war" extended over a period of time. The government claimed, rightly I believe, that the demonstration which led to the Massacre was planned to disrupt Mexico City during the Olympic Games taking place there. Going back to our analysis of steps leading up to unrest and violence, part of the trick is to time demonstrations right. This does not justify the demonstration or the Massacre.

Ronald Hilton - 1/23/02