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MEXICO: The Tlatelco Massacre

Elias Castillo reports: "I was a newswriter for The Associated Press in Seattle during the massacre, and a year and a half after the shooting, my wife, also an AP staffer, and I vacationed in Mexico City. We talked extensively to the AP staffers who were at the scene. One of them, slightly wounded by a bullet in his heel, took cover under a truck and went undetected and watched as military trucks sped into the square after the massacre had occurred and soldiers began tossing both wounded and those who appeared dead into the covered trucks like so much cordwood. He saw no ambulances and absolutely no attempt to aid the wounded. Later, the AP heard from sources who were not reliable (in this case they needed to be absolutely reliable), that both wounded and dead were taken to Campo Militar Uno, and burned--both wounded and dead together.

Both the Mexico AP staff member and another AP writer, who was also there, agreed that the number of dead and wounded surpassed 300, which is what the AP reported at the time, attributing it to their own reporters. The report also carried an obvious bogus number from the government that 50 were killed. Because of bigoted editors in the United States, who considered the massacre just another violent incident in banana land, the massacre at the time never received the coverage it should have. While the AP sent out reams of stories on the incident, including BULLETIN and URGENT matter, those editors tossed them into the waste basket.

In Mexico City, the AP writers were astounded that the story was not given the wide and important coverage it should have received in the United States. In Europe, the story was picked up, and French students marched in protest against the brutal methods of Ordaz' government. Now, through the Mexico City magazine Proceso, photographs have been released, buttressing the story that the Mexican Army was goaded into shooting the students by agentes provocateurs--members of the Mexican Army's Presidential Guard who were dressed in civilian clothes and wearing a white glove on their left hands for identification.

The AP writers who saw the massacre relate that just before the soldiers opened fire with machine guns and rifles, a green flare was shot into the sky, it apparently was the signal for the civilian garbed Presidential Guard to open fire, not at the students but members of the Mexican Army. Also recently released are the official papers of a Mexican general who was one of the commanders that indicate that the Presidential Guard killed at least three Mexican soldiers as part of an effort to make it appear that students had opened fire against the Army".

Ronald Hilton - 1/24/02