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The plight of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) grows more discouraging. The polls show that the large majority of students want to resume study, but the strike leaders block the proposal. They are now led by the Francisco Villa Popular Front, which has suddenly emerged as a leading trouble maker in line with the new cult of Pancho Villa. The members of the Front are about on the intellectual and cultural level of Pancho Villa. but it is not clear who is manipulating them. The beautiful campus is fenced off, and the Rector (president), Ramón de la Fuente was criticized by the strikers for entering it. They love the sound of their voices, with their empty heads serving as a sound box. A new generation of politicians is being trained.
Meanwhile, wealthy Carlos Slim took the lead at a meeting he held with students at the Jesuit-run Universidad Iberoamericana, which thanks to him has established a tie with MIT. He impressed me as a responsible leader, far different from the cautious, even frightened leaders of UNAM, who did not say boo to the strikers. Their caution may be explained by memories of the 1968 bloody clash between students and soldiers. Although the soldiers were charged with starting the shooting, the student demonstration was timed to disrupt the government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz during the Olympic Games. The whole regime was shaken, and that is the intent of those behind the UNAM strike.
Ronald Hilton - 1/26/00