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Americas | San Diego | Education & Student Activism | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Police State and Prisons
Tijuana March Remembers Slaughtered Students
Several hundred young Mexicanos and Mexicanas took to the streets to remind their countrymen and the world that they would not stand by while their country marched back to those dark times; when governments could massacre peaceful protesters and their families.
What compels young people, mostly students, to take to the streets of Tijuana to remember an event that happened so long ago in Mexican history? My lover, Luis Ricardo, a worker in the maquiladora industry; his brother, Francisco, a 16 year-old student, another 200 youth, marching, shouting "Ni Perdon, Ni Olvido," in quiet solemnity, marching through the heart of the central city, vowing to never forget what happened to their grand-parents, their relatives, their Patria.
October 2, 1968, the night blood drained dark from thousands of young Mexicans and innocent by-standers, including many infants and children, when troops equipped with armored cars and tanks massacred over 3,000 people in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco. Those opening shots and lethal salvos in the world oligarchy's response to the counter-culture's call for massive social and economic changes, would reverberate around the world from Mexico City; the establishment was prepared to kill its own children to remain in power.
Planned by the United States Central Intelligence Agency; military weapons, ammunition and radios provided by the Pentagon, based on lies from the White House about a possible Soviet KGB plot to bring down the Mexican government; the brutal Interior Minister, Luis Echeverria Alvarez, (who would later be rewarded by the oligarchy with the Presidency), would launch the massacre to destroy the student movement that had brought a halt to education in the capitol.
Oct. 2nd, was the culmination of six weeks of student strikes and demonstrations that saw upwards of 15,000 young people in city streets. The Plaza was filled when troops opened fire at sunset. Bodies piled high as Federales continued the killing throughout the night, with soldiers operating on a house-to-house basis in the apartment buildings adjacent to the square. Garbage trucks scooped up the bodies in early dawn.
Last Saturday, October 6th, these several hundred young Mexicanos and Mexicanas took to the streets to remind their countrymen and the world that they would not stand by while their country marched back to those dark times. They told several North Americans present that it was just 19 months later that Ohio National Guard troops murdered four students at Kent State; sadly noting that the Ohio Guard are still killing students in the streets of Sadr City and Mosul 39 years later.
How different the police response in Tijuana. If 200 young people take to city streets in San Diego, without permission, 300 police officers on foot, in big Crown Victorias, on motorcycles, on horseback and in helicopters, would circle, prod and push the demonstrators into small columns, blocked at ever intersection, denied control of the streets or movement. In TJ, the police, caught off guard, nevertheless, without the hate-lust of the SDPD, calmly went about securing traffic lanes ahead for the marchers and politely asked which intersection they would be stopping at for a rally and speeches. When a flatbed truck appeared, with huge banners and speakers, they quietly roped off Constitution and 2nd, near the Plaza Santa Celia (one of the busiest areas in the city.)
Rally organizers and other student speakers told the crowd that gathered in front of the Calimax market that they must unite to oppose the selling off of the state-owned Pemex oil conglomerate to greedy world corporate interests, as well as create a student movement that would increase the quality and availability of 21st Century educational opportunities for all, including the poor.
Others pointed out that in 2006, 84-year-old Echeverría was charged with genocide in connection with the massacre. He was placed under house arrest pending trial. In early July of that year, he was cleared of genocide charges. Like the United States, where Federal judges are part of the oligarchy and depend on million dollar salaries and benefits, a judge ruled that too much time had passed since the offense. Also, like the United States, regularly stolen elections, corporate control of the government, police protection of wealth, poverty and sickness for the poor; Mexico is headed for rough times, several speakers noted.
"No olidemos ni perdonemos a aquellos que intentan asesinar nuestro futuro y la de nuestros hijos," they chanted. Let's hope they do better than the brutal, pitiful generations that have come before them, both in Washington, D.C. and Los Pinos.
Photos by Francisco Villamoto and Luis Ricardo Villamoto
Unlike the hidden history of public schools in the US of government brutality, like Kent State; Mexican youth are taught to seek the truth.
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Commandeering the busy intersection of Constitution Ave and 2nd, young people talk to the microphone to urge a free and just Mexican society.