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The Student Movements Of 1968 Essay

559 words - 3 pages

The massacre at the Plaza de la Tres Culturas Tlatelolco did not mark an end to the death and disappearances of citizens at the hands of the government, as the massacre was “the beginning of a long government crackdown on its’ real and suspected enemies. Hundreds of people were killed over the next 15 years.”(QUOTE) The most well publicized example, under Echeverría’s administration occurred in June 1971, when government forces gunned down protestors in Mexico City, killing 42 people and wounding at least 100. That day in June, students marched in support of workers, freedom of expression in the universities, and the release of additional political prisoners. Instead of assistance or steps towards peaceful conciliation, the students were again subjected to violent governmental opposition. SOURCE While the government denied any involvement and distanced itself from responsibility for the deaths, ...view middle of the document...

Although, with the existing corporatist Mexican political structure, instead of giving the universities more autonomy, the government aimed to integrate them into the state apparatus therefore, “by financing institutions that support the activities of intellectuals, the state has created a buffer organization, thereby allowing the intellectual to save face while still being supported by the state”(Camp 211). The aftermath of 1968 clearly haunted Echeverría and encouraged attempts to gain back the trust of the population. But the continued brutal repression of peaceful democratic demonstrations further linked the PRI gobierno to the brutality of 1968. These repressive attacks caused members of the student and regular population to become disillusioned and convinced that their peaceful attempts for incremental change would never bring the needed political reforms.
The realization, especially by the Mexican youth, that the government would not deliver the desired democratic political reforms came to dominate in Mexico’s mind. The student movements of 1968 were not successful in forcing reform in the PRI led government; however, “millions of young Mexicans had been touched in one way or another by the protests.” (QUOTE) As a result, many students and intellectuals began to support other political parties. Additionally, others teamed up with workers organizations or went back to their universities to continue their protest against government persecution. To many, these different reactions indicated that no uniform way existed by which these highly motivated students displayed their political convictions. Some students, rather that giving up, remained convinced that they had to become involved in politics in order to fight against the period of repression established in 1968. 1968 was a thorn in the government’s side, because the massacre was a catalyst that caused an entire generation to become more involved in politics and political reforms that the PRI govierno did not want to give.

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