Mexicans Still Feel the Aftershocks of the 1968 Political Earthquake

10/01/2018 – The New York Times

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Credit: Sébastien Thibault

“The government will plunge into a degree of disrepute that nothing and no one will ever wash away” wrote the great liberal historian Daniel Cosío Villegas after the massacre of Oct. 2, 1968, which crushed a student protest movement.

As an engineering student at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or UNAM, I participated in the demonstrations and meetings, and, 50 years after those events, I can testify to the truth of Mr. Cosío’s prediction. The events of ’68 were a political earthquake that changed the political life of Mexico for the better. And its effects extend to the present moment.

The immediate goals of the movement were modest, among them the removal of a repressive police chiefs and the abolition of a law that punished political dissidence with prison. We students didn’t want to overthrow the government or initiate a new Cuban Revolution. Nor did we envision democracy.

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