18 January 2010
Genocide in Mexico
This paper explores incidents of genocide that occurred in Mexico from 1945 to 2001. Research focuses on four main episodes of genocide: the October 2, 1968 massacre in Tlatelolco; the Corpus Christi massacre on June 10, 1971; and Mexico’s Dirty War that occurred from the early 1970’s through the 1980’s; and the genocide of women that has been occurring since the Dirty War. Research indicates that the first three episodes of genocide were the responsibility of corrupt government leaders and the army and police that carried out the genocide under government orders (Krauze 725-752). Luis Echeverria, a leading figure in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) during the 1960’s and Mexico’s president from 1970 to 1976, was charged with genocide related to these events in 2004. However, the charges were dropped due to a judge ruling that the events took place too long ago (BBC 1). The fourth episode of genocide against women is due to the drug cartels and the corrupt government officials that are involved in crime in Mexico (Ramirez 1-2). From 1945 to 1964, Mexico was booming and prosperous because the Second World War had just ended and modernization and industrialization were priorities for the three Mexican presidents during those years. The presidents in office from 1946 until 1964 were Miguel Aleman, Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and Adolfo Lopez Mateos. During this time, Mexico had good relations with the United States. Many new millionaires emerged as a result of the industrialization. However, society was split into two different classes—the very poor, and the very rich people with the mansions and yachts. Corruption had seeped into the government administration, especially under Aleman. The industrialization and government priorities resulted in low wages for the working class, inferior schools, unskilled labor and little hope for improvement for the very poor. In addition, a population boom occurred and it hurt the country and the economy (Meyer and Sherman 639-644). The PRI used corruption and bribery to maintain control of people. Corruption ranged from illegal land holdings to charging the public for free public services, theft of public money, and selling jobs (Merrill and Miro 249). Under President Mateos, many social welfare programs such as public housing, old age pensions, and public health services were started. However, there was still no real solution for the problems brought about by overpopulation (Krauze 651-658).
In 1964, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz was chosen as president. His Interior Minister was Luis Echeverria. They were was a rigid leaders who demanded order and control, and a growing Student Movement rebelled against them and challenged the government to improve life for the poor and end the corruption. The Student Movement wanted an end to the oppressive PRI government. The movement in Mexico was similar to what was going on world-wide. People around the world watched television and saw the burning of Watts in Los Angeles, the riots in Tokyo, Prague and Berlin, the Kent State killings of students and the marches for peace and civil rights around the world (Meyer and Sherman 663-664). It was a time where many citizens were standing up and demanding a change in the leadership and actions of their governments, and students in Mexico also protested for changes. The Mexican government thought the students were Communists and prepared to act against them (Krauze 706).
On October 2, 1966, a student from Guerrero was shot to death by police, but the government blamed it on “professional agitators involved with foreigners” (Krauze 689). In response to this, the students demanded the removal of the governor, but President Ordaz stepped in and coordinated the occupation of the University with his Interior Minister, Luis Echeverria. They made lists of students and ordered their apartments to be entered and...