Anniversaries and agression
I am having a bit of a complicated week and so haven’t had time to dedicate to writing this blog. I have been to Mexico City twice and they were really heavy days of solid concentration and work, at least I didn’t get held up by the marching teachers who, yes, are still marching… And then back in the office we have been swamped with work, plus all sorts of internal issues that take up time and energy. So, a reasonable week, that could have been better and I am definitely tired.
An important date came and went this week: 2 October this year was the 45th anniversary of the killings of Tlatelolco. In 1968, just a few days before the Olympic Games started, hosted by Mexico City on this occasion, student protests ended in disaster and mayhem. The wave of protests round the world in 1968 had an echo in Mexico that was extremely important; there were months of pro-democracy protests by students and workers, which was finally dealt with by the then government, in no uncertain terms. Police fired into the crowds that day – not with rubber bullets but with real bullets - in the Square of the 3 Cultures in Tlatelolco causing many dead, many wounded and international outrage. The anniversaries always generate high feelings and many memories and this year was no exception. There were clashes this week on the 2nd, people were wounded, including police officers, properties were damaged, others were arrested. There has never been a clear account of what happened, how it happened, why it happened, but what is clear is the orders that the government gave. There is nothing clearer than to see bodies lying around and the massacre, as it was termed then, shook the country to the core. The government claims only 35 died but there were actually hundreds who lost their lives.
My friend LA, a member of the Olympic team for Mexico, was already installed in the Olympic Villa when this happened. He remembers another member of the team going out that night and coming back in a frightful emotional state. He had witnessed the whole thing and narrowly escaped with his life.
Meanwhile, the plan for reconstruction of the damaged areas of the country after the hurricanes and storms is slowly getting under way. Tons and tons of food and other supplies are getting through to the worst hit places, but it’s a slow process. They have waived the tolls on the motorway from Mexico City to Cuernavaca and beyond to the state of Guerrero to allow the lorries through. The other day I was driving back from the city and passed a slow caravan of police vehicles, at the centre of which was a lorry carrying a huge drinking water treatment plant, no doubt destined for some village or town in Guerrero.