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1968: Prevailing words and ideals

The importance of remembering October 2, 1968 lies in the fact that it was the starting point to have a more participative society and more sensitive authorities
1968: Prevailing words and ideals
The Mexican government brutality repressed the students – Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
02/10/2018
08:55
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader
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The civil liberties Mexico has achieved in the last decades, although many are still consolidating, didn't happen overnight; they are the product of the strict demands voiced by the citizens. The most notable demand took place in 1968; its tragic outcome is commemorated today.

The students' movement took place half a century ago, triggered by a police abuse incident against young people, and it united parents, university authorities, and several groups in Mexico City, as well as in other parts of the country. Different voices merged back then, demanding political participation and more liberties.

The official response wasn't dialogue but rather turned a deaf ear. A meeting at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in Tlatelolco, resulted in an unknown number of deaths. In 2002, EL UNIVERSAL published a report from the U.S. embassy that estimated the number of deaths between 150 and 200; last Saturday, this newspaper published another report made by Susana Zavala, a researcher from the UNAM, who after reviewing several archives found the register of 78 deaths linked to the students' movement, from July to December 1968, as well as 31 missing persons, 186 injured, 1,491 detainees, and 1,786 affected parties.

After that night in Tlatelolco, many years went by before changes took place in the country, and more significant events had to take place: the political reform in 1977, the 1985 earthquake, the 1988 elections. The democracy, free speech, and the respect of human rights established until they became part of the national panorama.

The importance of remembering a day such as October 2, 1968 lies in the fact that it was the starting point to have a more participative society and more sensitive authorities.

For the governments, 1968 must represent a permanent reminder that social demands shouldn't be solved through brutality, but with willingness to dialogue, and by respecting human rights.

In its historical can social development, Mexico has gone through moments that left indelible marks. One of the is the 1968 events. The date is barely mentioned on official discourses, but society has appropriated the students' words and ideals; aspirations that are as valid today as they were yesterday.
 

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