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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Echeverría Shares the Blame for Tlatelolco

A major inflection point in Mexico's history remains the 1968 massacre of students demonstrating in México City against the authoritarian and corrupt PRI government. That event marked not the end but a new beginning for the movement for transformational change. Who deserves the infamy for the 1968 massacre? Earlier this month, in La Jornada, David Brooks explained why former Mexican president Luis Echeverría, the nation’s secretary of the interior in 1968, may best merit that nod. We excerpt his analysis here.

Luis Echeverria Álvarez “shares much of the blame” for the violence in Tlatelolco on October 2, 1968, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded in 1971, while other secret US official documents reveal the follow-up of his efforts to “co-opt and control” the student movement, how he shared with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger his concern for communism in the Americas, and at the end of his presidency he left Mexico in a “psychological crisis,” according to documents officials disclosed and analyzed by the National Security Archive.


The CIA expressed concern that “an internal political crisis in Mexico could trigger latent anti-Americanism” and that “an unpopular crackdown on dissidents by security forces using US-made equipment could implicate the United States in such an incident.”

Luis Echeverria. Photo: Carlos Cisneros

The CIA refers to the rise of “politically more savvy” citizens after 1968 as posing a threat to the official political system and records that the PRI was concluding that its experiment in political openness was “recently dangerous.”


An intelligence report from the State Department written two months before October 2, 1968, indicates that the student demonstrations “were never a threat to the stability” of the Mexican government, although they were “highly embarrassing” for the authorities.


In his first meeting with President Richard Nixon at the White House on June 15, 1972, Echeverría and his host focused on the problem of communism in the Western Hemisphere (and how) to counter both the influence of Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende.