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Ian Birchall

Not Just Fun and Games in Mexico ...

(28 September 1968)

From Socialist Worker, No. 90, 28 September 1968, pp. 2 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FOR MOST PEOPLE Mexico means the Olympic Games which start next month. The Mexican government, anxious to increase tourism, would like to keep it that way.

That is why they brought out tanks and paratroops to put down this week’s student demonstrations.

Government to blame

The students, accused of wanting to wreck the Olympic Games, replied: “If our movement is an obstacle to the Games, the blame lies with the government, who bear the responsibility of solving the social problems affecting our country."

For the Mexican people, the charm of the revolution of 1910–1917 has worn very thin. The government party—the Institutional Revolutionary Party claims to embody the traditions of that revolution.

But the PRI has been in power ever since 1929, and holds all but one of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The parliamentary opposition is negligible, and more radical critics of the regime have been imprisoned and tortured in recent years.

Although Mexico has seen rapid industrial expansion in the last 10 years, this has not benefited the population as a whole.

Last summer a Mexico daily paper carried a report of a baby being eaten alive by rats while its mother begged for food. The land reform programme is a half-hearted failure.

Spark off a struggle

The student movement, growing out of anti-Vietnam protests and encouraged by Paris, has developed rapidly. The students have their own problems, too. The Mexico State University, built for 27,000 students, has over 80,000.

They may well spark off a struggle, which will make the Olympic competitions pale into insignificance.

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