government later claimed the students were armed and encouraged the army to take the actions that it did. By any definition, however, it was a one-sided massacre of the demonstrators. Autopsy reports indicated that people died from gunshot and bayonet wounds. Official reports eventually listed the dead at 43, but the number was surely much higher. Noted Mexican journalist Elena Poniatowska suggests that 325 were killed, whereas some Mexican observers have maintained that more than 500 died. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more were arrested, and some have been listed as disappeared. Estimates of the wounded have soared as high as 2,500. 6 Nothing had occurred of such magnitude by the government since the days of the Porfiriato.

Since that day in October 1968 there have been serious questions about the role of the PRI, the repressive nature of the government, and the direction of the revolution. It is significant that the events at Tlatelolco divided the Mexican populace between supporters and opponents of the PRI. And Díaz Ordaz has always had to deal with the fact that he was president when government troops opened fire on demonstrators.

Meanwhile, the problems in the political arena masked the fact that the nation's economic system faced significant problems as well. The peso had become weak in comparison to the U.S. dollar, and with trade deficits rising the government began borrowing abroad, resulting in an indebtedness of approximately $4.2 billion by 1970. The agricultural aspect of the economic miracle had ended with the realization that Mexico had to import foodstuffs. In both urban and rural areas unemployment and, equally debilitating, underemployment was rising. As the decade of the 1970s approached and Mexico faced a search for a new president, the country also faced serious questions about its future on economic, political and social levels.


NOTES
1
James D. Cockcroft, Mexico: Class Formation, Capital Accumulation, and the State ( New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990), 150.
3
Peter Smith, "Mexico since 1946", in Mexico since Independence, ed. Leslie Bethell ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 340.
6
Elena Poniatowska, "Massacre in Mexico", in Twentieth Century Mexico, ed. W. Dirk Raat and William H. Beezley ( Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 264.

-191-

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The History of Mexico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Advisory Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Timeline of Historical Events xiii
  • 1 - Mexico Today 1
  • 2 - Mexico's Early Inhabitants 13
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - The Conquest 31
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The Colonial Era, 1521-1821 47
  • Notes 72
  • 5 - The Wars of Mexican Independence, 1808-1821 75
  • Notes 88
  • 6 - The Aftermath of Independence, 1821-1876 89
  • Notes 110
  • 7 - The Porfiriato, 1876-1911 113
  • Notes 128
  • 8 - The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 131
  • Notes 153
  • 9 - Consolidation of the Revolution 155
  • Notes 172
  • 10 - The Revolution Moves to the Right, 1940-1970 175
  • Notes 191
  • 11 - The Search for Stability, 1970-1999 193
  • Notes 213
  • Notable People in the History of Mexico 215
  • Bibliographic Essay 227
  • Index 235
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