chapter  3
28 Pages

Talking of Tlatelolco: The Power of a Collective Memory Suppressed but Not Surrendered


After much research and debate, historians of Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Mexico have adopted a historiography of that defi ning event that posits it on a continuum of popular activism bubbling up from below, governmental intransigence raining down from above, and the country existing in a contested intermediate space. According to this interpretation, the Mexican state and its citizens have been negotiating shared power for decades.2 In 1968, however, negotiation seemed to have been replaced with violence as government forces ended a months-long student protest movement by killing hundreds in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City.3 The Tlatelolco Massacre, as this event has come to be known, appeared to be an egregious abuse of government power. In the months, years, and decades following Tlatelolco however, the shift of power away from the government and toward popular mobilizations has become apparent. The roughly 40 years’ absence of the Tlatelolco story from the “o cial” Mexican memory as well as its gradual inclusion into contemporary Mexican historical and political narratives represents another episode of negotiation in Mexican political life.