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E. IV.9. Mexico

Politics in Mexico was dominated by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which effectively ran a one party state, from its foundation in 1929 (when it was initially called the National Revolutionary Party) until 2000, when the PRI was defeated in the presidential elections. From 1940 the Party moved to the right in policy terms and was often challenged by peasant, worker and student protests. Student demonstrations in the run-up to Mexico hosting the Olympics in 1968 resulted in troops firing on student protesters and bystanders on 2 October, killing several hundred (the numbers are still disputed) and detaining over 1,300 students. Later investigation of government records showed that the security forces had placed snipers in the crowd to justify firing back, and ‘the massacre of Tlateloco’ still resonates – on the 40th anniversary in October 2008 two commemorative marches took place in Mexico City. Much of the international focus on Mexico since the late 1990s has been on the Zapatistas, an indigenous peasant armed movement. They briefly seized the town of San Cristobal in the Chiapas region on 1 January 1994 and declared war on the government and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which endorsed a government policy of undermining the growing of traditional Mayan maize varieties and threatened and threatened them with the total loss of their lands and livelihood. The Zapatistas were rapidly driven back to their local areas, but since then have retained control on the ground, backed by the unarmed local people, gained global publicity and become a symbol for the Global Justice Movement that sprang up in 1999. The Zapatistas organized a peaceful march on Mexico City in 2001. (See Section G of the original bibliography for more references on the Zapatistas.)

Hodges, Donald ; Gandy, Ross, Mexico Under Siege: Popular Resistance to Presidential Despotism, London, Zed Books, 2002, pp. 268

Spans period from 1940 to 2000, examining urban worker protest and railway strikes, new peasant movements, school strikes, student opposition and also the rise of guerrilla struggles, including the Zapatistas.

Poniatowska, Elena, Massacre in Mexico, (translated by Helen R. Lane), New York, Viking, 1976

Shapiro, Yoram, Mexico: The Impact of the 1968 student protest on Echeverria’s reformism, Journal of International Studies and World Affairs, Vol. 19, issue 4 (November), 1977, pp. 557-580