Government Repression in Tlatelco

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In “The Archeology of Repression” Martinez and Herrera detail the colonization of Tlatelco, and its long history of government repression. Up until the late 1960’s, Tlatelco had been governed by the PRI, a political party that maintained power, not through Democratic means, but instead exploited the underprivileged Mexican citizens and land. They discuss the extreme extent government repression reached in modern day Mexico, specifically analyzing the mass genocide conducted in Tlatelco. Although Mexico identified itself as a democratic nation, it did not embrace the practices of functioning democracies and instead, repressed educational and working institutions through authoritarian means. When discussing the factors that led to the mass demonstrations in Plaza de las Tres Culturas, they state, “It was closely connected to the lack of economic support for popular education, the breaking up of protests, and the extrajudicial arrest of progressive trade union leaders who became political prisoners.” (6) The absence of government support in educational and working-class sectors, led to mass demonstrations in Tlatelco, and were followed by a mass censorship of the events occurred. Notions of communist conspiracy and government “overthrow” were key in documenting a narrative that held the government “victim” to the demonstrators, despite being the provokers of state sanctioned terrorism.

State sanctioned terrorism has depended on the use of military defenses and police authorities in order to continuously repress marginalized communities. Similar to the displacement of Mapuche’s, the government relied on the constant repression of Mapuche efforts to continue their exploitation, through exploitive policies and militarization. An effect of these government actions is reflected in the general Chilean unawareness of Mapuche subordination. The government is successful in dividing leftist collectives, thus leaving Mapuche’s without mass support for their efforts. Despite the differences of these two historical occurrences, they both reflect the extent and variety in which government sanctioned violence is enacted on its own constituents.