Friday, July 13, 2007

Did the bullets just magically kill the students, then?

In the wake of revelations on official police repression of any details of the 1968 massacre of students in Mexico, news comes out today that former president Luís Echeverría (and secretary of the interior in 1968) will not have to face charges after all.

Suffice to say this is an extremely troubling decision. Now, it may be that Echeverria had no direct hand in the 1968 massacre of students in Tlatelolco (though as he was the practical leader of Mexico while Ordaz Diaz was out of the country, it's hard to believe he would have been unaware). However, the courts have already ruled that the 1968 murder of hundreds of students was not due to rogue elements of the police, thereby implying orders from above. Yet now that the focus of blame has gone to "above", the courts have ruled that the highest-ups did not know about the orders to kill students, thus rendering neither the perpetrators nor their superiors "guilty". It strikes me as unlikely that Echeverría will ever see jail time for his role (even if he didn't order the massacre itself, he can certainly be charged with poltiical negligence and cover-ups). But the worst part of this decision will be that hundreds of unarmed students were shot like fish in a barrel in a closed-in plaza (police opened up from the surrounding buildings and even from helicopters above), and their families and friends will probably never have any peace in knowing that somebody, anybody, was held responsible.