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official party of Luis Echeverria, secretary of government under Diaz Ordaz, is viewed with hope by a number of the discontented, including some of the students. So far, in his campaign Echeverria has shown aptitude for saying the things everybody wants to hear. The least that can be said for him is that he is clearly a man of intelligence and politically clever. This is more than can be said for his master, the actual president. But it is hard to forget that he has loyally served that master, even sharing the responsibility, as chief of the security police, for some of the most brutal acts of the repression. The question asked by the Mexican people, in face of the certainty that Echeverria, barring acts of God, will be their ruler for the next six years, is: will he endeavor to give them a democratic government, free of corruption, as his words imply? Or will he fetter them with a dictatorship more galling than even the present repression? Because, in any case, his government promises to be an efficient one. And the people are weary, as the poet Octavio Paz has said, of two thousand years of absolute power. Paz Speaks Of Mexican Crisis Austin The seriousness of the threat to democracy in Mexico was the subject of a speech delivered in Austin last October by the noted Mexican poet Octavio Paz. His talk was the Hackett Memorial Lecture, delivered to the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Paz served for six years in the Mexiban government as ambassador to India. He now is a visiting professor teaching Spanish-American literature and poetics at UT-Austin. In his October speech Paz called Mexico a “country stirred and terrified by governmental violence.” He went on to describe the student discontent and activism of 1968, saying: . In the course of a few weeks, it became clear that the young students, without having expressly intended it, were the spokesmen of the people. Let me emphasize that they were not the spokesmen of this or that class but of the collective conscience. … Despite the mobilization of all means of propaganda and moral coercion, not to mention the physical violence of the police and the army, the people spontaneously joined the student demonstrations, and one of them, the famous ‘Silent Demonstration,’ brought together more than half a million people, something never before seen in Mexico. “Unlike the French students in May of the same year, the Mexican students did not propose violent and revolutionary social changes, nor was their program as radical as those of many groups of German and North American youths. It also lacked the orgiastic and near-religious tone of the `hippies.’ The movement was democratic and reformist, even though some of its leaders were of the extreme left. Was this a practical maneuver? I think it would be more sensible to attribute the moderation to the circumstances themselves and to the weight of objective reality: the temper of the Mexican people is not revolutionary and neither are the historical conditions of the country. No one wants a revolution. What the people do want is reform: an end to the rule of privilege initiated by the National Revolutionary Party 40 years ago. The students’ demands were genuinely moderate, and all of them could be summed up in a single word, a word that was the crux of the movement and the key to its magnetic influence on the conscience of the people: democratization.” BUT, AS PAZ tells us, the government refused to deal with the students on an open basis, and in fact in September, 1968, the Army occupied the university at Mexico City and the Politechnical Institute. “This action,” Paz continues, “was so widely criticized that the troops withdrew from both institutions. There was a breathing-spell. The students, full of hope, gathered for a meeting not a demonstration in the Plaza of Tlatelolco on October 2. At the end of the meeting, when those attending it were about to leave, the plaza was surrounded by the army and the killing began. A few hours later it was all over. “How many died? No newspaper in Mexico dared to print the number of deaths.. Here is the figure that the English newspaper The Guardian, after a careful investigation, ‘considered the most probable: 325. Thousands must have been injured, thousands must have been arrested. The 2nd of October, 1968, put an end to the student movement. It also ended an epoch in the history of Mexico,” said Paz. He goes on to explain that the presidents of Mexico have enjoyed wide power. “The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies,” he says, “have been, and still are, two groups of chatterers and flatterers that never offer any criticism whatsoever; the judicial power is mute and impotent; freedom of the press is more a formality than a reality; radio and television are in the hands of two or three families who are more interested in earning money by brutalizing the audience than in analyzing the country’s problems honestly and objectively. Furthermore, as proprietor of the [country’s only major] party and of the information media, the president enjoys an almost unlimited authority to use federal funds. “It was during the Second World War that the actual revolutionary period of modern Mexico came to an end and the period of economic development began. The process has been similar, though not identical, in every country in which revolutionary movements have triumphed without first having an economic base capable of financing social reforms. This is the great limitation it would be more exact to say, condemnation of every revolution in the underdeveloped countries, not excluding, of course, either Russia or China. There is an inescapable contradiction between development and social reform, a contradiction that is always resolved in favor of the former,” Paz says. He goes on to say that the economic development of the country has been exemplary to other underdeveloped nations of the world, particularly Latin America. But this progress has been uneven; there are two Mexicos, one affluent and modern, the other virtually untouched by economic progress and exploited by the more powerful segment of the nation. The principal defect of Mexico’s industrialization is the weakness of the internal market, Paz believes. “At first,” he goes on, “it was imperative to achieve economic progress; but now, for this progress to continue, it is equally imperative to achieve social development that is, justice. . . . f W HAT I HAVE said can be summed up in three conclusions: first, the crisis in Mexico is the consequence of changes in the social structure and the emergence of new classes in other words, a crisis of the developed Mexico; second, the country’s grave social problems especially that of integrating the underdeveloped or marginal Mexico into the other require a democratic solution, one that is truly national in both its domestic and its foreign policies; and finally if the regime refuses that democratic solution, the result will not be the status quo but rather a state of enforced immobility that will end with an explosion and a return to the old cycle of anarchy and personal dictatorship. . . . CC . . The future is a deceitful time that always says to us, ‘Not yet,’ and thus denies us. The future is not the time of love: what man truly wants, he wants now. Whoever builds a house for future happiness builds a prison for the present.” January 2, 1970 3