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NA act, dlitivueAtt ikt:reyat . ai.LOL tfv2. DALLAS Now use any one of these fine credit cards DINERS_ ea,6 /.,/,,W7;ene . “U’ WEE t U.S. 75, NORTH 112 rooms, lobby, swimming pool, patio all styled with the spirit of the old Southwest of a don’s hacienda … truly distinctive! Yet, all the finest appointments and services for you, your family, your group, your convention. Fine meeting rooms, dining, entertainment lounge … on U.S. 75 North, Exit 18. OR FREE RESERVATIONS Jc.-. Aiwkqu b -7ns host 800-323-2330 CHEVRON motor lodge NORTH CENTRAL EXPRESSWAY j 014711On master charge Esso bow OR JUST VISIT OR CALL YOUR NEAREST HOWARD JOHNSON’S MOTOR LODGE. Civil rights in Mexico By Charles Ramsdell Durham, N.C. People in the mass are apt to be turbulent when they are not regimented stripped of dignity, in any case. And yet, I have seen more than half a million Mexican citizens marching for hours in perfect silence, and it was an imposing spectacle. To one who has lived among that sociable and often ebullient people, the self-restraint shown in the epoch-making “silent manifestation” of mid-September, 1968, was proof of deep emotion. There were no antics, no authors, no exhibitionism. This was an epoch-making march because, for the first time in Mexico’s history, every section of the middle class, including the “bureaucracy, was represented in non-political protest against corruption and repression in government. The banners and placards carried by the marchers denounced the banditry and brutality of the police, the flouting of civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution. Those liberties, essentially the same ones set forth in our Bill of Rights, have been a part of Mexican law since the struggle for independence from Spain a century and a half ago. They are reaffirmed in the constitution of 1917, which summed up the aims of the revolution that ended the 34-year dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and cost a million lives. THE GUARANTEES of the constitution have remained an ideal -rather than a reality during the half-century of “revolutionary” government. When Alvaro Obregon violated the prohibition of a second term for presidents he was assassinated, in 1928, and since then there have been no violations of that particular safeguard. But there followed the dictatorship of Canes, barely disguised behind three puppet presidents. Lazaro Cardenas was intended to be the fourth, but he tossed his supreme chief into exile. For a time civil rights were permitted, to a limited extent, and there was hope that they would soon prevail nation-wide. With civil peace an era of material progress, together with broad advances in education, gave promise of greater participation by the people in their government. But the politicians found in the new prosperity infinite opportunities for lucre. As official agents or as privileged persons they invaded all kinds of business, including prostitution and crime. The The writer, an Observer contributing editor, has spent a good deal of time in Mexico during the past few years. result has been that they have intrenched themselves in every way possible. And one of those ways has been increasing repression in order to conceal increasing corruption. At the same time they have kept up the pretense of democratic forms, of devotion to the people’s liberties. The student strike of 1968 awakened the middle class to the realization that it had no voice in the government. The savage and sometimes fatal beating of the sons of the middle class by police and soliders which was the official response to the mildest protest made it clear that the picture drawn in schoolbooks and in political oratory of a democratic Mexico enjoying freedom of suffrage, of speech, assembly and the press, bore little or no resemblance to reality. What was worse, even as an ideal, the picture was not getting any closer, but fading in the distance. The students got a glimpse,of reality the day of the silent manifestation when they found the gates of the national palace barred, with no one to receive them when they reached the great central plaza of Mexico City. And on returning to Chapultepec Park, they found the tires of their cars slashed and the windows broken by the police, of course. More lessons were learned within a few weeks. The hitherto sacrosanct national university was occupied one night without warning by troops and everyone there was hauled off to jail. The polytechnic institute was taken by storm, with an unknown number of students killed and the survivors viciously beaten. STILL, THERE was faith in freedom of speech and assembly till the evening of Oct. 2, when the army opened fire on perhaps 10,000 citizens holding a peaceful meeting on the plaza of Tlatelolco, near the heart of the city. Several hundred children, were killed and many hundreds more were wounded. In spite of crude official attempts at obfuscation, there can be no doubt that the massacre was a carefully planned act of terror, planned by Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, then president of Mexico, who alone could have called out the troops or authorized the subsequent atrocities. The student strike was broken by the capture at Tlatelolco of nearly all the leaders. Everything about their arrest, November 5, 1971 11