The summer of 1968 was one of global upheaval. At home, anti-war protests swept Grant Park 50 years ago this week. 10,000 demonstrators descended on the Democratic National Convention, just months after presidential contender Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Nonetheless, Mayor Richard J. Daley called in National Guard troops. The convention was Daley’s opportunity to let Chicago shine, avoid racial tensions, and save face with the pro-War Democrats. That same summer, Mexico was gearing up to become the first Spanish-speaking country to ever host the Olympics. The 1968 games went down in history as athletes demonstrated the Black Power salute, boycotted Apartheid South Africa, and protested the Soviet Invasion of Prague. Mexican protesters resisted harsh labor practices and government crackdowns that paved the way for the Olympics. Like in Chicago, Mexican authorities didn’t want activists spoiling their big event. On October 2nd, the government of President Díaz Ordaz decided that the demonstrations, which had begun in July, had gone long enough. Around 300 protesters were killed. Sergio Aguayo is a Mexican academic and human rights activist whose book, 1968: The Archives of Violence, remains one of the most complete histories of the Tlateloco massacre. His latest book linking 1968 to the 2014 mass-kidnapping in Mexico is called Tlatelolco to Ayotzinapa: Violence of the State. Aguayo joined Worldview in 1998, on the 30th anniversary of the massacre. We’ll replay that conversation, as well as eyewitnesses accounts from the BBC.
Special thanks to the WBEZ Archives Team for cataloging 25 years of Worldview and making this segment possible.