Red October

Red October

It was Wednesday, October 2nd, 1968 in

Mexico City, a few weeks away from the Mexico \'68 Summer Olympic Games

Opening Ceremony. For the last three months, the city had been facing
an intensive and stressful situation with the national university students
on strike. This strike was initiated at the National Autonomous

University of Mexico, from and for the student\'s sake against its Governing

Board. Suddenly, the student\'s ideals were mixed with a politic radical
stream through the well known communist group "El Muro" (The Wall) that
was operating underground against the government, which covered almost
the entire nation.

The city\'s people were sick of this strike
due to its endless resolution, but especially sick of the government that
saw this movement getting out of control every day. In order to keep me
busy and away from the students strike activities, my dad, with a wise
vision, helped me land a job with one of the contracting companies that
were in charge of building the general sewer system of the city.

For the next five weeks, I got up early
in the morning to go to my job, located a few blocks from the Alameda Park
in downtown. Everything seemed to be normal for everybody, except for the
students\' movement, who was organizing a big meeting at "Plaza de las Tres

Culturas"(Three Cultures Square) at Tlatelolco City at 5 p.m. This plaza
is well known as part of the Aztec pyramid heritage during the Conquest
era when the Spaniard\'s took over. Immediately after contractors
found this site, the government declared it a National Treasure to avoid
any construction atop it. Surrounding the park, however, a couple
of twenty floor apartment building were built for the Mexico \'68 Olympic

Games.

Knowing I still had some connections with
the strike leaders, my dad stopped by my office at noon and warned me not
to attend the meeting for my own sake. To my surprise, by midday, Guadalupe
my girlfriend, stopped by as well to ask me not to go to the meeting as
we previously planned. I took her to my car and we drove through the street
until we got close by Tlateloco City.

All of the sudden I was asked to turn the
other direction by a police officer. I was frozen at the steering wheel.

I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. With doubts still in
my head, I turned and asked Guadalupe if what I was witnessing was real.

She said yes, and explained that it was the Army surrounding Plaza de las

Tres Culturas, equipped with tanks, assault vehicles, jeeps, and troops;
armed and ready to shoot, if needed. The government authorities
warned the students on radio and TV news at noon that they
were not going to allow any other meeting or manifestation against the

University or Mexico government or the government authorities.

Not paying attention to what the policemen
had said to me, I asked Guadalupe to go back to her house and promised
to call her as soon as I went back to mine. I parked my car and walked
up to the meeting place. When I got to the plaza, there were almost three
thousand students waiting for the speakers to start the meeting. There
was not an empty spot in site. I decided to stay away from the crowd but
close enough to hear the speakers. By that time, all the people present
knew about the army\'s position. The stress and tension increased while
more students were arrived. It was almost dawn when the army finished to
surround the plaza. We were all trapped.

Nobody knew why the meeting was delayed,
but when the speakers were about to start a gunshot crossed the Plaza air.

Then another one, and all of the sudden there was a crossfire between the
soldiers and apparently some posted "deer hunters" inside the apartments
buildings. There was a lot of confusion. The fire was all over the crowd.

Students started screaming and running everywhere, and the soldiers tried
to keep them in one single block. As they could not stop them, they began
to shoot them or stop them with their bayonets. I was experiencing a lot
of fear and was afraid for my life.

One fellow close to me got shot in the
back and fell onto me. He was bleeding all over. While holding him,
my hands and clothes filled with blood. I realized that he was dead! Horrified,

I dropped him on the floor and started sneaking away from the Plaza. Hiding
in different places for several hours, I finally got away from the