The role of student protests in 1968 : the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia & Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico
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This report delves into the events that occurred on August 21st 1968 in Czechoslovakia and October 2nd 1968 in Mexico. The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and the massacre at Tlatelolco are two crucibles that remain a significant factor in the mindset of people from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Mexico today. In my writing I draw parallelisms between these two events, that occurred mere months from each other, on different continents and had students asking one common thing from their respective governments, they wanted to be heard. The invasion of Czechoslovakia came as a surprise; the country’s new leader Alexander Dubcek was relaxing the government’s stronghold on the media and freedom of press was slowly becoming a reality. These advances did not sit well with Leonid Brezhnev and the Soviet Politburo so they made a rash decision to invade; the Soviets believed that losing their stronghold in Czechoslovakia would lead to their demise in other Eastern European countries. 1968 was also a turbulent year in Mexico, the country was poised to host the Summer Olympics and it would be the first time a Latin American country would hold that honor so the pressure was enormous. By 1968 the PRI party held a tight reign on Mexico’s government and the students wanted change, they felt social injustice was on the rise and they felt compelled to speak up. Unfortunately the government was not ready to negotiate and ten days before the inauguration of the Olympics the army marched in on a peaceful student protest and opened fire. Both movements were squashed but they mark the beginning of the end of one party rule in Czechoslovakia and Mexico. The conclusion of the report reaches 1988 when the Velvet Revolution took off in Czechoslovakia and Mexico’s presidential election had to be rigged in order for the PRI to win. After the Velvet Revolution Czechoslovakia eased into democratic elections and it continues to be a full democracy today while Mexico still struggles to obtain a democratic standing in the world.