Mexico: More Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Mexico, the Olympics massacre, illegal immigrants and border patrol, labor and economy problems.



On October 2, 1968, 10 days before the Olympics began in Mexico City, soldiers opened fire on a student rally at the Plaza of Three Cultures, killing hundreds of people. The total number of dead has never been determined. Early in 1975, several leftover skeletons were discovered in the basement of a nearby housing project.

The flood of Mexican laborers illegally crossing the border into the U.S. may continue to cause considerable friction between the countries if the worldwide economic situation worsens. Jobs for unskilled labor are already in short supply, and the Mexicans, who will work for very low wages, are considered unfair competition. U.S. Immigration Service officers apprehended over 600,000 illegal immigrants in 1973.

The U.S. Justice Dept. operates a Border Patrol Academy in Port Isabel, Tex., whose program includes Spanish lessons and training in self-defense and the use of firearms. The patrol's main job is to prevent illegal aliens from entering the U.S. The U.S. Bureau of Customs has instituted a computerized data bank system on known or suspected smugglers. Since 1970 this system, known as CADPIN (Customs Automatic Data Processing Intelligence Network), has been in operation at border checkpoints and at major U.S. international airports. The system is also linked to the computerized crime files of the FBI. In addition, electronic sensors which detect body heat-developed for use in the Vietnam War-are now being used to detect hidden Mexicans.

Domestically, Mexico may be headed for a crisis. President Luis Echeverria, elected as a moderate, has been unable to please either the left or the right. Guerrilla groups of the left have stepped up their activities, particularly in the region of Guadalajara. Bombings, kidnappings of prominent Mexicans and foreigners, and shoot-outs with government forces have increased. In April, 1974, some 50 suspects were arrested and 12 killed in an acknowledged "war" on Mexico's urban guerrillas. Caches of arms and Mexican Army uniforms have been found. Members of the conservative right, who are frequently the kidnap targets, feel that Echeverria is not handling the situation forcefully enough. In addition, Echeverria's occasional mention of agrarian or tax reform does not sit well with the wealthy elite. Inflation of over 20% in 1973 has not helped to ease the national situation-the poor are still the hardest hit.

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