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Indigenismo Occupied: Indigenous Youth and Mexico's Democratic Opening (1968–1975)

  • A. S. Dillingham (a1)


In April 1975, indigenous youth in Mexico occupied regional development centers throughout the southern state of Oaxaca. From the Sierra Sur town of Miahuatlán, to the arid highlands of the Mixteca Alta, to the valley of the Papaloapan Dam project, these youth took control of Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) coordinating centers and held them for more than a month. Trained as promotores bilingües (bilingual agents of education and development projects) by a separate regional development agency (the Instituto de Investigación y Integración Social del Estado de Oaxaca, or IIISEO), they demanded professional training and the creation of positions for themselves as federal teachers. Their banners accused the Mexican government of ethnocide against native peoples, denouncing the government's celebration of indigenous culture as a mask for continued exploitation.



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1. The youths' demands were articulated a year prior and a tentative agreement was established between the promotores, the state government, and the IIISEO administration. However, it was not respected in the period that followed. See “Pliego Petitorio,” Carteles del Sur (Oaxaca), April 4, 1974; Convenio que se celebra entre la Dirección General del IIISEO y la Coalición de Promotores, April 23, 1974, personal papers of Santiago Salazar.

2. For one of the most definitive accounts of the repression in Mexico City, see Poniatowska, Elena, Massacre in Mexico (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991).

3. The term promotor bilingüe does not have a straightforward English equivalent. The closest approximation is “bilingual extension agent” in the context of education and development projects. During this period the promotor was trained to foment change in his or her home community. In the case study here, that work included Spanish language instruction for preschool-age children and a host of other community-level development activities.

4. For events in Mexico City, see Carey, Elaine, Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005). For rural guerrilla, see Aviña, Alexander, Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerrillas in the Cold War Mexican Countryside (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

5. For a compelling recent treatment of this period in Mexican history and the relevant debates, see Gillingham, Paul and Smith, Benjamin T., eds., Dictablanda: Politics, Work, and Culture in Mexico, 1938–1968 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014).

6. For Mexico, see Vaughan, Mary Kay, Portrait of a Young Painter: Pepe Zúñiga and Mexico City's Rebel Generation (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014); and Walker, Louise, Waking from the Dream: Mexico's Middle Classes after 1968 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013), p. 12. In addition, see Grandin, Greg, “Living in Revolutionary Time: Coming to Terms with the Violence of Latin America's Long Cold War,” in Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence During Latin America's Long Cold War, Grandin, Greg and Joseph, Gilbert M., eds. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), p. 29; and Langland, Victoria, Speaking of Flowers: Student Movements and the Making and Remembering of 1968 in Military Brazil (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), p. 12.

7. Two significant memoirs are de Alba, Luis González, México 68: juventud y revolución (Mexico: Ediciones Era, 1978); and Garín, Raúl Álvarez, La Estela de Tlatelolco: una reconstrucción histórica del Movimiento Estudiantil del 68 (Mexico: Grijalbo, 1998). Álvarez explicitly frames Echeverría's policies as “cooptación generalizada” and argues that authorities successfully divided and weakened the student movement and the political left. See Álvarez, p. 210.

8. See Louise Walker, Waking from the Dream, p. 32. “By creating new jobs in the state bureaucracies and increasing funds for education, along with some political reforms, the president addressed the material and political concerns of many of the students, some of whom were incorporated not only into mainstream channels of negotiation but also into the PRI itself.”

9. On the use of these security files in historical research, see Padilla, Tanalís and Walker, Louise E., “In the Archives: History and Politics,” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research 19:1 (2013), pp. 110.

10. Arthur Marwick first defined the years 1958 to 1974 as the “long 1960s.” See Marwick, , The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, and the United States, c. 1958–1974 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

11. See among others Fink, Carole, Gassert, Philipp, and Junker, Detlef, eds., 1968: The World Transformed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); and Monaville, Pedro, “June 4th 1969: Violence, Political Imagination, and the Student Movement in Kinshasa,” in The Third World in the Global Sixties, Christiansen, Samantha and Scarlett, Zachary, eds. (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012), pp. 159170.

12. For a discussion of intellectual consumption of international events in Mexico, see Volpi, Jorge, La imaginación y el poder: una historia intelectual de 1968 (Mexico: Ediciones Era, 1998); and Pensado, Jaime, Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Political Culture During the Long Sixties (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013). For contemporary coverage see the dissident Mexico City magazine Por qué? edited by Mario Menéndez.

13. Gould, Jeffery L., “Solidarity under Siege: The Latin American Left, 1968,” American Historical Review 114:2 (April 2009), p. 354.

14. Jeremi Suri has described this as an “international language of dissent.” See Suri, , Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Détente (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 3.

15. For scholarship on the role of memoirs in shaping collective memory, see Ross, Kristin, May '68 and Its Afterlives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); Frazier, Lessie Jo and Cohen, Deborah, “Defining the Space of Mexico '68: Heroic Masculinity in the Prison, and “Women” in the Streets,” Hispanic American Historical Review 83:4 (November 2003), pp. 617660; and Langland, Speaking of Flowers.

16. See Zolov, Eric, Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); and Manzano, Valeria, “The Blue Jean Generation: Youth, Gender, and Sexuality in Buenos Aires, 1958–1975Journal of Social History 42:3 (Spring 2009), pp. 657676.

17. See Pensado, Rebel Mexico; Zolov, Eric, “Expanding our Conceptual Horizons: The Shift from an Old to a New Left in Latin America,” A Contracorriente 5:2 (2008), pp. 4773; and Blacker, O'Neil, “Cold War in the Countryside: Conflict in Guerrero, Mexico,” The Americas 66:2 (October 2009), pp. 181210.

18. Zolov, Eric, “Introduction: Latin America in the Global Sixties,” The Americas 70:3 (January 2014), p. 354 For a much earlier articulation of global causality, see Wallerstein, Immanuel, “1968, Revolution in the World-System,” in Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World-System, Wallerstein, Immanuel, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 6583.

19. Langland, Speaking of Flowers, p. 9.

20. Slobodian, Quinn, Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012); Donham, Donald D., Marxist Modern: An Ethnographic History of the Ethiopian Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Ivaska, Andrew, Culture States: Youth, Gender, and Modern Style in 1960s Dar Es Salaam (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), p. 27.

21. Taibo II, Paco Ignacio, 68 (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004), p. 18.

22. Tyson, Timothy B., Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Cobb, Daniel M., Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008).

23. Rothwell, Matthew D., Transpacific Revolutionaries: The Chinese Revolution in Latin America (New York: Routledge, 2013).

24. Vásquez, Víctor Raúl Martínez, “El movimiento de 1968 en Oaxaca,” Cuadernos del Sur 14:27 (April 2009), pp. 89100.

25. For a detailed discussion of Oaxacan student politics, see Vásquez, Víctor Raúl Martínez, Movimiento Popular y política en Oaxaca (1968–1986) (Mexico: CONACULTA, 1990).

26. Santiago Salazar, interview by author, April 19, 2010, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca. In addition, Salazar cites the Chilean musical group Quilapayún as an influence, along with the Mexican ranchera groups Las Jilguerillas and Las Palomas.

27. Informe, Februrary 28, 1974, Archivo General de la Nación, Dirección General de Investigaciones Políticas y Sociales [hereafter AGN IPS], caja 963, exp. 2.

28. See Campbell, Howard, Zapotec Renaissance: Ethnic Politics and Cultural Revivalism in Southern Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994); and Rubin, Jeffrey, Decentering the Regime: Ethnicity, Radicalism, and Democracy in Juchitán, Mexico (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997).

29. Jeffrey Rubin, Decentering the Regime, pp. 42–43; Rus, Jan, “The ‘Comunidad Revolucionaria Institucional’: The Subversion of Native Government in Highland Chiapas, 1936–1968,” in Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico, Joseph, Gilbert Michael and Nugent, Daniel, eds. (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994), pp. 265300.

30. Recondo, David, La política del gatopardo: multiculturalismo y democracia en Oaxaca (Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social/Centro de Estudios Mexicanos y Centroamericanos, 2007), pp. 7980.

31. The relevant literature on Mexican indigenismo includes Brading, David, “Manuel Gamio and Official Indigenismo in Mexico,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 7:1 (1988), pp. 7589; Knight, Alan, “Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–1940,” in The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940, Graham, Richard, ed. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), pp. 71102; Vaughan, Mary Kay, Cultural Politics in Revolution: Teachers, Peasants, and Schools in Mexico, 1930–1940 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1997); and Dawson, Alexander, Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004).

32. For a contrasting example in El Salvador, see Chávez, Joaquín M., “Catholic Action, the Second Vatican Council, and the Emergence of the New Left in El Salvador (1950–1975),” The Americas 70:3 (January 2014), pp. 459487.

33. On the conservative Catholic context in Oaxaca, see Heiko Kiser, “Mit der Jungfrau gegen die Hochmoderne. Religion als Ressource der indigenen Bevölkerung gegen staatliche Modernisierungsprojekte in Oaxaca, Mexiko, 1950 bis heute,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 51, Band 2011, pp. 445–486.

34. Carrasco Briseño was a close collaborator of Archbishop Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas.

35. Solano, Xóchitl Leyva, “Regional, Communal, and Organizational Transformations in Las Cañadas,” in Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion, Rus, Jan, Castillo, Rosalva Aída Hernández, and Mattiace, Shannan L., eds. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003), p. 164.

36. See Harvey, Neil, The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998); and Cedillo, Adela and Calderón, Fernando Herrera, eds., Challenging Authoritarianism in Mexico: Revolutionary Struggles and the Dirty War, 1964–1982 (New York: Routledge, 2012).

37. Knight, Alan, “Cárdenas and Echeverría: Two ‘Populist’ Presidents Compared,” in Populism in Twentieth-Century Mexico: The Presidencies of Lázaro Cárdenas and Luis Echeverría, Kiddle, Amelia and Muñoz, Maria L. O., eds. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010), p. 22.

38. For the shifting Cold War context in Latin America, see Harmer, Tanya, Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011). The contradictions of Mexico's foreign and domestic policy were rife. During the 1970s, Mexico provided asylum to various Latin American guerillas and political dissidents, including Brazilian political prisoners released in 1969 in exchange for the kidnapped US ambassador to Brazil, Charles Burke Elbrick. At the same time, Mexico pursued its own dirty war against armed dissidents. See Aviña, Specters of Revolution; Bornemann, Alberto Ulloa, Surviving Mexico's Dirty War: A Political Prisoner's Memoir, Schmidt, Arthur and de Schmidt, Aurora Camacho, eds. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007).

39. Zolov, Refried Elvis, p. 191.

40. Velasco oversaw unprecedented agrarian reform and instituted bilingual education in Quechua, one of Peru's major languages. See La Serna, Miguel, Corner of the Living: Ayacucho on the Eve of the Shining Path Insurgency (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), pp. 105108.

41. See Walker, “Cacerolazo: Rumors, Gossip, and the Conservative Middle Classes, 1973–1976,” in Waking from the Dream, pp. 45–72; Agustín, José, Tragicomedia Mexicana 2: la vida en México de 1970–1988 (Mexico: Editorial Planeta Mexicana, 1998).

42. The bombs were placed in the Palacio Municipal, the offices of the newspaper Oaxaca Gráfico, and a military garrison. See “Atentados dinamiteros contra tres locales en Oaxaca; un muerto,” Excelsior (Mexico), July 23, 1972.

43. Foweraker, Joe, Popular Mobilization in Mexico: The Teachers’ Movement, 1977–1987 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 22.

44. See Stephen, Lynn, Zapata Lives! Histories and Cultural Politics in Southern Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); and Karen D. Caplan, “Poverty, Policy, and the World Bank in Mexico,” paper presented at the Latin American Studies Center, University of Maryland, College Park, October 8, 2007. Caplan details the experience of the Programa Integral para el Desarrollo Rural (PIDER), which was funded by the World Bank and the Mexican government and guided by a World Bank policy termed “redistribution with growth.”

45. Alan Knight, “Cárdenas and Echeverría: Two ‘Populist’ Presidents Compared” p. 28.

46. Gilbert M. Joseph and Jürgen Buchenau report that in the 1970s the population grew at more than 3.5 percent annually. See Joseph and Buchenau, Mexico's Once and Future Revolution: Social Upheaval and the Challenge of Rule since the Late Nineteenth Century (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), p. 173.

47. Zolov, Eric, “Introduction: Latin America in the Global Sixties,” The Americas 70:3 (January 2014), p. 349.

48. Amelia Kiddle and Maria L. O. Muñoz, “Introduction,” in Populism in Twentieth Century Mexico, pp. 1-14; Joseph and Buchenau, Mexico's Once and Future Revolution, p. 168.

49. Keller, Renata, “A Foreign Policy for Domestic Consumption: Mexico's Lukewarm Defense of Castro, 1959–1969,” Latin American Research Review 47:2 (2012), pp. 100119.

50. Walker, Waking from the Dream, p. 21.

51. Paul Gillingham and Benjamin T. Smith, “The Paradoxes of Revolution,” in Dictablanda: Politics, Work and Culture in Mexico, p. 22. For a rejection of “authoritarian” as useful descriptor of PRI practice, see Jeffrey Rubin's concluding essay in that work, “Contextualizing the Regime: What 1938–1968 Tells Us about Mexico, Power, and Latin America's Twentieth Century,” pp. 379–395.

52. Gilbert M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent, eds., Everyday Forms of State Formation; Mary Kay Vaughan, Cultural Politics in Revolution; Joseph, Gilbert M., Rubinstein, Anne, and Zolov, Eric, eds., Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico since 1940 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001).

53. Krauze, Enrique, La presidencia imperial: ascenso y caída del sistema político mexicano (1940–1996) (Mexico: Tusquets Editores, 1997), p. 370.

54. Jeffrey Rubin, “Contextualizing the Regime,” p. 390.

55. In effect, I argue for moving beyond revisionist approaches to the post-1968 period. Historians have done this successfully for other periods in Mexican history but revisionist interpretations persist in discussions of the PRI's response to 1968-era dissidence.

56. “Regresan las mejoradoras a sus comunidades a enseñar,” Carteles del Sur, May 3, 1969.

57. Periódico Oficial, Gobierno Constitucional del Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca (August 2, 1969), Tomo LL, 31, decree no. 68, Archivo General del Poder Ejecutivo del Estado de Oaxaca [hereafter AGEPEO], Concertación, Costal IIISEO; “Castellanización e integración es la meta de las mejoradoras y promotores sociales,” Carteles del Sur, March 23, 1969; “Plan de castellanización,” Carteles del Sur, March 24, 1969. For a brief description of the IIISEO's origins, see Sigüenza, Salvador, Héroes y escuelas: la educación en la Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, 1927–1972 (Mexico: INAH; IEEPO, 2007), pp. 251253; and María Luisa Acevedo Conde, interview by author, May 12, 2010, Oaxaca City.

58. See Ahuja, Gloria Bravo, La enseñanza del español a los indígenas mexicanos (Mexico: Colegio de México, 1977), pp. 292326. Here she outlines the linguistic foundation for what she termed the “audiovisual” method.

59. While the INI did engage in research, especially during the early 1950s, it focused much more on development work and the administration of government resources. This would become a major point of criticism by dissident anthropologists in the 1970s.

60. Over the course of the decade that the IIISEO operated, it graduated a number of people with bachelor's degrees, and a handful of master's degrees, but it never produced a PhD.

61. Elsie Rockwell, interview by author, April 5, 2010, Mexico City.

62. This shift was on display at the1968 Inter-American Indigenista Congress in Mexico in which young social scientists denounced the previous generation as facilitating exploitation and internal colonialism. See A. S. Dillingham, “Return to Pátzcuaro: Dependency Theory and Language Policy at the 1968 Congreso Indigenista Interamericano,” in “Indigenismo and its Discontents: Bilingual Teachers and the Democratic Opening in Oaxaca, Mexico, 1954–1982” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 2012), pp. 82–114.

63. Warman, Arturo, Nolasco, Margarita, Bonfil, Guillermo, Olivera, Mercedes, and Valencia, Enrique, De eso que llaman antropología mexicana (Mexico: Editorial Nuestro Tiempo, 1970), p. 58. Some of the same figures were involved in a short-lived project in Chiapas, the Escuela de Desarrollo Regional (School of Regional Development), opened in 1971. The school's first director was Alfonso Villa Rojas; the second was Mercedes Olivera.

64. Arturo Warman, et al., De eso que llaman, p. 80.

65. Rosemblatt, Karin Alejandra, “Other Americas: Transnationalism, Scholarship, and the Culture of Poverty in Mexico and the United States,” Hispanic American Historical Review 89:4 (November 2009), p. 639; Shepard, Todd, “Algeria, France, Mexico, UNESCO: A Transnational History of Anti-Racism and Decolonization, 1932–1962,” Journal of Global History 6:2 (July 2011), pp. 273297.

66. Cardoso, Fernando and Faletto, Enzo, Dependency and Development in Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).

67. For his most representative work, see Illich, Ivan, Deschooling Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1971).

68. See the influential work of Calvet, Louis-Jean, Linguistique et colonialisme. Petit traité de glottophagie (Paris: Editions Payot, 1974).

69. Hartch, Todd, Missionaries of the State: The Summer Institute of Linguistics, State Formation, and Indigenous Mexico, 1935–1985 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006), p. 157.

70. Gloria Ruiz de Bravo Ahuja, Beatriz Garza Cuarón, and Margarita Nolasco, ca. April 1974, IIISEO, María Luisa Acevedo Conde's personal papers, Oaxaca City. In addition, Evangelina Arana de Swadesh, a linguist from the ENAH and the wife of US linguist Morris Swadesh, along with researchers from the Summer Institute of Linguistics, collaborated with the IIISEO in its initial years.

71. Bravo Ahuja et al., IIISEO, ca. April 1974, María Luisa Acevedo Conde's personal papers, Oaxaca City, p. 3. “For the first time, this group is offered real access to higher levels of education without necesarily ceasing to be indigneous."

72. The entrance exam was framed along the lines of a Spearman factor G exam. The institute chose the Spearman model because of its alleged ability to test general aptitude and intellectual capacity regardless of one's language abilities.

73. Bases del IIISEO, Victor Bravo Ahuja and Ramón Bonfíl, ca. 1972, Secretaría de Educación Pública, Dirección General de Educación Extraescolar en el Medio Indígena [hereafter SEP DGEEMI], caja 9188, folio 38, p. 8. See also Gloria R. de Bravo Ahuja and Beatriz Garza Cuarón, Problemas de integración (Mexico: IIISEO, 1970), p. 14. The predominance of young women in the first entering class reflected the institute's history as an all-girls school in its previous iteration as the EMHR.

74. María Luisa Acevedo Conde's personal papers, Oaxaca City. In this way the institution drew directly from Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán's “regions of refuge” thesis. See Beltrán, Aguirre, Regiones de refugio. El desarrollo de la comunidad y el proceso dominical en mestizo América (Mexico: Instituto Indigenista Interamericano, 1967).

75. Felipe Feria, interview by author, April 28, 2010, Santa Rosa, Oaxaca City.

76. Los promotores del IIISEO, ca. April 1974, María Luisa Acevedo Conde's personal papers, Oaxaca City

77. Eleazar García Ortega, interview by Alverino López López, August 2, 2007, Oaxaca City.

78. Servando Vergulo Aparecio, interview by author, San Lucas Yosonicaje, Oaxaca, September 8, 2010.

79. One conflict involving a local cacique took place in San Pedro Amuzgos (Putla) and involved the promotores Melchor Camerino López and Filegonio Moreno Olmedo. See the report of January 23, 1976, AGN IPS, caja 1770C, exp. 12.

80. Bases del IIISEO, ca. 1972, Victor Bravo Ahuja and Ramón Bonfíl, p. 9, SEP DGEEMI, caja 9188, fol. 98.

81. Acevedo Conde, interview, May 12, 2010.

82. While there is a substantial literature on the social role of rural schoolteachers, particularly during the Cárdenas years, by mid-century teachers trained in normal schools often focused on classroom instruction as opposed to community involvement. The promotores’ job description along with their political formation led them to collaborate closely with communities, be it in basic health routines or in land seizures.

83. IX Censo General de Población, January 28, 1970, Estado de Oaxaca, Vol. I (Mexico: Secretaria de Industria y Comercio, Dirección General de Estadística, 1971), p. 3.

84. The 1971 documentary film México: la revolución congelada by Argentine director Raymundo Gleyzer dramatically depicts the crisis facing parts of rural Mexico. In 1972 the INI commissioned a documentary on the Mixteca Alta's regional market, entitled Iño savi and directed by Olivia Carrión, Epigmenio Ibarra, and Gonzalo Infante. It too depicted material deprivation affecting the rural population. This agricultural crisis was also tied to overall population growth.

85. For long-standing disputes, see Smith, Benjamin T., Pistoleros and Popular Movements: The Politics of State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009). For examples of land seizures, see Pacheco, Cuauhtémoc González, “La lucha de clases en Oaxaca: 1960–1970 (primera parte),” in Oaxaca: una lucha reciente: 1960–1978, Bustamente, René al., eds. (Mexico: Ediciones Nueva Sociología, 1978), p. 29.

86. Francisco José Ruiz Cervantes, “La lucha de clases en Oaxaca: 1971-1977 (segunda parte),” in Oaxaca: una lucha reciente: 1960–1978, p. 49.

87. Jeffery Rubin, Decentering the Regime, p. 131.

88. Corres, Jaime Bailón, “Los avatares de la democracia (1970–2008),” in Oaxaca: Historia Breve (Mexico: Colegio de México/Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010), p. 254.

89. This lack of basic material support led Santiago Salazar, an eventual leader of the promotores’ movement, to describe his generation as “soldados sin fusil” (soldiers without arms). Santiago Salazar, interview by author, December 15, 2009, Oaxaca City.

90. Report, April 30, 1975, AGN IPS, caja 1544-A, exp. 2.

91. Santiago Salazar, interview, December 15, 2009.

92. Ricardo López has offered a parallel argument for youth employed in Alliance for Progress initiatives in Colombia. See López, , “From Middle Class to Petit Bourgeoisie: Cold War Politics and Classed Radicalization in Bogotá, 1958–1972,” Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe 25:2 (2014), pp. 99130.

93. Eleazar García Ortega, interview, August 2, 2007.

94. Ibid.

95. Miguel La Serna, Corner of the Living, p. 64.

96. Santiago Salazar, interview, April 19, 2010.

97. IIISEO rosters, ca. April 1974, María Luisa Acevedo Conde's personal papers, Oaxaca City.

98. Felipe Feria, interview. For a discussion of postrevolutionary athletic reforms, see Vaughan, Cultural Politics in Revolution, p. 94.

99. María Luisa Acevedo Conde, interview, May 12, 2010.

100. Convenio que se celebra entra la Dirección General del IIISEO y la Coalición de Promotores, April 23, 1974, personal papers of Santiago Salazar. The coalition was officially founded on April 2, 1974.

101. For a comparable experience in the state of Michoacán, see Vargas, María Eugenia, Educación e ideología: constitución de una categoría de intermediarios en la comunicación interétnica. El caso de los maestros bilingües tarascos (1964–1982) (Mexico: CIESAS, 1994), p. 140.

102. Report, November 30, 1974, AGN IPS, caja 1544-A, exp. 2.

103. Ibid.

104. Report, July 31, 1975, Archivo General de la Nación, Dirección Federal de Seguridad [hereafter AGN DFS], Zarate Aquino, caja 148, parte 1/4.

105. Each report by federal agents at the time ends with the phrase, “Until now, no violent incidents have occurred.”

106. The director of the Tlaxiaco center, José Martínez Fortiz, cabled INI offices in Mexico City, on April 7, stating, “Allow me to inform you that a group of IIISEO promotores are causing problems at this office.” Radiogram, April 7, 1975, Archivo Histórico del Centro Coordinador Indigenista de la Mixteca, Tlaxiaco, costal 1975, Radiogramas.

107. Report, April 8, 1975, AGN IPS, caja 1544-A, exp. 2.

108. Santiago Salazar, interview, December 15, 2009.

109. Francisco Abardía Moros, interview by author, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, March 11, 2014.

110. Report, April 30, 1975, AGN IPS, caja 1544-A, exp. 2.

111. Rubin, Decentering the Regime, p. 131.

112. Despite their lack of representation in movement leadership, promotoras were arrested in similar numbers to their male counterparts. Out of 81 people detained after a COCEO demonstration in Oaxaca City on February 10, 1976, 43 were women from either the IIISEO or the state normal school. See the report of February 10, 1976, AGN IPS, caja 1770C, exp. 12.

113. Eva Ruiz Ruiz, interview by author, Santa Lucia del Camino, December 11, 2009, Oaxaca City.

114. Convenio que se celebra por una parte la Secretaría de Educación Pública y por la otra los representantes de los Promotores Bilingües egresados del Instituto de Investigación y Integración Social del Estado de Oaxaca, May 3, 1975, AGEPEO, Concentración, costal IIISEO, exp. S.P.-5.12/9/75-IIISEO.

115. Estado de Oaxaca (306), undated report, ca. April 1975, AGN DFS, caja 147, primera parte. The report states that it “became known that a commission of the promotores, led by members of the Coalición Obrero-Campesina-Estudiantil, will meet with the president of the republic on May 2, in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, and that they will make known to him their problems.”

116. Paco Ignacio Taibo II, “Experimento en Oaxaca (1): ‘En esta barranca se enseña castellano,’ “El trabajo de los promotores en pueblos perdidos,” El Universal (Mexico), December 27, 1976.

117. Reports of March 2, 1977, at 22:20 hours and 23:15 hours, AGN IPS, caja 1770C, exp 15.

118. The IIISEO's Xoxocatlán campus was converted into a technical agricultural school. It was rumored that the subsequent governor used the school to host private parties.

119. Initial agreement with castellanización policies. See Eva Ruiz Ruiz, interview, December 11, 2009. Freire's most important work was first published in 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th ed. (New York: Continuum, 2000).

120. For an analysis of the intellectual formation of this generation, see Moreschi, Alejandra Aquino, “La generación de la ‘emergencia indígena’ y el comunalismo oaxaqueño. Genealogía de un proceso de descolonización,” Cuadernos del Sur 15:20 (July-December 2010), pp. 721. See also Rendón, Juan José, La comunalidad. Modo de vida en los pueblos indios, Vol. 1 (Mexico: CONACULTA, 2003).

121. See Bojórquez, Fernando Soberanes, ed., Pasado, presente y futuro de la educación indígena. Memoria del Foro Permanente por la Reorientación de la Educación y el Fortalecimiento de las Lenguas y Culturas Indígenas (Mexico: Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, 2003).

122. Jeffery Rubin, “Contextualizing the Regime,” p. 390.

123. Acevedo Conde, interview, May 12, 2010.

124. Ramón Cota Meza articulates the argument regarding developmentalism's unintended consequences in his article, “Indigenismo y autonomía indígena,” Letras Libres (Mexico), August 2001, pp. 47–50. Similarly in the case of Ecuador, Marc Becker, citing Fernando Guerrero and Pablo Ospina, identifies the Communist Party, developmentalist policies of the 1960s, and progressive Catholic groups as the main contributors to indigenous resurgence. See Becker, Mark, Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous Movement (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008), p. 12.

125. While it may be alluring to tell a story of the “perfect dictatorship” as if it were comparable to understanding the interworking of a timepiece, neither the state nor the PRI functioned in a sealed metal casing. Rather, they dealt with changing circumstances, foreign and domestic, and were themselves internally heterogeneous.

126. Servando Vergulo Aparecio, interview by author, September 8, 2010.

I would like to thank all of those in Oaxaca who shared their stories with me. I also thank Eric Zolov and the two anonymous reviewers at The Americas who provided crucial feedback on this article. Mary Kay Vaughan, Karin Rosemblatt, Gladys McCormick, Alexander Dawson, and Holly Worthen gave critical commentary on various drafts, and I am grateful for their generosity. Stuart Easterling shaped this article in its early stages, and Adam Goodman and Pedro Monaville provided excellent advice during the final revisions. The Inter-American Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Spencer Foundation provided material support for the research on which this article is based.

Indigenismo Occupied: Indigenous Youth and Mexico's Democratic Opening (1968–1975)

  • A. S. Dillingham (a1)


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