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Part VII explores the shocks attending Mexico’s postwar modernization, which came in the form of growing rural and urban poverty, environmental destruction, political corruption, official manipulation of workers and peasants, and violence against dissident popular leaders, culminating in the massacre of several hundred student protestors in Tlatelolco Plaza in October 1968. The massacre, along with a series of dramatic social, political, and natural events—the disastrous earthquakes that struck Mexico City in 1985, the fraud-riddled presidential campaign of 1988, the signing of NAFTA and the immediate outbreak of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, and several high-level political assassinations—registered substantial impacts on civil society, bringing dissident movements aboveground and making them more inclusive of Mexican society at large. This succession of noteworthy events indicates that there are limits to what Mexicans are prepared to endure, and that change can, for the most part, be brought about peacefully.

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