Dirección Federal de Seguridad (Mexico) Security Reports, 1970-1977
La guerra sucia (dirty war) in Mexico was a period of military and political upheaval that lasted from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. One of the seminal events during this time was the Tlatelolco Massacre. On the night of 2 October 1968 the Mexican army confronted student protesters in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, killing and wounding hundreds. Eye witnesses blamed President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz’s security forces for the violence, while the government pointed toward Communist agitators and other extremists among the protesters. Luís Echeverría Álvarez was Díaz Ordaz’s minister of the interior at the time, and was seen by many as being primarily responsible for the Tlatelolco Massacre.
In 1970 Echeverría won the Mexican presidency as the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) candidate. While he liberalized many of Mexico’s economic and international policies—he increased public spending and developed closer ties with the socialist governments of Chile and Cuba—Echeverría remained adamant not to allow any left-leaning groups to develop within Mexico. His administration's anti-left program was demonstrated on 10 June 1971 when a right wing paramilitary group known as Los Halcones was allowed to openly attack a group of peaceful marchers in Mexico City. The incident became known as la matanza del Jueves de Corpus or El Halconazo. Although Echeverría claimed his innocence, it was later determined that many of the Halcones were on the payroll of the government. Not wanting another Tlatelolco incident during his administration, Echeverría was resolute that university student, staff, and faculty groups be monitored and controlled during his term in office. It fell to Capitán Luis de la Barreda Moreno and his Dirección Federal de Seguridad agents to infiltrate and gather intelligence on the various leftist organizations.
The Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) was a government security agency created in 1947 during the presidency of Miguel Alemán. Organizationally part of the Secretaria de Gobernación, the DFS was assigned the duty of preserving the internal stability of Mexico against all forms subversion and terrorist threats. The DFS traced its immediate origins as a government agency to the Departamento de Investigación Política y Social (1942). Its lineage also included the Oficina de Información Política (1938) and the Departamento Confidencial (1929). However, its ultimate foundation could be found in President Venustiano Carranza’s Sección Primera, which was formed during the Revolution in 1918 and assigned the task of performing espionage on the enemy camp. In 1985 the DFS closed its doors and was replaced by the Dirección General de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional.
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The daily reports or briefings of the Mexican Dirección Federal de Seguridad provide detailed and organized record of the activities of student, staff, and faculty groups in Mexico from 1970 through 1977. The reports are arranged in chronological order, though some gaps in coverage do exist. Specific missing dates or gaps in the collection are noted in the folder inventory below.
Each daily report is organized into two parts. The first focuses on the Federal District, especially the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The second section covers the states of Mexico, which are further subdivided by group or school. Depending on the level of activity throughout the country, daily coverage varies from two or three states to more than a dozen, and reports vary from a few pages to forty pages per day. Each daily report provides a detailed summary or description of each meeting, activity, or incident observed. The names of leaders, active participants, and any recognized persons are listed. Any handouts or newsletters are quoted or are copied and attached to each report.
A wide range of individual groups and activities were monitored. Groups found in these reports include both local and national organizations. Found herein are reports on communist and socialist organizations such as the Partido Comunista Mexicano and the Movimiento Revolucionario del Magisterio, as well as labor unions like Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación.
Given the breadth of coverage, briefings on group activities run from the mundane—campus elections, having access to equipment, demands for higher pay, and requests for more scholarships or automatic admission to UNAM for secondary school graduates—to the more serious and extreme, such as those involving arrests, abductions, and killings, like the protests against the governor of Puebla or students joining campesinos protesting expulsion in Hidalgo.
In summary, this collection of reports provides a detailed and organized record of the activities of a large and varied group of organizations over a six year period. It documents their concerns, complaints and protests to local and federal educational administrators and describes their expression of opposition to govermental actions and policies. Finally, it demonstrates the scope of federal intelligence relating to these groups, their leaders and their plans.
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Cite as: Dirección Federal de Seguridad (Mexico) Security Reports, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.
Box and Folder Inventory