Memory, state violence, and revolution: Mexico's dirty war in Ciudad Juárez

Vanessa Claire Johnson, University of Texas at El Paso


After the uprising that took place in Madera, Chihuahua on September 23, 1965, the first armed challenge to the state since the Mexican Revolution, the north became a region of historical significance for understanding the subsequent “Dirty War” that spanned from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Ciudad Juárez was a key locale in which a wide variety of revolutionary groups conducted both open and clandestine activities. Attempting to rouse the masses, a dedicated few organized protests, counter-meetings, popular assemblies, and launched a prepa popular to reorganize and democratize education. The Mexican state responded to these events with repression, with many Juárez residents jailed and some disappeared. This research compiles three oral histories of juarenses who were persecuted by the state for their political activity, as well as utilizes archives from regional newspapers to reconstruct several watershed events that affected the city. Through a theoretical framework that considers state violence, revolution and resistance, and collective memory, this research seeks to uncover both the motivations of some of the individuals persecuted, and questions how this time period is both remembered and forgotten today.

Subject Area

Latin American history|Latin American Studies

Recommended Citation

Johnson, Vanessa Claire, "Memory, state violence, and revolution: Mexico's dirty war in Ciudad Juárez" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000775.