A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Monday, Sept. 14, 2011

Catón remembers 40th anniversary
of Mexico's Woodstock, Avándaro

He says it damaged aspirations of Jorge Hank Rhon's father

Columnist also cites his witnessing of Reagan-hippie confrontation

The Mexican columnist Catón dedicated part of Monday's column to the 40th anniversary of catonMexico's Woodstock, the Avándaro music festival. He said it drew 300,000 youths and frightened not only the organizers, who did not expect such large numbers, but also the government, still skittish after the 1968 Mexican student protests and the 1968 Tlaltelolco massacre.

He wrote that in the end, everything ended in politics, noting: "In this country, everything ends in politics." In 1971, Carlos Hank González was governor of Mexico state, where the event took place. "His enemies took advantage of the situation to attack him and close whatever path he might have to become president." (For Hank González to become president, the constitution would have had to be changed to allow the child of a foreign-born person to hold the nation's highest office.) He was blamed for a depraved debauchery, pointing to the case of a euphoric young woman who bared her breasts and of young men "who with too much inspiration showed off their manhood." Catón's column.

The late Hank was the father of former Tijuana Mayor and gambling magnate Jorge Hank Rhon.

Catón said he did not attend the rock festival as he was 33 at the time and that youths at that time distrusted anyone over 30.

He also took the occasion to say tell the story of how when he was a student intern at the Sacramento Bee during the same era, he happened to be the only reporter around when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan was accosted by a small group of hippies yelling, "Make love, not war." Reagan told the protesters that they were incapable of either.

Catón said his story on the confrontation ran in hundreds of newspapers when it went out on the Associated Press wire.

A CBS news reminiscence of that event, or a similar one.