Exposing Scandals, Guarding Secrets:

Manuel Buendía, Columnismo, and the Unraveling of One-Party Rule in Mexico, 1965-1984

Article appearing in The Americas, Volume 72, Issue 3

  • Author:
  • Vanessa Freije
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Date: July, 2015
The Americas

On January 14, 1982, residents of Tula, Hidalgo, discovered the bodies of nine murdered men floating in a sewage drain emanating from Mexico City. All bore signs of gruesome torture. Red Cross workers soon located three more bodies, leading one reporter to describe the homicides as “the crime of the century.” Detectives initially asserted that the victims were drug traffickers who had been murdered by a rival gang. Manuel Buendía, in his weekday political column Red Privada, described the scene as “bloodcurdling,” employing his signature hard-boiled prose. Yet, the nation’s most prominent journalist was referring not only to the gore, but also to his suspicions that police had committed the crime.


  • New England Council of Latin American Studies, Honorable mention, Joseph T. Criscenti Best Article Award, 2016