An Archive of Counterinsurgency: State Anxieties and Peasant Guerrillas in Cold War Mexico

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4 Scopus citations


Recently declassified Mexican spy reports that tracked and analysed revolutionary guerrilla organisations during the 1960s and 1970s collectively form an archive of counterinsurgency. The archive produced knowledge on individuals and groups deemed subversive threats to the authoritarian rule of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). This article examines one declassified spy report produced in late August 1972 after a peasant guerrilla movement in the south-western Mexican state of Guerrero surprisingly ambushed two military convoys. In proposing a series of counterinsurgent solutions to defeat the guerrilla El Partido de los Pobres (The Party of the Poor, PDLP), this article argues that the document reveals an anxious state's need to restore balance to a political situation unexpectedly off balance. The document's main suggestion, targeting the insurrection's base of popular support, would form the core of the counterinsurgency waged by the PRI regime in Guerrero from 1972 to 1974.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Iberian and Latin American Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Mexico
  • PDLP
  • PRI
  • Spy Reports
  • counterinsurgency archive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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