A parade in front of the presidential palace in Mexico City on Thursday (16 September) ushered in four days of holidays celebrating the anniversary of Mexico's independence.
GV TILT DOWN FROM bell TO President Echeverria on balcony
SV Bugler playing
SV Peruvian contingent on parade
CU Turkish flag PAN TO Turkish contingent parading ZOOM OUT TO Venezuelan and Yugoslavian contingents
SV German and Canadian groups on parade
SV Colombian followed by Cuban groups on parade
GV Troops march past and dip flag to President
SV Echeverria viewing from balcony
SV Troops (including women in uniform) marching past (3 shots)
CU Echeverria watching armoured vehicles parading
SV Foreign military officials viewing parade (2 shots)
SV Marchers carrying floats ZOOM OUT TO GV parade in progress (2 shots)
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Background: A parade in front of the presidential palace in Mexico City on Thursday (16 September) ushered in four days of holidays celebrating the anniversary of Mexico's independence.
SYNOPSIS: President Luis Echeverria watched from the balcony of the presidential palace as the parade took place below. It was attended by thousands of Mexicans and dozens of dignitaries from foreign countries. Contingents from Peru, Turkey, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Canada, Colombia and Cuba took part in a march past before the President to mark the occasion. This aspect of the anniversary celebrations passed without incident, but in other parts of the city, violence accounted for 20 dead and more than 500 injured. According to police and Red Cross officials, these included five murders and eleven traffic deaths. There were also four fatalities from alcoholic poisoning. The murders were connected with incidents caused mainly by the country's economic situation, highlighted by the government's decision to float the peso.
Two weeks before the anniversary President Echeverria told the nation Mexico would seek bigger drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund and the United States treasury to control the floating of the peso. He said the float would be regulated by the Bank of Mexico in order to avoid excessive fluctuations, unrepresentative of the true economic position of the country.
Within one week of the peso's floating status it fell in value by 40 per cent. Mexicans are having to big deeper into their pockets to buy basic foodstuffs and they have threatened a general strike as a result. Prices of nearly all goods and basic services are rising and foods such as meat are already up 20 per cent since the float. Imported goods have doubled in price. Mexico, one of the richest developing countries, has suffered a sharp cut in its growth rate since 1974. This was accompanied by a yawning trade deficit, heavy foreign borrowing, under-use of industrial plants and growing unemployment.