Tag Archives: Yo Soy # 132

The Young People

I am honored that Elena Poniatowska has given me permission to translate and print an article she wrote for the Mexico City newspaper “La Jornada.”

You may or may not know that Elena Poniatowska is Mexico’s premier writer and journalist. She has won countless national and international awards but she claims her greatest joy is her family. On her 80th birthday she was asked if she would keep writing, “Oh yes, I have to…” she said,” I want to dedicate a book to each of my grandchildren!”

 Elena is the author of “Massacre in Mexico”, the chronicle that gave voice to the victims of the 1968 tragedy at Tlatelolco. She loves Mexico and says that the spontaneous student movement, begun on May 11,th  has filled her with new hope and energy.

 She wrote this article: “The Young People” for all the #Yo soy 132 supporters – those who are young and those who are young at heart.

 ¡Viva México!

THE YOUNG PEOPLE

 BY:   ELENA PONIATOWSKA

One Sunday, fifty years ago, I went to Los Remedios with my son Mane and the engraver Alberto Beltran. We had to climb over a small hill and I could see that for 5 year old Mane, this required a great effort. I stretched out my hand. “Leave him alone, he has to learn to do it on his own,” said Alberto Beltran. At the time I worried that my son would fall. I didn’t get it then, but now I understand and I am thankful.

I am telling this little story because of the student movement that began on May 11th with  jeering, whistling and yelling aimed at the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto.

This movement has released the spirit of Mexican people, and for this very reason, it is important that we not take advantage of the young people. They must not be used, and what they had the ability to start – all on their own, without help from any political party or figurehead, must not be taken away from them.

The #Yo soy 132 movement has already won some victories:

  • They have been heard throughout the country and no one has shut them down.
  • They have forced the national television stations to comply with Article 62 of the Federal Radio & Television laws and commit to broadcasting the second presidential debate.
  • The students have obliged the Secretariat of State and Immigration to remove the barricades that impeded public access.
  • They have demanded that Televisa and TV Azteca answer their questions.
  • Their actions caused Enrique Peña Nieto to declare that he will not speak at any more universities.
  • The students have asked for political charges to be leveled against Calderon, Peña Nieto and Elba Ester Gordillo.
  • But perhaps in the long run, their greatest achievement will have been to unite the private and public university students.

Working class guys from the public high schools and stylish girls from exclusive Ibero are all # 132.

The young people have put our election in the world’s eyes. Now we are seen as more than news about the drug wars. The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. are all watching Mexico’s youth.

The letter written by the Rector of the Ibero, José Morales Orozco, stipulates that he will protect his students because they are free, intelligent beings.

At conferences I am commonly asked about the differences between the young people of 1968 and those of today. I perpetually answer that youth is always the same. Now they have shown that this is true.

Today’s students, like those of ’68 are willing to stand up for Mexico, and they don’t need anyone to tell them how to do so.

PS: I am doubly pleased to print this article today because it is my 400th post. I did not plan it this way, it just happened… one of México’s lovely serendipitous surprises.

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Yo soy # 132: What do they want?

Many are asking, “What does the ‘Yo soy # 132’ hope to achieve?”

The list is very lengthy, but if you have a close look at it, the demands are actually a petition for the implementation, proper functioning, monitoring and follow-up to resolutions for civil liberties that are already (supposedly) part of the Mexican Constitution and Charter of Rights.

The “Yo Soy #132” group also calls for the abolishment of common practices that allow the unfair advantage in the electoral process.

Finally “Yo Soy #132” proposes parameters for post-election safeguards to protect and improve health, education and other social services.

If you would like to read an English translation of the document, visit the Mexfiles site:

http://mexfiles.net/2012/06/01/provisional-resolution-of-yo-soy-132-in-translation/

What are the Mexican people saying about the “Yo Soy #132?” In the central part of the country, they are energized and enthusiastic. Here in “the provinces” they are skeptical. They are not close enough to the stove to feel the heat. But I believe the young people will increase the fervor here too.

The bottom line? I believe that the “Yo Soy #132” movement is an important one but the direction it will continue to    take depends on many variables. The biggest threat to the student initiative is the infiltration by provocateurs. And here is where the general public can support the efforts of their youth. We can reject the obvious attempts to discredit or lay blame on the movement for negative actions that will be no doubt occur with frequency in this coming month.

There have already been and will be more accusations that the group promotes violence, coercion and political manipulation. This is simply not true. This is a spontaneous movement. It has not had time to mature; let us hope that truth will prevail and that los muchachos will foster some needed and lasting changes in the electoral process and in the honesty of Mexican political leadership.

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Yo Soy # 132

When the federal electoral campaign began, most political analysts did not consider that Mexican youth would be major contenders in the upcoming presidential election. For the most part they believed that the kids were apathetic and apolitical…they would sit by and accept, with little grumbling, the results at the polls. But a growing protest movement — dubbed “Yo Soy # 132″ — has flushed that opinion straight down the loo.

This past month students began protesting against the Establishment   (there’s a dusted-off term for you…) The main target is the Mexican media and their biased coverage of this election. The PRI candidate, Peña Nieto, is their choice for president.

On May 11th  an uncounted number of  students jeered at Peña Nieto when he addressed them at the Ibero University in Mexico City.  The Media tried to diminish the importance of their protest by reporting that there were only 131 students involved. There were many more than that… and so the students started to furiously spread the word:  “I am # 132” The slogan appeared on T shirts, banners, placards… Then a group of them made a You Tube video clip that went viral.

In such a short time, just 20 days, the whole momentum of the federal election campaign has shifted. That Peña Nieto will win is no longer a given. How could public opinion swing so quickly? Could it be that the citizens have never been convinced that the PRI candidate is “the Second Coming?” Now that another faction is making its views known – and very loudly – the rank and file citizens are stirring out of their own indifference.

The majority of Mexican families work extremely hard to keep their heads above water, and they have been cowered into submission. Theirs is an indifference born out of frustration, out of fear, out of experience with former regimes that dealt very harshly with opposition. Yet several thousand scruffy students are showing the country that protest is still alive and well. La Raza, the sleeping giant has been woken up from a long, long siesta.         

All the former protests come to mind, especially Tlatelolco, where students were mowed down by government troops. The older generation is understandably concerned that this bitter cup of poison could be forced on them again. But no, I don’t think so.

In 1968 there was no internet, cell phones belonged in Dick Tracey comic books, instant relaying of information via Twitter and Facbook? Nah… impossible! In 2012, everyone has access to this and more. Thanks to technology, there will be no unreported beating and carting away of the students.

The older generation of Mexicans needs to remember: THIS IS OUR WATCH… we have a responsibility to support our young, and when the hoopla dies down, we have to see they do not to get sucked into the system, as happened in 1968.

Some international residents may be feeling nervous. Don’t be. This is a good thing…. It’s been so long in coming, and no matter what the outcome on July 1st, our country will be stronger because of  “Yo soy # 132.”

¡Viva México!

Images: All images have come from Google.

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