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.”
Images: All images have come from Google.