Why Mexico has not yet have its Arab spring?
Photo by Gabriel Infante
The terrible state that Mexico stands currently, deserves, without any doubt a peaceful social uprising, not just because of the violence that has stirred up since president Calderon launched the war on drugs on December of 2006, but also by the social inequality, poverty, unemployment, corruption within the government, the injustice —that the country has been dragging for decades — and the lack of opportunity of the great majority of the Mexican youth. The weary of the Mexican society is imminent and widespread, but there is something that is holding back to make this happen.
As we all know, the so called Arab spring and the Spanish Revolution would have not taken place if it wasn’t for the enthusiasm of the youth for change. In the Arab world is to overdraw totalitarian dictatorship regimes and establish democracy. In Spain, is the call to change the political and economical system, that are blameworthy, they say, of the severe economical crises that is afflicting the Iberian country, and that thousands of Spaniards, specially the youth that are in an unemployed situation.
The situation of the majority of the Mexican youth is not that different from the young Arabs and Spaniards who went out to the streets and camped in the main squares to demand for a real change. In Mexico there are 7 millions of young people that are in the situation of what the authorities catalog as “NINIS” (those that neither study nor work), a terminology that I frankly consider insulting. Rather then the government and the society works to revert this — despite that they have recognized that this sector of the society is the most vulnerable, because they run the risk of falling into the claws of the organized crime —, they are marginalized; they aren’t taken into account; they are denied to speak; they aren’t ask what are their real needs; they are completely underestimated and the society in general have them in an erroneous concept. There is no doubt that the Mexican youth has a lot to protest, to speak up and be heard, but perhaps this indifference may be the reason of why the great majority aren’t interested in politics and get involved in social causes. That is why I see unlikely that a social uprising in Mexico will emerge and be led by the youth.
"We are fed up that they silenced us, supplant our voices,make us wait; they completely blow us off like the politicians do!"
"This happened at the end of the peace rally on April 6th 2011 in Mexico City main square, El Zócalo".
In the past years I have witnessed two mass rallies, previous to the ones that the Mexican poet, Javier Sicilia is currently leading. The first one took place on June 27th 2004, in which, according to figures of the press, 4 millions Mexicans went out to the streets to demand security and an end to kidnapping and more tougher sentences; it was unprecedented. Little more then four years later, on August 30th 2008, took place the denominated mass protest ‘Iluminemos México’ (Enlighten Mexico) and that was organized after the kidnapping and murdered of the 14 year old son of the businessman, Alejandro Martí, that outraged the society. Both of these mass rallies were called by civic organizations, reason why it had a lot of media attention, but it didn’t led to any significant change, and now the country is facing the most critical situation since the Mexican Revolution.
For the disgrace of the Mexican society, the so called civic organizations, those that managed to mobilized millions of Mexicans to the streets and which its reason to be, is to give voice to the citizens, specially to victims of crime, have been corrupted by the government, specially those that distinguished to be critical to the federal policies and strategies — by offering money, benefits and public post to the leaders— to silence any discontent, as it assured the activist and former president of the civic organization “México Unido Contra la Delincuencia” (Mexico United Against Crime), Eduardo Gallo, in an interview given to the weekly magazine “Proceso” published on May 8th 2011. As evidence of this, non of these organizations backed the mass rally of May 8th called by the Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, because they considered it as the “major political of violence and insecurity manipulation to attack President Calderon and make accountable to the army”, because they had alleged suspicions that the rally was supported by the left wing government of Mexico City and some media outlets. However, the true reasons for not supporting this social movement is the discourse and the demands expressed in the April 6th rally, in which they blame the government for the spiral of violence in the country and the demand to change the drug war stratagies, something that these organizations don’t agree.
Unfortunately Mexicans are always looking up for leaders; waiting to be called, for someone to motivates them and be guided, which I personally believe it’s a terrible mistake. Today everyone is following Javier Sicilia and tomorrow, who will they follow? Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the movement led by the Mexican poet, which turned his personal tragedy into a national movement that woke up the conscience of many and above all, the anonymous victims of the drug war, that were just a number in the statistics, are emerging and now they have a name and face. Nevertheless, the question that remains in the air is, if this movement will go beyond the figure of Javier Sicilia or simply it will fade away. Mexicans should keep in mind that the key that made the Arab uprising a success, at least in Egypt and Tunisia, was that it emerged spontaneously without leaders nor prominent figures; they organized themselves through the social media and they went out to be heard. After the victory of the Egyptians, in Mexico, thousands of expressions have flowed through Twitter suggesting to follow the example of the Tunisians and Egyptians, but no action has been taken beyond that. What is stopping to take that huge step? I sense that fear might have something to do. Maybe there is a false belief that a rally backed by an organization or public figure is more legitimate then those called by regular citizens? Which ever is the reason, if Mexicans really desires a true change for the country, it has to come from them and not from civic organizations, at the end these have a political beforehand agenda and their own interests, that have led them to aligned with the government instead of seeing for the interests of the citizens.