Student movement have spiced up Mexico’s election campaign
“Welcome to the Mexican spring, where the youth have flourish and spread their ideas like pollen, where the hearts are lit and opens minds makes tangible the illusion. Welcome to this day that we can change the course of our time, united and organized we can tip the balance. No longer nuances of language will separate us, will be connected like never before. No longer we will fear, no longer we will wait. The youth has awakened and shaken those still asleep, listless, the corrupt, manipulators and the rulers who wants to exploit the people and to continue bloated their ego. Its time for a change, time to connect our compasses to the same direction, time to gather and start the explosion. It’s time for a different Mexico. We aren’t two, we aren’t one hundred, we are more then 131, we are more then 132, we are thousands...!”
(Recorded by Gabriel Infante, author of this blog)
With these words, a young student gave the welcoming to thousands of students gathered in the campus of Mexico’s most famed university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, for the first general assembly of the student movement known as #YoSoy132 or “I am 132”, that took place on May 30th.
The students movement that its entering to its third week, are protesting against television duopoly and information bias regarding to the current presidential election campaign, especially Mexico’s main television network, Televisa, which according to them, this network is unfairly boosting the candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto from the former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is currently leading the polls. They are demanding the democratization and openness of Mexico’s mainstream media, a fair and transparent election. The movement is also joining and supporting other social causes of the country.
The movement rose spontaneously after the frontrunner candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, visited the private Iberoamericana University in Mexico City on May 11th, where students confronted him on his record as governor of the State of Mexico. The student showed their repudiation by chanting “The Ibero doesn’t want you!” "Coward! or “Assassin!”, recalling the Atenco police crackdown in 2006.
The mainstream media gave a scant attention, and specially Televisa, reported that the candidate came out triumphant from his visit to the university and the PRI dismissed that those that demonstrated weren’t students, but infiltrators and that they were manipulated by the rival parties. The students reacted rapidly to those allegations by posting a video on Youtube titled: “131 students of the Ibero respond”, where they appeared with their university ID in hand and giving their names and registrations number and claiming that they weren’t trained nor manipulated by anyone. The video went viral in just a few hours that gain the sympathy of students from other private and public universities declaring their support by saying “I am 132”.
Since then, the students have led marches on the streets to Televisa headquarters and government offices gathering thousands, such as the mass march on May 23rd, that surpassed the expectations of many, and has not been seen since the student movement of 1968 that ended with a government crackdown and massacre in the nightfall of October 2nd, prior to the Olympic games that year.
The youth vote could be decisive on next months elections, since they represents 30.3% of the electoral list. Of this total, the largest age range register is occupied by those ranging the ages of 20 to 24 with 10, 404,509 eligible voters; six years ago, this only represented 16.83%
Therefore if the voter turnout is similar of 2006 that stood at 58.5%, the 30.3% of young voters could influence the outcome of the election on July 1st.
Note: Photo for main image taken by Gabriel Infante