May 30, 2012

Mexico election diary: The students are revolting

The EconomistTo the Press Club of Mexico City, where in a small, baking-hot room upstairs, about a dozen students were taking turns to pass around a muffled microphone. The event was fairly chaotic but nonetheless attracted journalists from around the world. I counted at least 15 television cameras. Why so much interest?

The students were from a new pressure-group called Yo Soy 132, or “I am number 132”. The movement emerged after Enrique Peña Nieto, the front-runner in July 1st’s presidential election, was roundly heckled by students on a visit to Mexico City’s Iberoamerican University on May 11th. Spinners from Mr Peña’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) suggested that the hecklers were not really students, but partisan imposters. Shortly afterwards, 131 of them posted a YouTube video affirming that they were indeed real students. Twitter was soon abuzz with others declaring that they didn’t much care for Mr Peña either, using the hashtag #yosoy132.

Since then a series of marches have been made under this banner, protesting both against Mr Peña and the favourable coverage that he allegedly receives from Televisa, a broadcaster which accounts for about 70% of Mexico’s free-to-view television audience. Some local newspapers have given the protesters enormous coverage: “Young people awaken”, read the front page of Reforma yesterday; “Youth vote, capable of deciding election”, said the splash in La Jornada.

There is good reason to be cautious about overstating the power of this movement. Read more. 

No comments:

Post a Comment