Sep 12, 2012

With Mexico's election results upheld, what's next for the YoSoy132 movement?

The youth movement that emerged in opposition to the media's campaign coverage of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto is redefining its message and working to give new life to Mexico's democracy.

CSM: Lauren Villagran,  Mexico City / September 11, 2012

When student protestors took to the streets after a government tribunal dismissed charges of fraud and upheld the results of Mexico’s July presidential election last month, they said they mourned “the death of democracy.” But not the end of their movement.

Known for its Twitter hash tag, #YoSoy132 emerged before this summer’s presidential election in opposition to what the students called favoritism by the television media for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. Mr. Peña Nieto ultimately won the election with 38 percent of the vote in a field of four.

The election now settled, many are questioning what YoSoy132 will do next. Their No. 1 goal remains fair access to information and the “democratization” of Mexico’s media, according to a message emitted to coincide with President Felipe Calderón’s sixth and final state of the union address earlier this month. But the ad-hoc student movement, criticized early on for its lack of organization and focus, is still struggling to create a unified message, leaving some to question its significance and potential to endure in Mexico today.

“The problem with the movement is not whether it continues to have a voice; it’s that it has too many,” says Carlos Bravo Regidor, professor of political studies at Mexico City’s CIDE research center. “The internal diversity at times appears to overpower [the group’s] capacity to deliver coherent and effective messages.”

From nonpolitical marches against media manipulation to the “taking” of government buildings in the state of Veracruz to behind-the-scenes work on proposals for public policy, the private and public university students who consider themselves a part of the YoSoy132 movement differ as much on method as message.

That diversity is a source of strength, says Antonio Attolini, a political science student at Mexico City’s private Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM).  Read more. 

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