Wednesday, 20 June 2012

#YoSoy132 and the election campaign

The massive student movement #YoSoy132 and its inspirational group #MasQue131 at Iberoamericana  are celebrating their success at organizing a third presidential debate in the Digna Ochoa Auditorium of the National Human Rights Commission without the help of IFE or the duopoly media powers Televisa and TV Azteca. They seem to be convinced that they are influencing the outcome of the presidential election scheduled for July 1, and for them last night's debate on radio and internet is just another indication that they can affect the outcome. (  and

In one sense they are right, the debate was widely monitored, and it gave the #YoSoy132 movement another major degree of legitimacy and influence on top of its three previous successes — the embarrassment of Enrique Peña Nieto at Iberoamericana University, the massive 100,000 person march in Mexico City on June 10th, and its success in forcing both Televisa and TV Azteca to broadcast the second official IFE debate on the evening of June 10th.

God bless #YoSoy132, but it may not be happening soon enough to affect the final outcome on  July 1! The 3rd student debate was more informative than either of the first two debates organized by IFE, but the fact is that only those who were committed to finding it on-line actually listened to it and paid attention, and most of those listeners had already decided how they would vote — anyone other than PRI. Even the PRI recognized that this debate would not help them and could only harm them in some areas: Enrique Peña Nieto didn't even appear — he was represented by an empty chair. At the end of the question period, the student moderator handed each of the 3 other candidates a folder containing questions that had come in throughout the evening and he put a stack of questions on the empty seat that had been reserved for Enrique Peña Nieto.

During the debate, Twitter was buzzing with comments and observations directing people to the most stable internet video, or buzzing with jokes and one-liners about why Enrique Peña Nieto wasn't there. Many of tweets suggested that he was hiding in the bathroom, or that he didn't come because there was no bathroom in the studio for him to hide (as he had done at Iberoamericana University in early May)

The fact is, the movement is still very much a central Mexico and it is an elite movement peopled by a generation that communicates through social media. And although Mexico has moved with a vengeance into the e-world, its users are not representative of the large swaths of this country of more than 110 million people.

There have been #YoSoy132 protests and rallies in other parts of Mexico, and there are many students and young people who have self-nominated themselves as members of #YoSoy132. The students have also established a website and twitter account to disseminate information about how to ensure that the election results are honest and clean. In other parts of Mexico, there are also many students and young people now writing letters of protest to IFE in strong voices demanding that the electoral oversight body make sure that the vote is fair and just. One of the most popular letters circulating is asking IFE to change the ballot because it could lead to confusion and spoiled ballots for Andrés Manuel López Obrador (his name will appear in 3 separate places because of his endorsement by 3 official parties). But those protests and organizational efforts outside of the capital region are unlikely to change the mind of enough people before July 1.

There have been a few polls this week that continue to show that the PRI and Enrique Peña Nieto have a large lead in preferential polls (above 40% of decided voters). Reforma, which is the most credible newspaper in Mexico, published a poll yesterday that indicated that Enrique Peña Nieto had the support of 42% (up from 38%) and that Andrés Manuel López Obrador had slipped to 30% from the previous poll's 34%. But what is most telling about this poll by Reforma is the pattern in the regional breakdowns. The following diagram indicates that the Progressive movement led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (with the support of 3 parties) is clearly in the lead in Central Mexico (Mexico City, D.F.) and that he is running a close second in the south. But the PRI is overwhelmingly in the lead in the north (more than 50%) and is followed by Josefina Vázquez Mota in second place. PAN and Vázquez Mota are also running in a strong second in PAN's traditional support states to the west of Mexico City (e.g. Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero)
A screen image capture of Reforma June 19 results of voter intention.
#YoSoy132 may be on the move in Mexico City and in the Federal District, but this poll suggests that it has yet to make any major inroad beyond  central Mexico where 75 to 80% of the votes lie.

And sadly for #YoSoy132 and its enthusiastic supporters, those areas are unlikely to change before election day. They are PRI (or PAN) strongholds, and in some cases will be heavily influenced by narco money and the interests of the free-enterprise neo-liberals who have profited from maquiladoras and free trade with the USA. Furthermore, the "voto nullo" (vote for nobody) initiative promoted by many people (including Javier Sicilia) may have more influence in this zone that is most affected by the violence in Mexico.

There is a possibility — at this point remote — of a last minute switch and change of heart in the North and in the West of Mexico. One must always consider that the polling sample in the north may not be as representative as it is in Mexico City and DF, and also consider that there may be more people in the north who are not going to tip their hand before they enter the polling booth. Perhaps they will actually follow Andrés Manuel López Obrador's advice to "take their money and gifts" but go into the polls and vote for us.

As it stands now, July 1 is looking to be a cakewalk for PRI and the return to power of the dinosaurs of Atlacomulco and the duopoly media powers. Or, there could be an incredible last minute surprise and a massive turnout of undecided voters who are willing to give the progressive movement a victory. Perhaps the "cuchi cuchi" comments of Chepina (Josefina Vázquez Mota) in Mazatlán will make some people move away from PAN, or perhaps the increasing evidence of PRI corruption and involvement with cartels will finally sink in and convince others. If all of those things happen, the celebrations at the Zocalo and the Angel of Independence may make the Justin Bieber audience (June 11) look like a small gathering. If PRI wins, the #YoSoy132 movement may become just another one of the many protest movements in Mexico that has been beaten and stomped on by the forces of neo-liberalism and a global economy that puts profit before people.

1 comment:

Miguel Martinez said...

A question, since this is one of the most serious sites I have found about Mexico and the Narco issue...

I am looking for more in-depth studies on the whole question of Mexico's place in the world illicit drug trade picture: not just daily news, but a background on current production, economy, relations with globalization, society, employment, military power, banking system, etc.

Including long, boring academic essays :-)

Can you suggest anything?

Miguel Martinez
Florence Italy