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#YoSoy132 and the Mexican Elections

A film about the new wave of pissed-off and political Mexican kids.

by VICE Mexico
29 June 2012, 4:00am

This coming Sunday, Mexico will elect a new president. The options are Josefina Vazquez Mota, a candidate from the ruling center-right party (PAN) that for the past six years has waged a bitter drug war against the cartels, resulting in up to 70,000 deaths. Then there’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also known as AMLO), a left wing candidate (PRD), and former mayor of Mexico City, branded as divisive by some but also loved by the poor and disenfranchised. Finally, there's the expected winner, Enrique Peña Nieto, young and boyish looking, with an unmovable hairdo and a soap-opera-star wife, running for the PRI, the authoritarian party that ruled Mexico for over 72 years.

Even before the campaigns started, Peña Nieto seemed cherry-picked as the winner. He had the full support from the two biggest TV stations and many of the national newspapers. At the same time, Mexican youth, the biggest voting bloc, seemed apathetic.

On May 11, Peña Nieto came to speak at Ibero-American University, one of Mexico City's most elite private colleges. Peña Nieto probably expected standing ovations and an adoring crowd. But instead he got a mob of angry students, holding banners and protesting the way he handled an indigenous uprising in Atenco when he was governor of the state--many people were murdered and women were raped by the police.

After his speech, a mob of students ran after him. After videos went up on Youtube, an Ibero professor went on the radio and said that the protesters weren't students, but rather hired thugs who were paid to protest. This enraged the students. In response, they organized to make videos of themselves showing their university IDs and giving their names to prove that they had been smeared. They received videos from 131 students. Demonstrations followed, and other universities rose up in support. It went viral. A movement was born with the name #YoSoy132 (I am 132).

No one saw this coming. Not the politicians, not the media. What makes this movement different to the Occupy movement, or the Indignados in Spain or the Arab Spring, is that their main demand is media transparency. Their anger against Peña Nieto comes from the fact that he is a candidate made and manufactured by the mainstream media. Even if the PAN or PRD are able to pull off a wild upset this Sunday, #YoSoy132 wants to keep up the fight against the duopoly of Televisa and TV Azteca, which represent the status quo in Mexico—all neatly symbolized by Peña and the PRI.

This is a documentary about how #YoSoy132 started, told from the perspective of the Ibero students who lit the spark of the movement.