On May 11, a group of students at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City booed Enrique Peña Nieto at one of his appearances. Peña – who was followed out of the building by students shouting “Get out!”- is the presidential candidate for the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico for over 70 years before being voted out in 2000. After this incident, supporters of the PRI in the mainstream media and on television news quickly demonized the dissenting students, claiming they were planted by their political rivals.
Students at Ibero fired back. 131 students from the university uploaded videos on Youtube and Facebook proving their identities. Soon, using the name #YoSoy132 (I am 132) in solidarity with the students who stood up to Peña, the protest spread from social media to the streets. One week ago, hundreds of students demonstrated outside Televisa’s broadcasting centers. The protests continued to grow, reaching a size of around 50,000 in Mexico City on Saturday, when marchers shut down Paseo de la Reforma, a main thoroughfare in the capital. Over 20 cities in Mexico have joined in solidarity so far.
Although press has covered the protests as a youth-led movement against the PRI, the organizers describe themselves as a nonpartisan, leaderless movement for real democracy. In fact, the corporate media have been some of the movements primary targets. The movement is upset that two corporations, Televisa and TV Azteca, own 95% of media in Mexican homes, and the companies both have been accused of showing undue favoritism to the PRI. During the 70-year rule of the PRI, Televisa largely acted as the party’s propaganda arm and continues to favor the PRI. Although Mexican media ignored the protests as long as possible, they were forced to acknowledge them after massive turnouts at Televisa’s headquarters. A Mexican political analyst told the Wall Street Journal: “The protest movement has already achieved the impossible: forcing Televisa to cover an insurrection by young people.”
But they are not finished yet. The #YoSoy132 movement is organizing a nationwide TV boycott during the presidential debates; on May 30 in Mexico City students from all schools and univerisites will gather for a joint General Assembly; convergences are also still taking place this weekend and beyond in Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico.
#MarchYoSoy132, May 23 2012
The #yosoy132 movement arose from social networks and the jeering of Enrique Peña Nieto by students at the University of Ibero. After this incident, the PRI accused the students of being planted. In response, 131 students uploaded videos showing their names, faces, account numbers, and credentials. Their videos climbed on Youtube and proved they were students from that university.
Then, the PRI was forced to admit that, yes, they were students but that it would be investigated. In response, users of social networks started the #yosoy132 (“I am 132″) movement, announcing they too were exercising their freedom of expression and that they supported the 131 students.
Thanks to that, we organized and set up a march last Friday, attended not only by students from the Ibero, but also from universities such as ITAM and Anahuac. We marched on the sidewalk, without affecting traffic, and shouted slogans to Televisa and other mass media, demanding truthful information and the democratization of the media. We called, this time from many more colleges (public and private), to demand an end to media manipulation and the imposition of a candidate.
Then, we took to the streets, without party, without color, without violence.
#YoSoy132 is no longer a movement of students. Today we are a movement of ALL Mexicans.
The powerful media of our country (Mexico) want to impose a candidate (Peña Nieto) through the manipulation of information. The young university students at Ibero protested against media bias after the Peña Nieto’s visit to the university. This generated a physical and digital citizens’ movement against the Telecracy.
We are inspired by the 131 students at Ibero, who showed that the people are the boss, not a handful of corrupt politicians and businessmen who want to decide the future of the lives of millions of Mexicans and who lie, suppress, and deceive to do it, creating an environment not conducive to progress, freedom of expression, and truth.
Today I say to that small corrupt group of people:
I am the 132. I will not be fooled. I want a fairer, more free Mexico.
This is La Primavera Mexicana civil awakening against the manipulation of information. #YoSoy132 is a movement for truth.