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Mexico 2012: Nascent Student Movement, Chances for a Late "Mexican Spring"?

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Message Kenneth Thomas
29 May 2012

On May 6th,  the four candidates for the Presidency debated.  In a nation where the internet reaches only 30%,  and few can afford cable,  the debate was not carried on broadcast television.

The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) chose to have a former porn star host the debate.  She was clad in a thin,  revealing white dress.

On May 11th,  the PRI's candidate,  Pena Nieto,  attempted to speak at Mexico's elite Iberoamericana University.  Student protests prevented him from speaking.

As governor of the State of Mexico,  Nieto had repeatedly used police force to prevent student protests.

In the wake of the Iberoamericana protests,  thousands marched through Mexico City, and then other cities,  against Pena Nieto.

The students demands were simple:  above all,  clean elections.  An end to corruption and manipulation in the IFE.  Fair and equal access to the media-- an end to the unfair,  biased and deceptive coverage by Party-controlled media.

In the weeks that followed,  this youth movement came to be known as "YoSoy132,"  or "I Am 132."  The 132s take some inspiration from the Occupy and Anonymous movements.  They remain independent,  their first focus on organizing to observe the polls and,  if possible,  ensure their integrity.

After the elections,  the 132s demand open access to information,  and the right to freedom of expression-- rights not guaranteed nor present except in the Federal District.

Much and serious talk has arisen,  of a "Mexican Spring."  What this would mean,  remains unclear.  In both Eastern Europe and the Middle East,  it entailed replacing authoritarian governments with democratic regimes.

In Mexico,  the loudest criticisms of AMLO and the democracy movement remain focused on "ensuring stability."  These loud critics assert that Mexico today is a democracy,  with a three-party system and a limited Presidency.

All experience from the past twelve years,   says something different.  A century of authoritarian rule and rigged elections,  says different.  Mexico's youth today,  have said something different.  

The question remains-- what would a Mexican Spring consist of?

This is a brief. More detailed analysis of the electoral and political situation will appear shortly.

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Kenneth Thomas works as an IT consultant and techologist and lives between Nashville, Ghent, Prague and Mexico City. He speaks German, French, Spanish, some Dutch of the Flemish variety, a smattering of Hebrew and other languages, and when (more...)
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