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The Left Makes Noise in Mexico » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Mexico City. You can blame it on those damn students. Ever since over a hundred of them at a private university, the Iberoamericana in Mexico City, ran presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto off campus with cries of “Coward!” and “Get out!” on May 11, the favorite for July’s election has been under popular siege. It’s quickly blossomed into an entire movement known as “#YoSoy132” (“I am 132”) – named for the 131 students who produced a video following the incident, swearing that, contrary to the spin, they were ordinary citizens and puppets of no political force.

With some 40 million Internet users nationwide, this was hyped from the get-go as Mexico’s first fully-Facebooked, tweeted and YouTubed election. Now “#YoSoy132” has gone viral and the country’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) has suggested that the youth vote could sway the outcome of the July 1 clash. Nearly 40% of registered voters are below the age of 30.

The beauty of “#YoSoy132” – which has expressed solidarity with Mexico’s Movement for Peace, as well as Occupy – is that it not only opposes the return of the country’s former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), but also the venomous influence of corporate media duopoly Televisa/TV Azteca (aka PRI-TV) in national affairs. On a typical day, Televisa’s rabidly pro-Peña Nieto coverage makes Fox News look balanced.

The PRI, which dominated Mexican politics for 71 years, has led the polls for months due to widespread disillusionment with President Felipe Calderon’s right-wing National Action Party (PAN). Yet, just like the PAN, the PRI represents only a handful of special interests in a country marred by poverty, gang violence, and scant opportunities for young people, seven million of whom are without jobs or studies.

Anti-PRI protests have taken place nationwide, with slogans such as “The Mexican Spring” being thrown around, but crucially, there are just four weeks left until election-day. Peña Nieto still leads almost every poll that emerges as many seem prepared to put their faith in a return of the old guard after a disastrous twelve years with the PAN at the helm.

Attending the Mexico-CARICOM summit in Barbados last week, much-maligned President Calderon – who leaves office either way in December – couldn’t resist a wry smile. “Usually, people protest the party that’s in power,” he said.

The question is which candidate benefits from the burgeoning youth movement. #YoSoy132 claims to be non-partisan but the most obvious beneficiary is leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and Progressive Movement coalition. Depending on which poll you believe, AMLO’s challenge has strengthened post-#YoSoy132. A former Mexico City mayor and stalwart of the Mexican Left, he’s undoubtedly the most popular candidate with young people, and has been actively encouraging them to use the Internet to overcome the propaganda spun by the TV networks.

FULL ARTICLE HERE: The Left Makes Noise in Mexico » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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