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Elected Corruption: Why Mexico's Nascent Youth Movement Continues to Agitate

Some international elections observers have confirmed what many Mexicans thought: the recent elections in Mexico were characterized by massive fraud.

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At the beginning of election day, many citizens went to observe the polling stations and report any type of irregularity. The Yo Soy 132 movement took on the job of compiling people’s complaints about possible electoral fraud. They have classified them into four categories: electoral crimes, polling station irregularities, use of violence and intimidation of citizen observers.

At a press conference this July 5, Yo Soy 132 showed clips of videos that show people being given prepaid cards — either 100 or 500 pesos ($10 or $50) — for supermarkets like Soriana, as well as being grouped together in trucks to vote as a bloc. By July 3, the Yo Soy 132 Observer Commission had received 1,100 reports of alleged irregularities taking place during the elections, 635 of the reports from citizens. Out of those, 325 were accusations of vote-buying, and the rest referred to irregularities at the polling stations and party propaganda being posted on the election’s eve. Most of these irregularities are blamed on the PRI.

During the evening of July 2, Yo Soy 132 held a rally to protest the fraud in Mexico City, and to express their unhappiness with the electoral process, shouting slogans against Enrique Peña Nieto. “Mexico voted and Peña didn’t win” and “Not the PRI, not the IFE, it is the people who choose” were some of the phrases being shouted on the march. The youth’s posters also criticized the media proselytizing that took place throughout the campaign.

“They can put him in Los Pinos [the presidential residence], but they will never take the power from the citizens,” read one of the posters a Yo Soy 132 protester held, while shouting angrily: “If there’s imposition, there will be revolution. Isn’t that what we said?”

What’s next?

Despite the collective depression that hit many members of Yo Soy 132 during this process, which many have called an “institutional coup,” they are combining their work as citizen watchdogs documenting fraud with resistance and spreading information. They have collected a massive trove of people’s reflections about the election that serve as a counterweight to the official discourse and the media’s powerful misinformation.

In 50 days, this youth movement has radically changed the face of a society that appeared apathetic and resigned to tolerate the normal machinations of power. While the presidency, the IFE, newspapers, TV networks and radio stations, have come together to perpetuate an anti-democratic, corrupt and authoritarian governing class that represses, manipulates and deceives, the youth of Yo Soy 132 will continue to speak out in public about the need to carve out a space for dignified democracy.

“We should continue organizing and fighting to get the country that we want, but first we must regain our dignity, become indignant, and transform this country,” said Eduardo, a UNAM student at the Yo Soy 132 camp at the Monument to the Revolution.

While the media interests ridicule it, the Yo Soy 132 movement will begin a new critical phase of transition from protest to proposal. Just as protesters suggested in their last assembly, part of their long term plan is progress on key themes such as mass media, public policy directed at the youth, human rights, culture and education. “We are going to work on these work groups for five months in order to have a living manifesto on the eve of the inauguration of the new government,” said a member of the media commission for Yo Soy 132. “We will not abandon our posture of critique, but we are entering a new phase where one of the central pillars is the construction of our proposal.”