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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.

Shame, indignation and helplessness are the three words that have been heard most from the mouths of many Mexicans over the last few days. They see the elections that occurred on July 1 as dirty, corrupt, fraudulent, unfair and entirely undemocratic.

For many international elections observers as well, these elections were some of the most fraudulent they had ever seen, due to the high number of irregularities, abuses and illegalities committed before, during and after election day. But, perhaps for the first time in decades, crimes that were hidden in the shadows have now been exposed to the public light. This time, citizens’ voices have risen in unison to denounce corruption, to organize themselves and show the world that they deserve a country with true democracy, and that they are ready to fight for it.

Who led this effort? The Mexican citizens who watched over the polling stations as observers on election day, those who photographed emerging results in their districts and denounced the irregularities that they witnessed — and, of course, the Yo Soy 132 movement.

“If we don’t burn together, who will light this darkness?” is one of the expressions that best illustrates the struggle to recuperate the historical memory of the abuses committed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) during previous administrations, and the 60,000 dead in the so-called “war on drugs” that was unleashed by president Felipe Calderón in 2006.

Since it began just two months ago, Yo Soy 132 has called for clean elections without electoral fraud and has spoken out against the media imposition of PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto by Mexico’s media duopoly, Televisa and TV Azteca. Their objective: to build an authentic democracy with decent, transparent news media that don’t sell themselves to the highest bidder.

In the lead-up to the elections, Yo Soy 132 worked to show the presidential candidates that the people were watching, that they would be witnesses to the elections, and that they were not willing to sit back and accept any injustice or fraud.

Today, the presumed winner of the elections is Enrique Peña Nieto. Yo Soy 132, however, doesn’t accept the election results and will contest them. On July 4, after an assembly at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) that lasted over 10 hours, members of Yo Soy 132 announced their “rejection of the process by which Enrique Peña Nieto has been imposed to take the Republic’s presidential seat.” They agreed to this statement through a consensus process, along with 118 local assemblies, and participants from more than 120 universities.

Four days after the elections, members of the movement stated that the elections “are not nor will they be accepted,” because “election day was plagued by irregularities” that they themselves documented, and they consider to be sufficient proof that the elections were undemocratic. “We reject the electoral process, which was corrupt from the beginning, with institutions that were deliberately incapable of preventing and sanctioning countless anomalies.”

They also denounced the failure to develop, on election day, “a peaceful, lawful environment, where instead profoundly antidemocratic practices prevailed, such as state violence, coercion and vote buying, profiting from the conditions and necessities of our people, media manipulation, faked polling results, and other illicit practices which altered the essence of a free, informed, reasoned and critical vote.”

In addition, the student movement declared that Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency is something that has been in the works for “many years,” with complicity from the national and foreign political-economic interests that form Mexico’s de facto government.

Lighting the darkness on the eve of the elections