This growing movement has now arrived in London, and its members believe that as long as inequality and injustice in Mexico exists, they will exist also.
Jesús Rodriguez Montes
It was on Monday 12 July 2012, one day after the controversial elections in Mexico, when the right wing candidate from the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), Enrique Peña Nieto, won the overall vote with an advantage of little more than 6 percent over the candidate from the left wing coalition parties, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
A group of approximately 20 Mexicans who live in London congregated at the front of their country’s embassy to protest that the conditions under which the elections took place were unjust, undemocratic and that the electoral authorities and the federal government in turn failed to put a stop to the manipulation exercised by the virtual winner of the election.
Against Peña Nieto, they weigh accusations of bribes and coercion of the vote through money and the use of violence, combined with an unprecedented promotional campaign spread in his favour by the country’s richest and most powerful radio, television and print press businesses.
The Mexicans that live in London, in a symbolic act which they are calling the, ‘funeral of democracy’, marched before the embassy in a funeral procession, dressed in black and with their faces painted with the same mask of death.
This group of Mexicans form part of the movement known as #YoSoy132. and ever since that day they have warned that “this is only the beginning”, in reference to the war which they are set to launch, along with millions of people who have not ceased to join the demonstrations in the public plazas of Mexico before and after the elections.
Both Mexican and foreign analysts confirm that the members of #YoSoy132 form the beginning of a “Mexican Spring”, due to the massive, constant demonstrations against a Republican president who can be associated with imposition, corruption and a historical backwards step as he was nominated by the party which governed under a scheme of authoritarianism and hardship for 70 years.
But the demonstrations are also rooted in the role that the rulers of the right wing Partido Acción Nacional (PAN ) have played in two consecutive presidential terms in office: Vicente Fox Quesada and Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, the present leader, in whose reign economic decline has been habitual, so to the violence unleashed by the conflict between the country’s drug cartels along with the hostile climate of insecurity which has claimed the lives of thousands of both criminal gang members and innocent people.
On Saturday 7th July, the most recent demonstration took place. In Mexico City, the country’s capital, thousands of people, mostly young people, made resounding cries of, “Fraud” and “No to the imposition”.
Meanwhile in London, on that same day, during the LGBT parade (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual), the Mexican members of #YoSoy132, participated in supporting the demonstration.
They then took their chance to internationalise their complaints about the multiple irregularities detected in the Mexican election: buying votes on behalf of the PRI, the waste of millions of pesos amongst Peña Nieto’s political operators, and the demand for the electoral authorities to assume their role and to bring transparency to the electoral process.
As it is known, in Mexico, the Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) practically settled the process with these results: Enrique Piña Nieto, with 19,195,129 votes (38.22% of the total) and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, with 15,866,035 votes, some 31.59%.
Furthermore, for millions of Mexicans, including those involved in #YoSoy132, the election hasn’t finished, and they have appealed to the international community “in order to denounce the serious acts of unacceptable electoral fraud that is trying to consume Mexico”.
They declare that Peña Nieto “is not honourable enough to represent” his country given that his candidature ought to be annulled through having committed crimes against humanity when, in 2006, whilst he was governor of the State of Mexico, he ordered the violent police operation against the inhabitants of San Salvador Atenco, that resulted in deaths, casualties, sexual attacks and arrests.
Therefore they appeal “to the international community that they do not support a president imposed by fraud.”
#YoSoy132 in London
It is a group of Mexicans living in this city who, on 28th May, came together to try and prevent an electoral antidemocratic process.
They are men and women who, for various reasons now live here, but who actively take part in the transformation of Mexico.
Osiel Gonzalez Davila, who studied Economics at the University of Essex and is now studying for a doctorate in the University of London, states: “We are a group that will continue to exist as long as inequality and injustice exists in Mexico”.
Also, he explains that although #YoSoy132 London is a diverse group from the profile of its members; there are students, artists, scientists and activists, they all share a common objective: to contribute to the fight for equal and democratic conditions in their country.
The influence of the movement #YoSoy132, that surged spontaneously amongst universities in Mexico in the height of the electoral period, has now crossed the borders: today they are also found in the UK, France, Norway, Australia, Spain, Cataluña, Basque Country, Belgium, Italy, Chile, USA and Switzerland, amongst other countries.
Through social networks they coordinate, plan their actions and fix their position before the international community. This happened on 6th July, when they marched before the institutions of the EU and sent a letter to the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, and to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
In this they appealed to the EU to become a true ally of the Mexicans and to be “respectful of the process of deliberation of the results of the election on behalf of the electoral authority of Mexico”.
What is certain, is that although the process has not formally concluded, Peña Nieto is the elected president. In this scenario, Osiel Gonzalez is asked, ‘what lies ahead for #YoSoy132 London?’ “After realizing that we have a large audience in Mexico through digital means of communication, like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, what follows is to take advantage of them in order to empower all the Mexicans whose voices are not heard in the traditional means of communication of information and entertainment”, he responds.
And so, this group of Mexicans, regardless of the outcome of the election, will continue to work together until it achieves its goals.
(Translated by Eleanor Gooch)