EDITORIAL: Protests empower students; may sway elections
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Thousands of students crowd the streets of Mexico, protesting unemployment, blatant media bias and escalating violence from the drug wars. At least 30,000 children are involved with organized crime. Last year, a 14-year-old boy was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes committed for the South Pacific drug cartel.
As elections approach, young Mexicans who want to defend its nation’s democracy and have taken to the streets to oppose Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidential candidacy and the media’s alleged bias of election coverage.
Peña Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico for more than 70 years until it lost the 2000 election. Tarnished with allegations of corruption and repression, students are right to protest the party’s seeming return to power.
Protests began May 11 as Peña Nieto visited Ibero-American University in Mexico City. Discontented students held signs and booed his arrival. Peña Nieto and his staff — as well as various media outlets — later suggested these students were not students and instead imposters from other political parties. In response, 131 of these students made a YouTube video confirming they were students by showing their University ID card, and expressed frustration at the media’s lack of fair coverage. The “Yo Soy 132” or “I am 132” movement then emerged as people declared solidarity with these students, saying they were the 132nd student.
Young members of society, in particular students, largely ignore elections. Voter turnout, and more importantly, interest, is disappointingly low. Yet the Buenos Aires Herald reported there were 40,000 demonstrators in Mexico City leading up to the election, comprised mostly of students.
The world, and particularly students of Texas A&M University, should take note. When confronted with injustice — whether it be media bias or the possibility of authoritarian rule — students should ensure their voices are heard.
Reports are varied as to the impact “Yo Soy 132” can have on the election’s outcome as polls show Peña Nieto is in the lead.
Despite the outcome of this election, students should be praised for their efforts made in protecting their nation’s integrity. Nosotros somos 132, We are 132.