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Posts Tagged ‘Enrique Peña Nieto’

The walls of Oaxaca are speaking…

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Monday’s headline from the Huffington Post read, “Enrique Peña Nieto’s TIME Cover Sparks Outrage In Mexico.”  The Time Magazine cover (to be published February 24, 2014) shows an imperious looking Peña Nieto, with the bold-face headline, “Saving Mexico.”  Judging from personal conversations, numerous articles, and marches throughout the country, that is definitely not the way most Mexicans see their president.

Mural on wall of giant man holding small Peña Nieto head by his hair

Elected in 2012, Peña Nieto has proposed sweeping reforms, including a previously mentioned education package modeled after the disastrous US, “No Child Left Behind Act.”  These unpopular reforms have citizens marching in the streets and calling for Peña Nieto’s head.  One of the reforms that Mexicans find most egregious is the proposal to open Mexico’s state-run oil industry, PEMEX, to foreign investment.  This is one that strikes at the heart of Mexican pride.

Poster of oil rig spewing oil from on top of a heart

A little background:  In 1938, in support of oil workers striking against foreign-owned oil companies, Mexico’s president, Lázaro Cárdenas, citing the 27th article of the 1917 constitution, expropriated the Mexican facilities of the United States and Anglo–Dutch oil companies, nationalized the oil reserves, and created the state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (aka, PEMEX).  Mexico now owned and controlled this valuable resource.

Banner, "Frente en defensa del petroleo.  Por el derecho a la consulta ciudadana."

Back to the present:  According to the Huffington Post article, “The energy bill, however, faced massive protests when it passed through Congress in December. Demonstrators shouted ‘The homeland is not for sale!‘ as officials voted to allow private companies to exploit oil and gas reserves in the country, according to the Associated Press.”

Poster, "A la defensa del petroleo"

In true Oaxacan fashion, marches have been held and banners, posters, and murals have gone up throughout the city to express the outrage and indignation felt by a majority of Mexicans at what they see as an attempt by the Peña Nieto government to sell-off their patrimony.

Of course, as the Time Magazine article illustrates, the US is applauding Peña Nieto and the actions of his ruling party.

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Felipe Calderón’s 6-year term as president of Mexico is coming to a close and running for a second term is prohibited.   Campaigning is limited to the 3-month period immediately prior to the upcoming July 1 election day.  (USA, doesn’t that sound great?!!)  It had a boring “business as usual” beginning.  However, the new student-led, “Yo Soy 132” movement has livened things up beyond all expectations.  It is already being likened to  the Occupy Wall Street movement and the early days of the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

First, the cast of presidential candidates:

  • Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution).  Popular former mayor of Mexico City, favorite of the Left, and thought by many to have been the legitimate winner of the last presidential election.
  • Enrique Peña Nieto – PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party).  Former governor of the State of Mexico and candidate of the party that ruled Mexico with an iron fist for 71 years.  He is married to a popular telenovela actress and has the support of the right-wing, PVEM (Green Party).
  • Josefina Vázquez Mota – PAN (National Action Party).  Former member of the federal House of Deputies.  She’s currently running 3rd in the poling, tarnished by the violence and failure of Calderón’s drug war.
  • Gabriel Quadri de la Torre – PANAL (New Alliance Party).   Former advisor of the National Institute of Ecology and former chief of the External Financing sector in the Bank of Mexico.  He has the support of the extremely powerful (and many say, corrupt) head of the teacher’s union, Elba Esther Gordillo.

Next, what’s it all about?

A Mexican Spring Begins to Blossom

Marta Molina
Waging Nonviolence / News Report
Published: Tuesday 29 May 2012

“They are party-less but not apolitical. The supposed apathy and individualism by which the Mexican youth have been characterized has been disproved on the streets and on the web.”

In Mexico City’s daily life — in the shops, taxicabs, cafes and lines waiting for the bus — one could hear conversations between people of all ages saying Enrique Peña Nieto would, without a doubt, win the presidential elections. “Either something huge will happen,” a taxi driver told me, “or he will win.” And when people referred to “something huge happening,” they were referring to violence, or some unbearable crisis.

But it hasn’t happened like that. Far from anything originally expected, it is the Mexican youth and university students who are doing “something huge.” They have altered the political agenda in the country to prove that no one wins an election until the election itself.

The gathering began on May 23 at the Estela de Luz, or Pillar of Light — a monument that has caused much controversy due to the billions of pesos the government invested in its construction. The students appropriated this symbol of corruption to illuminate it with their democratic demands in a key pre-electoral moment.

… In the end, twenty thousand students from different universities, public and private, marched for four hours along the main avenues of Mexico City. The protests that followed have sparked talk of a “Mexican Spring,” making reference to the uprisings that began in North Africa at the end of 2010.  [Full article]

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Student Movement Dubbed the ‘Mexican Spring’

Allison Kilkenny on May 29, 2012 – 9:34 AM ET


A university student holds the Mexican flag during a protest against Enrique Peña Nieto, presidential candidate of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and to demand balance in the media coverage of the presidential race in Mexico City May 28, 2012. The “YoSoy132” movement was organized by students to create awareness of Mexico’s current political situation and media censorship, local media reported. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

A coalition of thousands of mainly university students, unionized workers, and farmers in Mexico City have taken to the streets to demand greater freedom of speech and also to protest the possible return of power by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

One banner read, “I have a brain, I won’t vote for the PRI.”

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Dubbed the “Yo Soy 132” movement (Twitter users can follow protest updates by searching #YoSoy132), or the “Mexican Spring” by observers, this latest wave of protests marks the third large student demonstration in less than a week.

The name “I Am 132” symbolizes the continuation of the original demonstration by 131 students during Peña Nieto’s visit to the Jesuit-run Ibero-American University (UIA).

New America Media:

“Our main goal is to seek greater democracy within Mexican media,” said fellow activist, Rodrigo Serrano.

The name, “YoSoy132” alludes to a group of students from the Universidad Iberamericana, who heckled PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto during a recent visit to the university that chased him off the premises.

After the incident, PRI leaders accused the Iberoamericana students of being intolerant, inconsiderate “stooges” paid to protest against Peña Nieto by the leftist PRD party.

Students claim their heckling of Peña Nieto was a grassroots event, uninspired or funded by any political party.

In particular, students have expressed frustration with the “monopolization” of Mexican politics and media. The example New America Media provides is a company named Televisa, which along with TV Azteca, controls 95 percent of Mexico’s TV market.

Similarly, students believe PRI has a monopoly of sorts on Mexican politics. The party has ruled Mexico unchallenged for seven decades, and has a very good shot of winning the July 1 elections.  [Full article with video]

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And, lastly (for now)…

On May 26, the students of Oaxaca met in the courtyard of Santo Domingo de Guzmán to join the national effort, forming  Yo Soy 132 Oaxaca

And, of course, a Facebook page has been set up.   This is getting interesting.  Vamos a ver…

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