Six years ago we saw Mexico mobilize in support of presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the challenger to the PAN candidate, Felipe Calderon. Thousands of people were blocked from voting or they experienced voting problems at the poll stations across Mexico. Some poll stations even claimed to have lost ballots or kept people away with bureaucratic long lines. All these stories were considered rumors, but still the public mobilized behind their beloved candidate AMLO and asked for change.
I was fortunate enough to be in El Zocalo in Mexico City for the AMLO mobilization and witnessed first hand the passion that Mexico had been missing since the 1980s. AMLO vowed to run again and the people supported him. Fast forward to 2012 and only one thing changed. This time we recorded the corruption and the fraud on video, then posted it on Facebook and tweeted about it as it happened at the polls. Even as the Federal Elections Commission in Mexico announced this as one of the most successful electoral campaigns, Twitter and Facebook told a much different story.
All day, we watched as people posted pictures of long voting lines at poll stations, videos of PRI-istas paying voters for their vote, and polling stations advising people that they were in the wrong location. Friends posted of students being arrested for recording the corruption and asked for help by sharing the content on all social media platforms. Mexican citizens are turning to social media platforms to denounce the alleged fraud and the 14 million youth of the #YoSoy132 movement are leading the way. Social media is now playing a critical role in organizing an entire nation and providing a voice that they never had before.
Through #YoSoy132, the people of Mexico are losing their fear of retaliation against them by the government or drug cartels. They are speaking out and standing up for a better Mexico and for their future. They are fighting the electoral college and asking for change, and they are doing so on Twitter, Facebook and through their blogs.
Now we wait to see what the next step will be for #YoSoy132. Politicians believed Mexico’s youth to be apathetic and non-political, but they youth have responded with a tremendous voice and are ready to effect change, by whatever means necessary. Just as social media played a critical role in Egypt, it will play a critical role in Mexico as Enrique Pena Nieto takes power. It’s almost ironic to state it as the “taking” of power, but that is exactly what he tried to do. Only this time, we are tweeting the “taking” and letting everyone know about this fraud.
Stay tuned, because this is about to get interesting.