The youth-fueled #YoSoy132 movement met Saturday night under Mexico City’s Estela de Luz to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the student standoff with then-candidate Enrique Peña Nieto that triggered a movement that some observers dubbed the “Mexican Spring.” The YoSoy movement put thousands of protesters in the streets after last summer’s elections, who argued that Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party had resorted to vote-buying and other dirty tricks to sway the election in their candidate’s favor.
The spontaneous emergence of a group of millenials clamoring for a more open society and a purer democracy resonated deeply in Mexico, where slain student protesters during protests in 1968 are considered martyrs and national heroes. At the same time, YoSoy’s media savvy, sense of humor and use of social media suggested that a fresh new political voice had arrived on the scene.
I spent some time with the YoSoy movement last summer, and wondered whether they would be able to sustain momentum. There were formal legal challenges to Peña Nieto’s election at the time, but they ended up going nowhere. And Mexican presidents serve six-year terms — a long time to keep a nascent citizen political movement going.
Last night, the crowd was much smaller than the summer gatherings, but it showed that the movement is not dead. It may only be in hibernation, capable of being awakened by a flurry of tweets.
(No matter what happens to YoSoy–and no matter what you think of their politics–they are, without question, responsible for one of the best Latin American protests songs in recent memory.)
Photo: YoSoy#132 members watch a greatest-hits video of what they’ve achieved, May 11. [RF]