Mexico: Children in Viral Video Shake Up Presidential Campaign

Against the backdrop of the electoral process happening in Mexico to choose the next president, the movement named Nuestro México del Futuro [es] (Our Mexico of the Future) kicked off April 9, 2012, with its release of a video titled “Niños incómodos exigen a candidatos” (Uncomfortable Children Call on the Candidates).

During its 4 minutes and 2 seconds, the video portrays daily scenes of sadness for Mexicans (robbery, kidnapping, poverty, violence, public corruption, chaotic traffic and environmental pollution) acted out by children, with a final forceful message for the presidential candidates:

Si éste es el futuro que me espera, no lo quiero. Basta de trabajar para sus partidos y no para nosotros. Basta de arreglar el país “por encimita”. Doña Josefina, don Andrés Manuel, don Enrique, don Gabriel, se acabó el tiempo, México ya tocó fondo. ¿Sólo van a ir por la silla o van a cambiar el futuro de nuestro país?

If that is the future that is waiting for me, I don't want it. Stop working for your parties and not for us. Stop fixing the country superficially. Ms. Josefina, Mr. Andrés Manuel, Mr. Enrique, Mr. Gabriel, time has run out, Mexico has already hit bottom. Are you only gunning for the seat of the presidency or are you going to change the future of our country?

The video went viral and was shared by thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter. As what happens normally with viral videos, reactions were swift.

Katya Albiter [es] for Vivir México, praised the video, but was skeptical of and questioned those who were behind its production:

Desgraciadamente, me cuesta trabajo dejarme llevar tan fácil porque, tras la emoción, lo primero que pienso es: este video no es cosa de niños. La producción es demasiado buena y bien cuidada. Y entonces me pregunto ¿quién está detrás de esto? La respuesta más inmediata es Nuestro México del Futuro. Ellos se definen como “un movimiento social sin precedente a escala nacional que ha convocado a todos los mexicanos a expresar su visión sobre el México en el que les gustaría vivir” -yo me niego a calificarlo de “movimiento social”, es lo malo de estudiar sociología, nada nos complace-.

Unfortunately, I can't let myself be carried away so easily because, beyond the emotion, the first thing I think is: this video is not child's play. The production is too good and well-crafted. And then I wonder, who is behind this? The most immediate answer is Nuestro México del Futuro. They are defined as “a social movement without precedent on a national scale that has called on all Mexicans to express their vision of a Mexico in which they would like to live” -I refuse to qualify it as a “social movement”, it's the bad thing about studying sociology, nothing pleases me-.

Vitocha, author of the blog Estupideces sin sentido [es], expressed his opinion, disagreeing with the critique of the current system and the indignation generated by it, being only a “fad”:

Contrario a la muy probablemente opinión mayoritaria, que aplaude ese ejercicio de libertad de expresión de traumatizantes efectos mediáticos, a mi no me causa furor justiciero. Y no sólo por mi tendencia natural a ejercer de advocatus diavoli, ni por la indignación tipo señora gorda histérica que ha producido en la clase política y en la intelectualidad inorgánica, el empleo de niños actores para intervenir en el proceso electoral federal en curso, violando las disposiciones legales, sino por la esencia del mensaje que forma parte de una tendencia en boga entre la sociedad civil.

A principios de los años noventa comenzó a gestarse en la escena política mexicana una moda que en ese momento tenía una razón de ser y resultaba efectiva en sus propósitos. Era la moda de constituir grupos críticos, formados por empresarios, intelectuales, ex guerrilleros, curas liberacionistas y activistas ambientales y de derechos humanos.

Contrary to what is probably the majority opinion, which applauds this exercise in freedom of expression of the traumatizing effects of the media, this does not afflict me with righteous anger. And not only because of my natural tendency to play the devil's advocate, nor because of that fat hysterical woman type of indignation that has come out of the political class and inorganic intellectuality, the employment of child actors to intervene in the current federal electoral process, violating legal regulations, but because of the essence of the message that is part of a trend in vogue among civil society.

In the early 1990s, a fad began to take shape on the Mexican political landscape that in that moment was reasonable and effective in its aims. It was a fad that birthed groups of critics, made up of businessmen, intellectuals, ex-soldiers, liberationist priests and environmental and human rights activists.

The author justified his ideas:

Ser ciudadano no se agota en andar denunciando con el índice flamígero, ni en el áurea impoluta que se forma al pertenecer a una organización de la sociedad civil que no quiere contaminarse incursionando en actividades políticas. Tampoco significa promover una percepción maniquea y bastante rudimentaria de “ciudadanos buenos vs. políticos malos”, ni en frases soeces del tipo “estamos hasta la madre”.

Ser ciudadano, y esto lo dicen algunos personajes con más o menos “cierta” credibilidad ganada al paso de los años e incluso de los siglos, como Hobbes, Rousseau, Montesquieu y más recientemente Hannah Arendt, es ser parte activa de lo público que es la fuente primigenia de su condición de cive, es decir el que vive en la civitas, que a su vez tiene su origen en la polis, formada por los pólites o politkós (ciudadanos).

To be a citizen is not completed by running around denouncing according to a flaming index, nor by maintaining the golden and pristine by belonging to a civil organization that does not want to pollute itself taking on political activities. Neither does it mean promoting a Manchiean and fairly rudimentary perception of “good citizens vs. bad politicians”, nor in uncouth phrases such as “we've had it up to here.”

To be a citizen, and this is said by various personalities with more or less “certain” credibility earned by the passing of years, including centuries, such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Montesquieu and more recently Hannah Arendt, is to be an active part of the public which is the basic source of his condition as a cive, or citizen, who is said to live within the civitas, the social body that unites citizens by law, which has its origin in polis, or city, which is formed by the pólites or politkós, or citizens.

The circulation of the video seems to have completed its objective of bothering at least some of the actors within the political arena, such as Marco Antonio Gómez Lovera [es] reported:

El día de hoy en el pleno algunos diputados dieron su opinión al respecto del video que muestra a unos niños representando la situación actual del país y que increpa a los candidatos a la presidencia sobre la finalidad de sus actos.

El diputado priista Miguel Ángel García Granados pidió a la Secretaría de Gobernación retirar el spot del aire y no escudarse tras el pretexto de permitir la libertad de expresión.

Today congressional representatives in droves gave their opinion with respect to the video that portrays children acting out the current situation in this country and which rebukes the intentions of the presidential candidates.

Institutional Revolutionary Party representative Miguel Ángel García Granados asked the Secretary of the Interior to retire the spot from the air and not hide behind the pretext of allowing freedom of expression.

As to the discomfort of the legislators, particularly that of García Granados, journalist Carlos Marín [es] questioned why it is there are no criticisms when politicians employ children during their campaigns:

Impúdicos y desvergonzados, cuando se trata de políticos en campaña besuqueando a niñas y niños, no ven “uso”: simplemente se hacen pendejos.

Impudent and shameful, when politicians on the campaign trail are smooching little girls and boys, and don't see it as “use”: simply, they are a**holes.

On Twitter, Gabriel Guerra (@ gabrielguerrac) [es] ridiculed the discomfort that the video in question generated among not only legislators, but among the general public as well:

Hay quienes se molestan más por un video que por la realidad que refleja… Eso SÍ es el mundo al revés…

There are those that are bothered more by a video that by the reality it reflects…This is truly the world turned upside down…

Alessia Corcuera (@top_roping_ale) [es] expressed her happiness with the video's circulation:

Ya vieron el video de los #NiñosIncómodos? uff, está buenísimo, a mi me gustó y coincido, “si ese es el futuro que me espera, no lo quiero”

Have you all already seen the #NiñosIncómodos [uncomfortable children] video? Uff, it is fantastic, I liked it and I agree, “if that is the future that is waiting for me, I don't want it”

For his part, the administrator of the account @Dios_Padre [es] pointed out:

Es más que obvio que detrás de los “niños incomodos” están unos adultos muy “acomodados”.

It's more than obvious that behind the “uncomfortable children” there are very “comfortable” adults.

Other users such as @JCsudias [es] also questioned the video, alleging that the objective is something “other”, even though they didn't mention exactly which it could be:

#niñosincómodos la mayoría de los mexicanos ya no somos tan tontos para caer en chantajes de ese tipo el trasfondo de su petición es otra

#niñosincómodos The majority of Mexicans are not so stupid to fall for blackmail such as this, behind their objective is something else

A viral video always generates diverse reaction, and surely in the ongoing developments of the electoral process in Mexico there will be many more videos that stir up a commotion within the blogosphere and social networking sites. We will be watching.


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