Plantones, marchas y CNTE: de todo se habla menos de escuelas y educación

El aeropuerto internacional de la Ciudad de México me recibió bien ayer: un maletero se me acercó para ayudarme con mi pesado equipaje y darme la bienvenida con una buena noticia: “hoy descansamos de las marchas, señorita”, me dijo con esa sonrisa cálida que distingue a la gente que se dedica a servir a los demás.

Imagen tomada de TV Azteca.

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Tres reflexiones sobre Enrique Peña Nieto, las elecciones y la compra de votos

1. Enrique Peña Nieto. Amado y odiado. En sus actos de campaña, las mujeres se abalanzaban sobre él, lo besuqueaban, se sobrepasaban, y le gritaban “te quiero en mi colchón”. En las calles, miles le gritan “Fuera Peña”. Desde aquel viernes que visitó la Ibero, se puso de moda ser Anti Peña, verlo como la encarnación del mismísimo Carlos Salinas de Gortari, acusarlo de dinosaurio y autoritario. Ahora es temido, odiado, repudiado.

Vaya paquete para este hombre porque seamos honestos: este no es el mejor momento para ser presidente de México. La violencia en el país sigue escalando a niveles inauditos, las organizaciones criminales son un poder de facto en muchas zonas del país y Estados Unidos no va a ceder en sus presiones para continuar “firmes” contra el crimen organizado. Estados Unidos ya instaló a sus agentes de la CIA en México y si antes realizaron operaciones con y sin el consentimiento del gobierno de Colombia, el reto para Peña Nieto es gigantesco.

Calderón deja el compromiso de la Iniciativa Mérida y una guerra totalmente fuera de control. Un líder puede decidir cuándo declarar la guerra, pero nunca decide cómo ni cuándo terminarla. A Peña Nieto le espera un largo y tortuoso camino. “Está bien canijo”, diría mi abuelita. Sigue leyendo

Día de San Juan: Allá siempre llueve el 24 de junio; acá nunca

Apenas me di cuenta que hoy era 24 de junio y no lo pude evitar: levanté la mirada al cielo y pensé: “hoy es Día de San Juan“.

En Washington, D.C., el cielo está azul y el sol resplandeciente. La escasez de nubes me trajo una enorme nostalgia por mi tierra. Allá, en el Valle de México, siempre llueve cada 24 de junio. Llueve como si el cielo estuviera realmente enfurecido.

Fueron mi abuela y mi padre quienes me explicaron aquello del “cordonazo de San Juan”, que significa que el 24 de junio, el cual celebra a este santo católico, coincide con el inicio de la temporada de lluvias. Los catequistas de mi niñez me dijeron que la razón era que San Juan había bautizado a Jesús con agua. Yo lo creí. Sigue leyendo

Elections death toll in Mexico: two candidates have been killed so far in 2012

This is not the kind of morning news that I enjoy reading in the morning but I feel they have been under reported in the U.S. as well as in Mexico.

Ahead of the July 1st general and local elections, two political candidates in Mexico were killed. One belonged to the leftist party PRD and he was running for the state Congress in Guerrero, home state of Acapulco, which is now considered the second most violent city in Mexico since criminal organizations are engaged in an intense battle to control the drug market of this touristic destination. The other assassinated candidate was running for Mayor of a small village in Chiapas and against his rival from PRI, the party that ruled in Mexico for 71 years until 2000, is the main suspect of the crime. It is unlikely that this crime is associated with criminal organizations but rather a result of an unstable democracy in Mexico in which authoritarianism is increasingly challenged by a set of new but weak rules and institutions.

Impunity of these type of crimes remains high. In 2010, the PRI´s candidate for governor in the border state of Tamaulipas, Roberto Torre Cantú, was killed on his way to the airport. This murder has not been yet investigated and no charges have been filed against any suspects. In 2011, CNN México created a map to track the killings of local mayors in Mexico.

With over 75 journalists murdered, as well as political candidates and members of local authorities, criminal organizations seriously threaten democracy in Mexico at the same time that the country builds stronger institutions to support a new political system.

Mexicans have good reasons to distrust media on the presidential campaign

The student movement in Mexico, #YoSoy132 (I am 132) recently released a YouTube video to demand transparent news coverage on the presidential campaign in Mexico. Young voters in Mexico claim that Televisa, the largest TV network in the Spanish speaking world, gives favorable coverage to the presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. Their accusations are founded in recent scandals regarding the  ethic of that TV network and other Mexican journalists as well. But Mexicans have other reasons as well to distrust media organizations.

On May 11, the Mexican newspaper Reforma published receipts showing that current presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto paid journalists for “mentions” during his tenure as governor of the state of Mexico from 2005 to 2011. Of roughly $2.4 million paid to journalists, Televisa’s news anchor Joaquín López Dóriga received about $680,000 between January 2006 and July 2007. The payments do not include ad space purchased on Televisa, said Reforma.

The candidate did not deny those payments but explained that they were a sort of sponsorship for the journalists’ comments. Broadcaster Radio Fórmula clarified that those payments were sponsorships that aired before the journalists’ comments although they were not easy to identify for the general public.

Last Friday June 8, the British daily The Guardian sparked controversy in Mexico when it published a story about documents that allegedly prove that Peña Nieto and former President Vicente Fox paid TV network Televisa for favorable coverage that included a campaign to undermine the leftist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2006.  Televisa sent a letter to The Guardian denying the authenticity of those documents.

A U.S. Embassy cable from Mexico City in June 2009 revealed that political parties promoted their campaigns by paying networks for television coverage in order to bypass restrictions prohibiting candidates from purchasing airtime, reported the website Narco News. This cable was published through Wikileaks.

At the same time, Mexico is considered one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists and media stopped reporting activities of the criminal organizations in risky areas. In the absence of news, Mexicans turn to Twitter and Facebook to fill the void.

Young voters in Mexico set the political agenda on the presidential campaign through social media

During the current presidential campaigns in Mexico, young social media users are setting the political agenda in ways never seen before.

Voters under the age of 29 compose more than half of the total Mexican population. They are educated, urban, and addicted to social media, therefore, they set the agenda of the political campaign. Despite a low number of Internet users in the country (a third of the population), Mexicans are heavy users of Twitter and Facebook, according to figures. In 2009, a Twitter based campaign stopped a bill to tax internet service providers and last year, a similar online protest managed to free two citizens jailed under charges of libel in the state of Veracruz.

A group of young and first time voters created a student movement under the name “Yo Soy 132” (I am 132) after 131 students confirmed their participation on protests against the presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto.

Through social media and protests, young voters have staged a backlash against the four presidential candidates with viral videos of their stumbles, but they have also created online communities to endorse political parties. Read more about how young voters are shaping elections in Mexico on my first post for Politic365.

¿Quiénes son realmente los jóvenes de la Ibero?

Con sus gritos de “¡Fuera!” y “Atenco no se olvida”, los jóvenes de la Ibero no sólo corrieron del campus al candidato del PRI, Enrique Peña Nieto, sino también sacudieron a la opinión pública. Para ser honestos, nadie lo hubiera dicho de estos estudiantes tan fresas. Una demostración así era de esperarse en cualquier universidad pública pero ¿la Ibero? Sus estudiantes cursan un semestre en España o Francia, hacen sus compras en Estados Unidos, se divierten los fines de semana en “Playa”, tienen casa de descanso en “Valle” y una “nave” para llegar a clases. Ya han estado en París, esquiado en Vail, y ahora planean su viaje de graduación en Tailandia. Para ser honestos, nadie esperaba que estos jóvenes cuyas familias pagan una colegiatura promedio de $5,000 dólares semestrales representaran una fuerza política en México porque de alguna forma, ellos han sido los más mimados del sistema económico y político del país.

Tan sorprendidos habrán estado los priístas de la campaña de Peña Nieto, que de inmediato dieron la orden de investigar a esos jóvenes y rápido se inventaron que eran estudiantes “infiltrados”, un boicot, y poco les faltó para decir que aquello era un “compló”.

Por el activismo de estos jóvenes, ahora sabemos que definitivamente no son infiltrados y que sus vituperios fueron totalmente genuinos. ¿Pero de dónde salieron estos enemigos de Televisa y del PRI? Hace poco, una experta dijo que los seres humanos adquirimos nuestra postura política e ideológica entre los 11 y 14 años de edad según la teoría del desarrollo de Jean Piaget, y que los acontecimientos políticos, mundiales y económicos que ocurran durante esa etapa nos marcarán para siempre. Sigue leyendo