Amidst a generally dull election season, an incipient social movement calling itself “I’m132” (YoSoy132) is shaking up the presidential campaigns. This decentralized and apparently nonpartisan movement is composed of thousands of students and young people and relies heavily on social media to organize and communicate. Its members appear to be united against what they perceive as a biased media and entrenched vested interests; they demonstrate a clear opposition to PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), as they perceive his party and his candidacy as embodiments of the status quo. YoSoy132 is notable for having moved beyond the online realm and gaining support and press coverage at a national level. The students have already staged protests in various cities throughout the country and have been profiled by all the major media outlets.
The movement traces its origins to a mass student protest on May 11th when EPN visited the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. During that event, the PRI candidate was widely booed as he entered the university auditorium and was heckled during his speech. This was an unprecedented moment for EPN’s campaign, as it was the first time that an unplanned event had so noticeably affected the candidate’s tightly orchestrated public appearances. Videos of the incident began appearing on the web and were echoed by print media. Still, the media conglomerate Televisa, which has often been accused of supporting EPN, did not cover the university protest. Meanwhile, the PRI accused outside meddlers of staging the protest at the university and insinuated that opposition parties had paid the participant.
The students fought back, producing a video in which 131 students stated that they were acting independently. This video inspired the movement’s name. The students became particularly angered by the skewed media coverage of the event and began organizing a protest to express their rejection of EPN’s candidacy. On May 19th, roughly 20,000 protesters participated in a massive, yet peaceful, march on Mexico City’s main avenue, Reforma.