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      Friday
      Jun012012

      Mexico’s Obrador Trails by Only Four Points

      By PJRC correspondent Alci

      Left candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – AMLO - is only four points behind the PRI’s presidential pacesetter Enrique Pena Nieto, according to Reforma, after a year in which the mainstream media and political analysts had written off the PRD presidential candidate. In Reforma’s poll, Nieto led with 29 percent to AMLO’s 26, ahead of the ruling PAN’s candidate, Josefina Vasquez Mota, with 20. The election is not until July 1, so the trends are fluid. 

      In a political stirring perhaps similar to the recent rise of Alexis Tripras and SYRIZA in Greece, Obrador might be boosted by recent street mobilizations led by Mexico City's youth who have formed a movement dubbed #YoSoy132 (I Am 132). "132" is a somewhat Occupy-style protest movement sparked by Nieto's provocative comments during a visit to the private Iberoamericana University where he was booed offstage after claiming that students were shills for Obrador. The students have been packing Mexico City's streets denouncing both Nieto's stereotypes and a rigged system they see as offering little hope. Forty percent of Mexico’s voters will be in their 20s and most graduate from college facing an empty job market.


      While the movement has maintained a "nonpartisan," "apolitical" identity similar to the Indignados in Spain, the protests have managed to open up Mexico's notoriously rigged political landscape by protesting domestic media giants TV Azteca and Televisa, two networks known for not broadcasting presidential debates and glossing over Nieto's public gaffs and corruption accusations. TV Azteca refused to broadcast the first presidential debate because, it coincided with a popular soccer match. Now, thanks to the protests, both TV Azteca and Televisa will broadcast the next debate scheduled for June 10. 

      Meanwhile the Movement For Peace With Justice And Dignity led by poet Javier Sicilia is still making its presence felt. The Movement recently held a round table discussion with all four presidential candidates in the capitol's historic Chapultepec Castle. Sicilia offered blunt, clear statements towards the candidates denouncing corruption and the violence of the drug war. The candidates mostly offered rehearsed, bureaucratic responses with Obrador trying to distance himself from the PRI and PAN parties' reputations. The Peace Movement has so far refused to endorse Obrador, but with many of the country's youth feeling little affection for the PRI and hostility towards the ruling PAN, a large percentage could feel inspired to take a risk with AMLO on July 1.

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