Yo Soy 132, a student movement that many have dubbed the “Mexican Spring” or the “Mexican Occupy,” gathered in San Francisco Tuesday to demand fair coverage of Mexico’s upcoming presidential and congressional elections.
More than 100 protesters marched outside Univision’s downtown headquarters to support the ever-growing movement and criticize the television network’s decision not to broadcast the first, and possibly the second, presidential debate at a critical time in the country’s history.
On July 1, Mexicans will head to the polls to vote. Mexico is at a crossroads; more than 50,000 have been killed in the country’s war on drugs, depressing residents and the economy.
Yo Soy 132 derives its name from the 131 student demonstrators who ousted Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto from the PRI during his visit to the Ibero-American University in Mexico City.
The movement has held massive rallies in Mexico City and in some U.S. cities since its inception last month.
Its main grievances involve the control of information by two television companies that have 95 percent of the market in Mexico.
Although the group is nonpartisan, it opposes the center-right party, citing the corruption that has marred the party’s presidential elections during its 70 years in power.
“We are more mature people, but we are here to support our youth,” said Mission District resident Diana Medina.
Chelis Lopez of San Francisco said the group chose to protest Univision because of its perceived biased in favor of Peña Nieto, the center right (PRI) presidential candidate. They cited the network’s lack of coverage of other Mexican presidential candidates, like left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as well as its decision not to air the first presidential debate in May.
Lopez also questioned the relationship between Univision and Televisa, Mexico’s largest television channel, which has become a source of ire for the Yo Soy 132 movement.
The second presidential debate will be aired on Galavision, a small Spanish-language channel owned by Univision.
Young people and families took part in the protest, chanting “Novelas no, debates sí” and “Fútbol no, debates sí.” Soap operas, or novelas, and soccer matches are by far the most popular television shows on Spanish-language television.
Demetrio Flores, a Mexican immigrant who lives in San Francisco, said, “The only thing we are asking from Univision is impartiality.”