Photo: Mexican Presidential Candidates Put on the Spot by Video Asking Why They're Running
A video in which children ask Mexico’s 2012 presidential hopefuls whether they really want to change the country or are just seeking the office for its own sake has already topped 2.7 million views on YouTube.
“Inconvenient children question the candidates,” launched this week by the group Our Future Mexico with sponsorship from insurer GNP, features the kids in dramatic depictions of present evils such as gangland violence and corruption.
“If this is the future that awaits me, I don’t want it. Enough of working for the (political) parties and not for us. Enough of running the country from above,” a girl says near the end of the four-minute clip.
“Doña Josefina, Don Andres Manuel, Don Enrique, Don Gabriel: time is running out, Mexico is touching bottom. Will you only run for the (presidential) chair or will you change the future of our country,” she adds.
The four candidates whose names will be on the ballot in the July 1 election - Enrique Peña Nieto, Josefina Vazquez Mota, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Gabriel Quadri - have already offered responses to the kids’ message.
Front-runner Peña Nieto, of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, praised the video for reflecting “the crisis Mexico is living today, of violence, of insecurity, of lack of opportunity” and said his aim is to restore peace.
The candidate of the governing rightist National Action Party, Vazquez Mota, said she would meet with the people who made the video, while leftist Lopez Obrador said the clip’s portrait of contemporary Mexico is accurate.
Quadri, representing the small Panal party, urged the group behind the video to present positive proposals and to examine his proposal to revolutionize the Mexican educational system.
More broadly, reaction to the video was divided. While some criticized the use of children to portray criminals, abusive cops and corrupt officials, others hailed the campaign for trying to awaken Mexico’s conscience.
PRI legislator Miguel Angel Garcia called the short film sensationalist and said it should be withdrawn.
Sens. Carlos Navarrete and Ruben Camarillo - from the left and the right, respectively - rejected the idea of pulling the video even as they asked electoral authorities to investigate whether the clip violates laws regulating the dissemination of political propaganda.
“What we wanted was to sensitize” Mexican society and make people see that “changing the course is in everyone’s hands,” the public relations director of Our Future Mexico, Monica Mejia, told Efe.
During the filming, she said, the children “were very committed to be able to reflect in a realistic way what they are experiencing and what they know is happening in our country.”
The kids’ parents were present throughout the filming of the video, Mejia said.