We're enormous admirers of the YoSoy132 movement which, like Occupy Wall St. up north, grew spontaneously and sincerely and seems to have all the right enemies. Its emergence was genuinely inspiring, and we really wished it hadn't screwed up by failing to grasp that, in a race with at least four legitimate candidates, you can't build a movement based around simply voting against the front-runner. But of course no one listens to us and so, even though 62 percent of the electorate wanted someone other than Peña Nieto to be president, that's who's being inaugurated tomorrow.
Of course there will be protests, including a three-day festival petulance here in Querétaro starting tonight. We're all for stickin' it to El Hombre and stuff, but we were kind of disappointed to see the poster taped up right outside our offices: The Protest Against the Imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto.
The Imposition? Look, amigos, we share your unhappiness at the outcome, and we know that the Powers That Be were all behind the man, and Televisa, too; and we've heard all the stories of gift-giving and petty fraud - but then the Mexican people went out and voted and EPN got almost 3.5 million more votes than his nearest competitor. That's a lot of Soriana cards. You can say whatever you like about him - most of it negative and probably correct - but he wasn't "imposed." Dude won by seven points in a four-person race.
It sounds patronizing when gringos say this, but Mexico's democracy, for all its outward signs of solidity, is still pretty young and somewhat fragile. Given the centrality of the presidency to political life here, propagating the idea that the president is somehow illegitimate is not only stupid, but really kind of dangerous. We're looking forward to six years of relentless protests, which are a necessary bulwark against the return of the "bad old days" of the PRI, but please stop pretending that the winner was "imposed" on you when you couldn't even agree to unite around any of his competitors.