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IBERO rector: “Leave them kids alone… please”

24 May 2012

Politics is brutal in Mexico… and not in a metaphorical sense.

The PRI having tried to claim that the protests at Jesuit-run Universidad Iberoamericano when Enrique Peña Nieto came to speak were the work of an organized group, and that said group was 131 individuals, students — and anyone else with half a brain in Mexico — realized what an idiotic statement that was. Apparently, Televisa news editors have significantly less than half a brain, striving mightily as they did, to give some credibility to the statement.

I guess 131 sounded better than “about 100” or “not very many”,  It reminded me of those numbers Senator Joe McCarthy was always trotting out about the number of “Communists” in the State Department… numbers that were always precise, but never based in anything real.

At any rate, the students, having taken this for the ridiculous statement it was, and understanding that ridicule is a powerful political tool, organized a protest against Televisa (and the PRI-friendly media in general) under the banner “Somos más de 131″… featuring several thousand people claiming to be the 132nd protester.

IBERO’s Rector, Dr. José Morales Orozco, S. J., released the following statement yesterday (my translation):

Universidad Iberoamericana

  • Expresses its solidarity and support for students participating in the group known as “Somos más de 131” who have received intimidating or threatening messages via social networks and reproves some actions. If they continue, the University reserves the right to take appropriate measures.
  • Categorically rejects any act which seeks to curtail the right of this group to express themselves and to express themselves freely, and rejects any attempt to harass those who exercise their freedom of speech.
  • The University calls on all members of its community to take an informed position on the current electoral process, and to express that position with respect and tolerance.

Universidad Iberoamericana seeks the integral formation of students to foster their growth as individuals and develop their full capacities, their sense of being with and for others and social commitment.  attitudes of commitment to society.

This rather mild (and not very specific) message was released after two separate incidents in which IBERO student activists with  “Somos más de 131” received credible enough death threats that they felt it necessary to leave the country at least temporarily.  One student was approached in the parking lot of the exclusive (and restricted access) campus, the other received telephone threats against both him and his family.

Several videos from around the country, of various anti-Peña Nieto protests have caught attacks on protesters or on reporters covering the protests.  While not making any accusations, while it doesn’t appear these attacks and threats are coordinated, they don’t appear to be coming from more than one candidate’s supporters.

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