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Global Call for Freedom or Slackerism 2.0?

Several Mexican organizations have teamed up to stop a proposed telecom bill that may make Mexico once again a society ruled by the autocratic PRI. Lawyers, civil and human rights activists are not taking that chance, and are turning to the Internet for help. But the campaign may be too light on details and specifics for it to be effective.

Borrowing a page from similar movements in Brazil and Venezuela, this video uses an attractive young woman who in perfect English appeals to Internet users across the world with often shocking words and images.

“Do you know what is happening in Mexico?, asks the young lady followed by a series of alarming photos and words like “SLAVERY” and “MASS DISAPPEARANCE” flashed before the screen. But the video and accompanying websites don’t provide much information on the telecom bill, nor exactly what can be done to help stop this proposed legislation. Rather, it simply asks for people to help make the #EPNVSINTERNET hashtag a worldwide Trending Topic on Twitter.

Global slackerism? Without being too critical, that appears to be the strategy behind this campaign: Trending Topics, likes and shares, media attention in the English-speaking world — specifically the United States — that will apply enough pressure on Peña Nieto to give up his efforts to censor the Internet in Mexico. Unfortunately, that’s not as simple as it sounds. Most information coming from Mexico goes through Univision which is partly owned by Televisa. Yes, the same Televisa mentioned in this video. Do you really think that aside from a few minutes (if that!) of coverage, Jorge Ramos and the crew in Miami will give the same sympathetic treatment that they gave the right-wing #SOSVenezuela campaign and elitist protesters attempting to overthrow a democratically elected president in Venezuela earlier this year? If you do, you’re sadly mistaken.

The reality is that most in the English-speaking world do not have a very positive view of Mexico because they don’t hear directly from everyday people. So to make #EPNvsInternet an effective global campaign, those in Mexico City need to link up with students and organizations who care about Mexico, specifically Internet freedom there. Who fits that bill? The millions of Mexicans living in the United States, of course. But what we’ve learned over the years is that most of the members of civil and student groups (132, etc.) based in Mexico have little regard for their Mexican brethren in the States. They seem more concerned with appealing to those in the Occupied Movement, which is not surprising considering the fact that most of their members are from middle to upper middle-class Mexico City families with hardly any connection to Chicanos and migrant Mexican communities in the States. That’s where this campaign fails.

Pretty girls may get clicks but they don’t win real and substantive change. To do that, 132, Contingente MX and others need to link up with their paisanos in California, Illinois, New York, Texas, Washington, and elsewhere. If we do that, we can win.

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