04/12/12- On Monday April 9, 2012, a movement in Mexico entitled “Our Future Mexico” (Nuestro México del Futuro) released a short film called “Niños incómodos” (Uncomfortable Children or Discomforting Children), which quickly accrued nearly 2 million views online. The cast of the film is entirely made up of children featured in adult roles as both victims and perpetrators of crime, including thieves, murderers, and corrupt officials. The dual meaning of “incómodo” in Spanish suggests that on the one hand, it is discomforting for the viewer to see children behave this way, and on the other that children are not comfortable with the future that awaits them.
At the end of the film, after an elaborate tour of a world in which children are walking through the streets with doctors masks due to poor air quality, committing violent crimes and trafficking drugs, attempting to cross the border illegally, etc., a young girl steps forward to deliver the message of the film: “If this is the world that awaits me, I don’t want it. Stop working for your parties and not for us. Stop fixing the country from the very top. Mrs. Josefina [Vázquez Mota], Mr. Andrés Manuel [López Obrador], Mr. Enrique [Peña Nieto], Mr. Gabriel [Quadri de la Torre], time has run out. Mexico has already reached rock bottom. Do you just want to be president? Or are you going to change the future of our country?”
Afterwards, the words “We are millions that want a better country” appear on the screen. This is the entire goal of the “Our Future Mexico” campaign–to give a voice to millions who view each of the four candidates (Vázquez Mota, López Obrador, Peña Nieto, and Quadri de la Torre) running for president equally unsatisfactory. The associated website (http://www.nuestromexicodelfuturo.com.mx/main) explains that “Our Future Mexico” is an “unprecedented social movement on a national scale, which asks all Mexicans to express their vision about the Mexico in which they would like to live.” Currently, there have already been 10,649,419 submissions from people responding to the call. The site explains that all of the submissions will be compiled into a book to be called The Decree of Our Future Mexico, and given to each of the four 2012 presidential candidates.
Since its release, the film itself has received both praise and criticism throughout Mexico. Critics argue that the vague nature in which the film addresses complex problems is misleading. In an article in Milenio, Álvaro Cueva argues that clearly everyone wants a better country, but asking candidates if they really want to change the country is unproductive, because they are not “magicians.” Representatives of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), and the Labor Party (Partido del Trabajo, PT) have also actively criticized the film. They argued that using children in such a way is despicable and violates their human rights. According to PRI party member Miguel Ángel García Granados, having children act out these issues does not solve them. He explained that he shares the same goal as the “millions who want a better country,” but the use of children in this way is inexcusable. The Ministry of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación) was asked to remove the film from circulation.
According to Proceso, Our Future Mexico clarified its intentions with the film today. They explained that the video does not represent the concerns or opinions of any groups, institutions, or individuals in particular; rather it represents the concerns of over 10 million citizens. The defense continued: “Our Future Mexico feels a great sense of responsibility and promise having millions of positive visions of Mexico in its power. For this reason, we have chosen to create a film that does nothing more than reflect the themes addressed by these visions, which need to be resolved. We should also recognize that our Mexican children will live in the future that will be determined by the decisions we make in the present.”
Of the four presidential candidates, Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), Josefina Vazquez Mota (PAN), and Gabriel Quadri (PT) have all publicly accepted the challenge posed by the film. The candidate from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD), Andrés Manuel López Obrador, however, has yet to comment.
Nuestro México del Futuro. http://www.nuestromexicodelfuturo.com.mx/. Accessed April 12, 2012.