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Viral video ‘Niños Incomodos’ plays up inconvenient truths ahead of country’s July 1 presidential election.
Some 7 million youth in Mexico are what’s known as “ni nis” — shortened from “ni trabajan, ni estudian” (neither work nor study), according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Many argue that this demographic remains especially vulnerable to recruitment by gangs or the drug cartels.
Ruth Villanueva is director of psychology with FUNDEC, a Mexico City-based foundation that promotes children’s rights. She agrees that vulnerable youth and better security for people of all ages remain extremely important issues across Mexico. But she disagrees with the underlying message of the campaign.
“The image the video presents is fatalistic and overly negative,” Villanueva said. “And, they are missing a very important aspect — they don’t propose any solutions.”
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Villanueva argues that using kids to paint a morbid picture of the country doesn’t solve anything.
“I think the video would have been more impactful if it had offered a solution,” Villanueva said. “For me, the most important thing is keeping kids in school. … But what does this [video] propose, that we don’t vote? That’s not a solution.”
Most young voters are expected to choose that solution. Some 75 percent of young voters said they plan to abstain in the upcoming election, according to a recent study by Autonomous University of Mexico. The study also suggests 44 percent are “not at all interested” in the political race.
Next, the group plans to create a book that it will give to all candidates before elections that reflects hundreds of thousands of interviews conducted with regular citizens around the country who want to see positive change.
On their website, interviews with the child actors give some idea of what sentiments this book may contain.
Asked what they would want in a Mexico of the future, a girl who plays a migrant says: “That this all goes away: the killings, the drugs, the guns.”
A boy who kidnaps a motorist at gunpoint adds, “I’d like to live in a Mexico that is safe, with no corruption, and with improved education."