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Mexico: Candidate Vázquez Mota Angers University Students

Today candidates for the presidency in Mexico have to be very careful about how they express themselves in public, at least until July 2012, when presidential elections will be held. Any mistake or declaration that could be misinterpreted, can push away voters during this election year.

Josefina Vázquez Mota, the only female candidate for the presidency, caused confusion and anger among Mexicans, especially university students, when she referred to the university where she obtained her Bachelor's degree, the Ibero-American University.

The incident happened at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), where she was speaking to students. In her speech she declared that her weakness was that she had studied Economics at “Ibero”: “No soy perfecta, estudié en la Ibero” (“I am not perfect, I studied at Ibero”.) Students from ITAM University immediately laughed and cheered.

Josefina Vázquez Mota during a press conference. Image by Luis Ramon Barron Tinajero, Copyright Demotix.

Josefina Vázquez Mota during a press conference. Image by Luis Ramon Barron Tinajero, Copyright Demotix.

Pulso Ciudadano explains [es] the incident:

Durante la Conferencia Magistral brindada en el Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) Josefina Vázquez Mota indicó que no era perfecta y que había estudiado la Licenciatura de Economía en la Universidad Iberoamericana ¿Cuál es el criterio de la candidata presidencial para determinar qué universidad es más que otra? ¿Ese criterio debería de influir en la forma en que se dirige a los jóvenes universitarios del país?

During the keynote lecture given at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) Josefina Vázquez Mota said she was not perfect and that she studied a Bachelor's of Economics at the Ibero-American University. What is the presidential candidate's criteria to determine which college is better than another? Should that judgment influence the way in which she targets university students in the country?

Social media reactions were swift, with #josefinahumillaylahumillan [es], “Itam” [es] and “Ibero” [es] quickly trending on Twitter.

Fernanda Familiar (@qtf) [es] wrote on the topic:

Y Josefina Vázquez Mota, remata ayer, contra la Ibero… “No soy perfecta, estudié en la Ibero”.

And Josefina Vázquez Mota, goes against the Ibero … “I'm not perfect, I studied at Ibero”.

Daliri Oropeza, (@Dal_air)[es], a student from the Ibero-American University said:

Puedes seguir con tu discurso vacío, pero por favor, no lo relaciones con la UIA, @JosefinaVM #Ibero

You can continue with your empty words, but please do not relate it to UIA @JosefinaVM #Ibero

Some students from ITAM University were neutral on the incident, like @panchparra [es]:

ITAMitas hagamos valer nuestro auditorio, la comunidad @MundoITAM con actitud critica y academica #JosefinaITAM

ITAMitas let's assert our auditorium, the @MundoITAM community with an academic and critical attitude #JosefinaITAM

Marco Antonio Gómez Lovera, blogger at Vivir México [es], affirmed that the candidate was only joking, as this is the type of language commonly used by youth:

Es claro que comentarios como estos pueden llegar a herir sensibilidades, pero también se debe entender que entre jóvenes que se expresan así, el comentario intentaba ser una manera de romper el hielo y conectar con el auditorio. ¿Que lo pudo haber hecho de manera diferente? Sí, también.

It is clear that comments like these can hurt sensibilities, but also we must understand that amongst young people, this is the way they express themselves, the comment was meant to be a way to break the ice and connect with the audience. Could she have done it differently? Yes, that too.

Genaro Lozano, (@genarolozano) [es] a professor at both universities admitted that he would also make similar jokes at both institutions, just to make students feel more confident:

Ah y claro, igual que JVM yo también siempre hago bromas con mis alumn@s del ITAM y de la Ibero sobre un@s y otr@s. Para motivarlos. :p

Oh and of course just like JVM, I always make jokes to my students at ITAM and Ibero about each other.Just to motivate them. : p

Finally, Josefina Vázquez Mota (@Josefina VM) [es] responded to the criticismfrom her official Twitter account:

Lamento que algunas personas deseen desvirtuar un comentario que jamás tuvo el propósito de lastimar a mi alma máter.

I regret that some people want to undermine a comment that never was intended to hurt my alma mater

Finally, in a radio program from Ibero's radio station Triste Turno, she said [es] that it was only a joke and that if she were born again, she would study Economics in the same university.

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