Not every demonstration is inspired by the Arab Spring

Unded the headline "Mexico’s Arab Moment," the Global Post’s Ioan Grillo reports on this week’s anti-drug war demonstrations in Mexico City:  In fact, many protesters in Mexico City’s central plaza said they were directly inspired by the uprisings in the Arab world. “People are standing up to transform their societies in Egypt and in Syria. ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Unded the headline "Mexico's Arab Moment," the Global Post's Ioan Grillo reports on this week's anti-drug war demonstrations in Mexico City: 

In fact, many protesters in Mexico City’s central plaza said they were directly inspired by the uprisings in the Arab world.

“People are standing up to transform their societies in Egypt and in Syria. We have to do the same thing here — to change our country from the bottom up,” said Ruben Bueno, a 42-year-old school teacher, who said two of his valued students had been gunned in the violence.

Unded the headline "Mexico’s Arab Moment," the Global Post’s Ioan Grillo reports on this week’s anti-drug war demonstrations in Mexico City: 

In fact, many protesters in Mexico City’s central plaza said they were directly inspired by the uprisings in the Arab world.

“People are standing up to transform their societies in Egypt and in Syria. We have to do the same thing here — to change our country from the bottom up,” said Ruben Bueno, a 42-year-old school teacher, who said two of his valued students had been gunned in the violence.

It makes sense that demonstrators might want to link their movement to the dramatic events in the Middle East — it was happening as far back as  Wisconsin’s union protests in February –but I think it’s smart to be cautious in describing events as "inspired by" the protests in Egypt or Tunisia.

It’s one thing when you’re talking about a place like Uganda or China where the leaders share political characteristics and sometimes even direct political ties with Arab dictatorships, but Mexico is an electoral democracy — and one whose president has about the same approval rating as Barack Obama.

That said, while Calderon may not be Hosni Mubarak, the increasingly vocal movement opposing his drug war policies is worth keeping an eye on. Let’s just give them credit for speaking out all on their own. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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