MEXICO CITY — With midterms scheduled for next month, election season has permeated all aspects of Mexican life. Attack ads plague the country’s airwaves and giant billboards and propaganda line the streets of Mexico City. It seems that everywhere you turn a politician’s smiling mug looks back at you, trying its best to appear electable.
But now a group of Mexican activists has decided to take back the streets by tearing down all campaign propaganda and encouraging a nationwide clean-up effort against “electoral trash.”
“Los Supercivicos,” which translates loosely to "The Super Citizens," are engaging Mexican voters with their unique brand of politicized satire. In the past, the group of Internet stars has turned its cameras on the government, police, pedestrians and drivers with viral videos that have garnered millions of views.
Arturo Hernandez, founder of the Super Citizens, says the group aims to remove all political posters and flyers, regardless of party affiliation.
“They aren't just polluting the city with their propaganda; people don’t care about the messages on the posters because it’s always the same boring thing like… Hey! It’s Time to Join Me!,” Hernandez told Fusion.
In addition to being annoying, many posters were hung illegally on traffic lights, private homes, or even trees, the activist argues.
Hernandez wants everyone to get involved in reclaiming their city.
“What I want is for people to send me videos of themselves taking down posters; I’m thinking of making a second clip with that,” Hernandez says. “We need to tell the politicians that we’re up to here with their publicity that doesn’t say anything, that pollutes, and that we’re apolitical and we don’t give a damn about their parties.”
This year the Mexican Federal Electoral Institute (INE) approved a budget surpassing 357 million dollars for campaign spending. A lot of that money is used by parties to buy the ‘polluting’ propaganda.
The fight for urban ad space has become some intense it has even led to physical street fights between party sympathizers.
Local media reported supporters from the opposition Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and boosters of the ruling PRI got into a street fight at 3 a.m. while plastering the city with their candidates' propaganda. When the dust settled, 25 were injured.
The last presidential election in 2012 generated more than 2,500 tons of electoral garbage.