Today, Mexico will face the Dutch for the first time since the controversial World Cup match that sent El Tri home over the summer and launched a thousand #NoEraPenal memes. The chance for revenge will definitely have many tuned into this match, but with the nation in turmoil over events in Iguala, there are several good reasons why you should probably sit this one out.
(And if you think we’re being grinches about this, check out our rebuttal post 5 Reasons to Pay Special Attention to the Mexico vs. Netherlands Friendly).
Because all eyes should be on the government
The horrific mass murder and kidnapping of students in Iguala, Guerrero in September has seized national and international attention and thrown Mexico into crisis. After enduring years of systemic violence and abuse of power, the events of Iguala have outraged a nation where the lines between elected officials and organized crime are no longer clear. This is a time when all eyes and voices should be directed toward the Mexican government, demanding answers (as Guillermo del Toro recently pointed out at a MoMA gala this week), not distracted by a trivial soccer match.
Because no one from La Selección has spoken up
The #todossomosAyotzinapa movement has, for now, managed to overcome class and race barriers, and galvanized Mexicans at all levels of society to speak out against the injustices and human rights violations being committed against civilians. In particular, many high profile musicians, actors, and directors have used their larger platforms to raise awareness about the incidents that took place in September, voice their indignation, and more broadly, their fears about what these incidents mean for the future of Mexico. But it’s been radio silence on the part of La Selección Nacional. It’s hard not to be cynical about a team that launched a #QuieroCreer campaign to ask for the Mexican public to rally around them and lend their support, but who can’t return in kind when the nation needs its heroes to speak upon their behalf.
Because Enrique Peña Nieto has pulled this before
It’s a well-known fact that national governments often use fan fervor over soccer to their own advantage — either to stoke nationalist sentiment or as a smokescreen to distract people from what is happening behind the scenes. Over the summer, Enrique Peña Nieto tried (and succeeded) the latter move, scheduling legislative sessions to debate a law opening Pemex, the nationalized oil company, to foreign investment, precisely at the height of the World Cup, when it was likely that no one would be paying attention. As writer Francisco Goldman, scathingly pointed out in an Op Ed published in the New York Times, “Mr. Peña Nieto seems to regard the plight of his citizenry as a public relations stain that needs to be kept out of sight.”
Don’t get distracted by the warm and fuzzies of cheering for your team and lose sight of what is really at stake here.
Because Televisa is a corrupt government shill
EPN’s agenda (and more broadly, the PRI’s) is implicitly enacted through Televisa, the network that broadcasts soccer matches and monopolizes Mexican television, garnering about 70% of its broadcast audience. Peña Nieto’s close ties with Televisa have long been the subject of much criticism, an issue recently underscored by the ethics questions raised by his wife’s purchase of a multi-million dollar mansion from the same Mexican company that recently won a $3.7 billion contract to build Mexico’s first high-speed rail. The First Lady, a former Televisa star, claims she acquired the property from the network, but we’re not buying it.
Televisa and EPN are in bed together, and both should be boycotted until the government answers for the events in Iguala.
Because it doesn't matter
Not to get all nihilist on you, but in the grand scheme of things this match means zero.