A realistic and fast-paced video that shows violence and corruption in Mexico — portrayed exclusively by child actors — has sparked debate over the country's problems, and seeks to tilt the discussion in its presidential race.
The video, which challenges politicians to improve living conditions in Mexico, has been viewed more than 1.8 million times since it was released four days ago. In it, a montage of everyday, even casual, crime plays out, all of it set to the Jose Jose song "Una Manana" ("One Morning").
Update at 1:24 p.m. EDT, 4/17: The video has been removed from YouTube; we have requests out for comment from its producers. You should be able to see it at the Spanish-language site 20 Minutos TV. Our original post continues:
Hundreds of children were reportedly used to film the four-minute video, which was produced by the group Nuestro Mexico Del Futuro (Our Mexico of the Future). In it, they enact scenes of street crime, government bribes, pollution and human trafficking.
Using high production values to show scenes of children holding — and using — cigarettes, machine guns, and suitcases of money, the video attracted both praise and criticism after it was posted on YouTube Monday.
As part of its video campaign, Our Mexico of the Future is calling for Mexican citizens to contribute their ideas about how to solve their nation's problems. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 10.5 million people had submitted their ideas, according to the group's website.
The group plans to compile the ideas into a book, which it will then present to candidates in Mexico's 2012 presidential election.
Writing at CNN, Mariano Castillo says that some of the leading candidates have seen the video:
"Vazquez Mota, of the ruling National Action Party, said the video's message can't go unnoticed, while Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Pena Nieto expressed that now is the time for change, as the video suggests."
"Leftist candidate Lopez Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, had not seen the video, but said he agreed with the theme of change."
In a behind-the-scenes video posted by the group, the child actors who participated in the mockumentary discuss their own ideas for Mexico's future.