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In viral video, children ask Mexican presidential candidates tough questions

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
April 12, 2012 -- Updated 2351 GMT (0751 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A video featuring child actors has gone viral in Mexico
  • It shows children facing the challenges the country faces
  • The video asks Mexican presidential candidates for real change
  • Some of the candidates have seen the video

(CNN) -- A short video that has gone viral in Mexico asks a tough question of the country's presidential candidates: "Are you striving only for the (presidential) chair, or will you change the future of our country?"

A young girl with brown eyes and long brown hair, wearing a simple white shirt, poses the question. Behind her is a small army of child actors who star in the video, which is cute for a moment, but deadly serious.

In it, the children act out a day in the life of a Mexican resident, fraught with all the problems and challenges that a leader must face.

A child dressed as a businessman gets robbed at gunpoint as soon as he leaves his home. The robbers hand their loot over to a corrupt police officer. Protesters clash with riot police. There's a smog alert. Drug traffickers have it out with police on the streets, and human smugglers unload their cargo.

Seeing children act out these grown-up situations has elicited a number of responses. Some viewers have criticized it as political manipulation, others as a wake-up call. But the list of Mexico's woes weighs heavily: security, pollution and poverty, among others.

The video has garnered nearly 2 million views in less than four days.

"In reality, the video is not reflecting anything that people have not experienced," said Rosenda Martinez, a spokeswoman for Our Mexico of the Future, the group behind the production.

The video targets the major presidential candidates -- Enrique Pena Nieto, Josefina Vazquez Mota and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- and aims to raise awareness about Our Mexico of the Future.

The goal of the organization is to collect as many "visions" of Mexico's future as possible and to compile them in a book that will be presented to the candidates before the election.

So far, more than 10 million Mexicans have written or recorded their dreams for a safer or cleaner or more tolerant Mexico.

"We've had the response we've hoped for, and even exceeded it," Martinez said.

After the children in the video depict a kidnapping, posters of the missing and people wearing face masks because of smog, the young narrator continues: "If this is the future that awaits me, I don't want it. Stop working for your party, and not for us. Stop superficially fixing the country."

Some of the candidates have watched 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.

Our Mexico of the Future will release data based on the millions of messages it has received. Martinez said to expect that security and the environment are the two most popular themes mentioned by Mexicans.

CNN's Krupskaia Alis contributed to this report from Mexico City.

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