The meeting in December between recently re-elected President Barack Obama and President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto was marked by cordiality and a desire to talk about anything but the often grisly drug-related violence in Mexico during the previous six years. Since then, Peña Nieto has continued the changed emphasis, aided by headlines pivoting to positive stories. Mexico has been recently hailed for its economic growth, particularly in export-oriented manufacturing, and for a series of political compromises that The Washington Post favorably compared with the U.S. Congressional stalemate.
Despite optimistic claims from the government, Mexican media reports indicate that drug-related violence continues at nearly the same pace as last year. (Click here for a summary and analysis by our colleagues at InSight Crime.) Moreover, pressure is growing on questions of human rights violations committed in the name of the war on drugs. When Presidents Peña Nieto and Obama meet again in early May, holding back a renewed focus on security is likely to be a challenge.