Mexico president in crisis is losing support of big business

February 26, 2015

02/26/15 The Washington Post 

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

The full-page ad in Mexico’s national newspapers was unusual, if not unprecedented: 20 powerful business groups and think tanks publicly scolding the government for not doing its job. They demanded “conditions necessary to do their work … in total security, in all of the country.” The ad, published last month, called on President Enrique Pena Nieto to “honor your oath to observe and enforce the constitution.” The public criticism by Mexico’s business community underlines the eroding support for Pena Nieto’s administration as he enters the third year of a six-year term. Business leaders are angry over reforms that have increased the tax burden without sparking economic growth, scandals over apparent favoritism and acts of lawlessness that are hurting commerce.

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Mexico President’s Home Purchase Not Part of Ethics Probe

February 5, 2015

02/04/15 Bloomberg 

Enrique Pena NietoA conflict of interests probe into homes purchased by President Enrique Pena Nieto, his wife and finance minister won’t seek to determine whether they actually paid for the properties, limiting the reach of any findings. The investigation will try to decide whether the developers who built the homes received favorable treatment when they later bid for federal contracts, Virgilio Andrade, the comptroller heading the probe, said Wednesday. The ministry won’t seek to determine how the homes were obtained and if they involved sweetheart deals, he said. Investigators “don’t have the jurisdiction, and there is no system to investigate the proof of payments on commercial contracts when the subjects weren’t public servants,” Andrade told reporters in Mexico City. “We’re going to investigate subsequent contracts of private parties with the government. It’s important to say it in a clear way.”

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Mexico Leader Under New Scrutiny

January 21, 2015

1/20/2015 The Wall Street Journal

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

A few weeks after taking office as governor of the State of Mexico in late 2005, President Enrique Peña Nieto purchased a property in an exclusive golf club from a businessman who helped transform this sleepy town into a popular resort known for its Roman-style thermal baths.

Roberto San Román Widerkehr, the seller of the weekend residence and developer of an exclusive golf club here, also founded a local construction firm which went on to win more than $100 million in public-works contracts during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor from 2005 to 2011, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal…

But the transaction is another example of the extensive personal links between politicians and businessmen from Mr. Peña Nieto’s home state that led to accusations by politicians and others of influence peddling that are roiling his administration. The public outcry risks distracting the government from implementing economic overhauls and damaging his party’s support before midterm elections in June.

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Harper Postpones Three Amigos Summit Amid Chilly Relations with U.S. and Mexico

January 16, 2015

1/15/2015 The Globe and Mail

NAFTAPrime Minister Stephen Harper has postponed the North American leaders’ summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a time when relations with both leaders are chilly.

The unexpected move allows Mr. Harper to avoid an awkward side-by-side news conference with Mr. Obama at a February summit that all three governments were expecting would be dominated by the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline – now at the top of the political agenda in Washington.


Obama Pledges Mexico’s Pena Nieto Drugs Support

January 9, 2015

1/6/2015 BBC News

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoPresident Barack Obama has promised the US will stand alongside Mexico in its fight against drug-related violence.

The vow came after talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto in the White House, in which the two discussed the recent disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

The US president said his country would be a “good partner” to its neighbour in the fight against drugs and associated problems.

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and drug cartels that are responsible for so many tragedies inside of Mexico,” he said.

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Will Obama provide Mexico’s besieged president a much-needed lifeline?

January 8, 2015

1/6/2015 The Christian Science Monitor

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoWhen President Enrique Peña Nieto sits down with US President Obama on Tuesday, the scandal-plagued Mexican leader will be under intense pressure to ensure that their discussion – which will touch on security, immigration, trade, and economic issues – produces tangible results.

Both Mexicans and the international community originally expected Mr. Peña Nieto to bring much-needed change to Mexico. But that image has been dramatically undercut by outrage over the poor handling of a case in which 43 students went missing after being handed over to police, as well as several recent political scandals. Now, Mexicans are watching to see if he can work effectively with his powerful northern neighbor in a way that could compensate for his growing political and economic woes.

“It seems like now would be the right moment to double down on those goals that were introduced in the Merida Initiative,” says Christopher Wilson, a senior associate with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, noting that the initiative, which was originally negotiated between former presidents Felipe Calderón and George W. Bush, has yet to be formally updated by Peña Nieto.

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Obama Asks Mexico’s Help to Keep Some People Out of U.S.

January 8, 2015

1/6/2015 McClatchy DC

4097699785_073813177e_zPresident Barack Obama recently took action to address the flow of immigrants coming into the United States illegally. Now he’s looking for help from his Mexican counterpart.

At a meeting Tuesday at the White House, Obama urged Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to halt the flow of immigrants, including unaccompanied minors, coming from Central America to the United States through Mexico by strengthening porous borders and monitoring passengers traveling by train…

Christopher Wilson, senior associate at the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, said Mexico had been trying to find the proper balance on immigration as the nation became a pass-through for Central Americans. “They’ve been struggling with that over the years, with what’s the right response,” he said.

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