Declining Ratings for Mexico’s Peña Nieto

8/27/2015 Pew Research Center 

Dario Lopez-Mills - AP (2)
Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Three years after being elected president, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto is increasingly unpopular. Following a year plagued by scandal and controversy, his ratings have fallen, and Mexicans have grown disappointed with key elements of his ambitious agenda.

A new Pew Research Center survey of Mexico finds 44% of the public expressing a favorable view of Peña Nieto, down from 51% in 2014.

Moreover, his ratings on specific issues have dropped sharply. Last year, 55% approved of how Peña Nieto was handling education. Education reform is a cornerstone of his presidency that has met with intense opposition from the country’s powerful teachers unions. However, this year just 43% give him a favorable review on this issue.

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Peña Nieto exonerated by government probe

8/23/15 Financial Times

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Mexico’s government on Friday exonerated President Enrique Peña Nieto, his wife and finance minister of any charges of conflict of interest over house purchases from favoured contractors that sparked a major credibility crisis.

Virgilio Andrade, head of the Public Function ministry which is investigating public servants, announced the findings of the six-month probe at a two-and-a-half hour news conference. The 60,000 pages of evidence and documents, and written interviews with 111 public officials, led Mr Andrade to conclude that the president and Luis Videgaray, the finance minister, had not acted improperly under Mexican law, since their roles gave them no formal power to award public works contracts.

He noted that contracts for the houses, bought before they took federal office, had not been amended to bring them financial gain. The first lady is not a public servant. However, Mr Peña Nieto offered an unprecedented “sincere apology”, saying that despite having been exonerated of wrongdoing, he appreciated that many Mexicans had been indignant.

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Another death in Mexico: Man who led search for the missing

08/10/15 Los Angeles Times

acapulcoThe leader of a civilian group that has spent the last 10 months searching for bodies of 43 missing students and others in the hills of Mexico’s Guerrero state was found shot to death in his taxi, authorities said.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was killed early Saturday night on the outskirts of Xaltianguis, the town where he lived that is about an hour’s drive from the resort town of Acapulco. His body was found slumped in the driver’s seat of the taxi he owned, a gunshot wound in his head.

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Mexican President Involved in a New Corruption Scandal

7/23/15 teleSUR 

12242280414_183b094546_zMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is involved in a new scandal. This time it is nepotism as one of his nieces holds a top executive position in the state-owned oil company Pemex since 2014, less than a year after she graduated from university. In 2014, Maria Fernanda Said Pretelini was hired as highly-paid coordinator in Pemex’s press office in spite of her lack of experience or knowledge for the position. Aristegui Noticias – a news outlet headed by Carmen Aristegui – the Mexican journalist fired from radio broadcaster MVS because she exposed Peña Nieto in a corruption scandal involving a US$7-million mansion – revealed this new case of presidential corruption. The news outlet said Said Pretilini is making close to US$4,000 a month, which is a salary five times higher than any other university graduate of her level and experience.

“Said Pretilini’s only other job experience was working one year for an NGO called ‘Join Foundation! Donate Life as an assistant’,” Aristegui Noticias said. Said Pretilini is now in charge of coordinating information campaigns and market and opinion analysis. “She has no experience nor the proper knowledge to carry out these tasks,” the news outlet added.

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Mexico’s Peña Nieto gambles in key education reform

7/21/15 Financial Times

peña-nietoMexican federal riot police took up guard outside the education institute of the state of Oaxaca, as authorities embarked on a high-stakes gamble to implement the country’s key education reform after months of paralysis.

A faction of the dissident CNTE teachers’ movement has repeatedly clashed with police, blocked roads and staged strikes and other disturbances since the reform was passed in late 2013 in a bid to ensure its stranglehold on the education system in several states is not broken, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.

But in a surprise move, Oaxaca state governor Gabino Cué and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s spokesman announced that the State Public Education Institute of Oaxaca, known as IEEPO, was being scrapped, and that the state government would set up a new institute fully under its control.

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Mexico Homicide Rate Drops 27 Percent Since Start Of Peña Nieto’s Term

7/20/15 International Business Times

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera salute during the military parade celebrating Independence Day at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico CityMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was continuing to recover from a tough week that saw both the dazzling escape of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and a disappointing show for its historic oilfield auction. Still, there were some hopeful statistics for the president to tout: New government figures released Monday showed that homicides fell again last year from the year before, making for a continuous downward streak since Peña Nieto first took office.

The national statistics office published its most recent homicide tally Monday, showing 19,669 homicides for 2014, or a rate of 16 per 100,000 people. That marks a 27 percent decrease in homicides since 2012, when Peña Nieto first stepped into office, and a 37 percent increase since Mexican homicide figures hit their peak in 2011. The figures include intentional as well as unintentional killings.

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‘El Chapo’ Guzman will be Mexican President Pena Nieto’s legacy

7/20/15 BBC News

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters
Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

It was either anger or laughter. But it was humour that won out, at least for the first 24 hours.

Pretty soon, fake selfies appeared on social media showing El Chapo outside Trump Tower smiling. A dig, of course, at businessman Donald Trump who outraged Mexicans recently when he said those who came to the US were “bringing drugs, bringing crime, they’re rapists”.

Sarcasm and dark humour are what seem to be getting Mexicans through these difficult times.

And these times are excruciating for President Enrique Pena Nieto too.

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