Can Mexican presidential candidate avoid ‘Rick Perry’ slump after books fumble?

CSM, 12/7/12

When asked what three books have most influenced him over the weekend, Mr. Peña Nieto, former Mexico state governor and the country’s leading presidential candidate, paused, stumbled over his words, and could only cite the Bible and one other title, for which he cited the wrong author. Making matters worse was the setting: Peña Nieto fumbled at the renowned Guadalajara International Book Fair.

“I have read a number of books, starting with novels, that I particularly liked. I’d have a hard time recalling the titles of the books,” Peña Nieto said at a Q & A. He cited “parts of” the Bible, and later a novel, but he incorrectly identified that book’s author.

The crowd laughed. But the gaffe quickly turned into ridicule, and many are wondering if he will suffer politically, as did Governor Rick Perry (R) of Texas in a US presidential debate earlier this year, when he could not name all of the three agencies he said he would eliminate as president.

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Another Mexico

feria-del-libro1The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/15/2009

A Mexican saying holds that Como Mexico no hay dos — There is only one Mexico. American media these days interpret that notion with a vengeance. Story after story depicts a country overrun by out-of-control drug wars and murder, where corrupt police officers trip over beheaded victims more often than they nab perpetrators.

And then, somewhere below the radar, is Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, the foremost book fair in the Spanish-speaking world. It drew an astonishing 600,000 visitors over nine days in late November and early December. Over the years, a fabulous parade of internationally acclaimed writers from inside and outside the Spanish-speaking world — Margaret Atwood, William Golding, Martin Amis, André Brink, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison — have come. FIL’s aim, according to Raúl Padilla López, its chairman, is “to broaden the horizons of the book in Spanish,” to “aid in its continuing to be modern society’s primary cultural and educational vehicle.”

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