Dec 2, 2012

What the International Press Said about Mexico's Inauguration

The international press had different takes on the inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico. Most remarked on the "ambitious" agenda of the new president, with most leading with his many "promises" and "vows". The protests were widely mentioned, without much explanation. Here's a run-down of what they had to say:

New York Times:  The New York Times somewhat mystifyingly titled its article "New President of Mexico Vows to Focus on Economy". Mystifying since there was no particular focus on the economy by Peña Nieto but rather a very broad set of actions that crossed evenly over security, economy, education, communications and transportation areas. The article begins:
With protests and little pomp, Enrique Peña Nieto on Saturday began his six-year term as president of Mexico, promising big spending and sweeping changes to bring peace and prosperity to a country troubled by drug violence and uneven economic growth. 
It mentions Peña Nieto's weak mandate, the protests and the make-up of the new cabinet, calling them "mostly PRI stalwarts".

Washington Post: Titled "Peña Nieto Sworn in ams Mexico's President, Vows Big Change", the Washington Post opens with Peña Nieto's vision for Mexico, which has to sound tongue-in-cheek for many of us who live in Mexico, but which is taken directly from the new president's speech:
He envisioned the day when a more prosperous, peaceful Mexico would end hunger and business monopolies, and an expanding middle class would board high-speed trains that his government would build to take them to a better future.

A future with more broadband, he said. And two more TV channels. And pensions. And a competitive booming economy that would make the country “the magnificent place it deserves to be.”
It follows with a description of the day, including clashes, and highlights from Peña's speech.

ABC News: "Peña Nieto Makes Big Promises to Mexico" This article has a more detailed list of some of the 13 decisions announced by Peña Nieto (there is an error in the pension coverage, which existed before and was simply reduced from 70 to 65). The article makes the interesting point that:
Strangely, Peña Nieto did not mention the issues of tax reform, or what he will do with Mexico's oil sector, two areas that economic experts have said are crucial if the country is going to move ahead.
These are two of the most controversial and thorny proposals of the new president and it seems that he has decided to take them on over a longer time frame, after testing the political waters.

Los Angeles Times: In its article ¨Mexico´s Enrique Peña Nieto assumes presidency amid protests" the LATimes focuses on the contrast between the officially choreographed events and the violent street protests.
Enrique Peña Nieto, a 46-year-old career politician and member of Mexico's old-guard political party, Saturday assumed the presidency of a nation reeling from drug-related violence, promising his fellow citizens that "the primary focus of my government is to achieve a Mexico at peace."
By that measure, his term did not start well. Outside the lower house of Congress, where Peña Nieto was given the presidential sash by his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, protesters clashed with police, lobbing Molotov cocktails and rocks. Authorities responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. A number of police officers and protesters were injured, some of them seriously, officials said.
As most heralded the changes announced in the speech, the LA Times piece makes the observation that on the subject of security Peña Nieto has committed to "maintain two key components of Calderon's security strategy: using the military to keep the peace and continuing the intimate partnership with the United States, which took on an unprecedented role in Mexican internal affairs during the Calderon era."

CNN Wire: CNN emphasis on Peña's promises to address inequality in its article titled "Sworn-In President cites two Mexicos". This refers to the Peña Nieto's speech where he says:
We are a nation that is growing at two speeds. There's a Mexico of progress and development. But there's another one that lives in backwardness and poverty.
 The brief article mentions Peña Nieto's promise to seek peace and economic opportunities.

In other parts of the world, El País in Spain has an editorial today that excoriatesthe PAN and welcomes the return of the PRI after "the past twelve years of insufficient rule of the Natonal Action Party (PAN) that have excessively turned the country inward, without achieving the needed and now urgent reforms, losing ground as other economies, especially Brazil, emerge with force." 

Peña Nieto, who clearly won the elections last July 1, has to show that it's not the old PRI coming back, that governed Mexico dictatorially for 70 years with its traditional clientele politics, although in the end it opened up, but a party willing to change, even if that means affecting interests, including within its own party." (Americas MexicoBlog translation).

The UK Guardian: noted the violent protests, and actually interviewed several of the protestors. It cited a list of specific measures from Peña and his "practical"rather than ideological approach and referred to a program of populist hand-outs and reforms.

Fox News on the inauguration, on the protests

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