Enrique Peña Nieto

"Enrique Peña" redirects here. For the Cuban musician, see Enrique Peña Sánchez. For the Catalan architect, see Enrique Nieto (architect).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Peña and the second or maternal family name is Nieto.
Enrique Peña Nieto

Official portrait of President Peña Nieto
57th President of Mexico
Assumed office
1 December 2012
Preceded by Felipe Calderón
Governor of the State of Mexico
In office
16 September 2005  16 September 2011
Preceded by Arturo Montiel Rojas
Succeeded by Eruviel Ávila Villegas
Personal details
Born (1966-07-20) 20 July 1966
Atlacomulco, Mexico
Political party Institutional Revolutionary
Children 4
Residence Los Pinos
Alma mater Panamerican University

Enrique Peña Nieto, (Spanish pronunciation: [enˈrike ˈpeɲa ˈnjeto]; born 20 July 1966)[1] is a Mexican politician who serves as the 57th and current President of Mexico. Educated as a lawyer, Peña Nieto had served as Secretary of Administration for the State of Mexico from 2000-2002, as Representative of the 13th District of the State of Mexico from 2003-2004, and as Governor of the state from 2005-2011 prior to becoming President.[1][2]

He was elected President on July 1, 2012, winning 39% of the vote and returning the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to power after a twelve-year hiatus.[3] The PRI had governed Mexico uninterrupted for 71 years until it was defeated by the National Action Party (PAN) in 2000.[4][5] Peña Nieto took office on December 1, 2012, succeeding Felipe Calderón.[6][7] Protests against the election of Peña Nieto drew tens of thousands of people across Mexico, particularly from the #YoSoy132 student movement, who protested alleged voting irregularities and media bias.[8][9]

Peña Nieto began his term as President with an approval rating of approximately 50%, but the falling value of the Mexican Peso and sluggish economic growth had caused this figure to drop to 35% by 2015. Prone to gaffes, Nieto has also faced several major controversies as President, including the escape of famed drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman from Altiplano prison in 2015, and accusations that he had plagiarized his law school thesis. He has also faced criticism for his handling of the abduction and murder of 43 teachers' college students in the State of Guerrero in 2014. According to the Newspaper Reforma, Peña Nieto's approval ratings had dropped to 23% by August 2016 - the lowest for any president since Ernesto Zedillo in 1995 (who was also from the PRI).[10]

Education and family life

Peña Nieto was born on 20 July 1966 in Atracomulco, State of Mexico, a city 55 miles northwest of Mexico City.[11] He is the eldest of four siblings in an upper middle-class family; his father, Gilberto Enrique Peña del Mazo, was an electrical engineer; his mother, María del Perpetuo Socorro Ofelia Nieto Sánchez, a schoolteacher.[11] He is the nephew of two former governors of the State of México: on his mother's side, Arturo Montiel; on his father's, Alfredo del Mazo González.[12][13][14] He attended Denis Hall School in Alfred, Maine, during one year of junior high school in 1979 to learn English.[11] After living in Atlacomulco for the first 11 years of his life, Peña Nieto's family moved to the city of Toluca.[15]

In 1975, his father would often take him to the campaign rallies of the State of Mexico's governor, Jorge Jiménez Cantú, a close friend of Peña del Mazo.[16] The successor of the governor was Alfredo del Mazo González, a cousin of Peña Nieto's father. During Del Mazo González's campaign in 1981, the fifteen-year-old Peña Nieto had his first direct contact with Mexican politics: he began delivering campaign literature in favor of his relative, a memory Peña Nieto still recalls as the turning point and start of his deep interest in politics.[16]

In 1984 at the age of 18, Peña Nieto traveled to Mexico City and enrolled in the Panamerican University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Law;[16] he later went on to obtain a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).[17][18]

Family life

The Peña Nieto–Rivera family in Atlacomulco during the 2012 election day.

In 1993, Peña married his first wife, Mónica Pretelini (b. 1963) and the couple had three children: Paulina, Alejandro and Nicole.[19][20] Peña Nieto had two illegitimate children during his first marriage; a son with Maritza Díaz Hernández, and another child - with an undisclosed partner - who died as an infant.[21] Pretelini died on 11 January 2007 as the result of an epileptic episode.[19][22] Pretelini had a vital role during the campaign of Peña Nieto's governorship.[19] Her last public appearance was during the wedding of the municipal president of Ixtapan de la Sal on 6 January 2007.[19]

In 2008, Peña Nieto began a relationship with Televisa soap opera actress Angélica Rivera - whom he had hired to help publicize his political campaign for the State of Mexico. The couple married in November 2011,[23][24] although media outlets have questioned the validity of the marriage as of 2015, saying Mexico's Catholic Church bent rules.[25] Peña Nieto has said that he provides for the son he fathered with Hernández, but has little contact with him. His support for the child became a political issue during the 2012 Presidential election, when both Hernández and rival candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota accused him of not supporting the child.[26]

In July 2013, a nodule was discovered on Peña Nieto's thyroid gland, but was deemed to be benign and removed.[27]

Political beginnings

Peña Nieto joined the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1984, and with a law degree nearly completed, he began earning his own money.[28] During his final years in college, Peña Nieto worked for a public notary in Mexico City, around the same time when his relative, Alfredo del Mazo González, was mentioned as a firm candidate for the 1988 presidential elections.[28] In his twenties, he worked at the San Luis Industrial Corporation, an auto parts manufacturing industry, and at a law firm named Laffan, Muse and Kaye. While still a student at the Universidad Panamericana, he roomed with Eustaquio de Nicolás, the current president of Homex, a leading Mexican construction and real estate company. He also befriended and roomed with Luis Miranda, who occupied several offices during the 1999–2000 administration in the State of Mexico.[28]

University and confirmed plagiarism

Peña Nieto's academic thesis entitled El presidencialismo mexicano y Álvaro Obregón (translated in English as "Mexican Presidentialism and Álvaro Obregón") expounds upon the comparison between the Mexican presidential system to that of parliamentarism.[29] A news report by Carmen Aristegui of Aristegui Noticias (Aristegui News), which was broadcast on August 21, 2016, revealed that Enrique plagiarized 197 of the 682 paragraphs within his University Thesis, which translates to at least 28.8% of the content, from 10 different authors.[30][31] The 202-page document argued that the administration of Benito Juárez was a "presidential dictatorship", since he had a powerful executive force during the Reform War, which allowed him to have absolute political power.[29] Peña Nieto interviewed several authors, including Jorge Carpizo, Héctor Fix-Zamudio, Enrique Krauze and Justo Sierra. Peña Nieto listed at least forty books in his bibliography.[29] His work was dedicated to Arturo Montiel Rojas, the former governor of the State of Mexico and relative of Peña Nieto.[29] The Mexican citizens posted an online petition on Change.org asking for Enrique Peña Nieto's law degree to be nullified by the Universidad Panamericana, the petition achieved 137'000 signatures, while the University, confirmed the act of plagiarism, it also decided not to remove the law degree, a movement which has been heavily criticized among Mexican citizens, and the university alumni.[32][33]

Upon his now controversial graduation as a lawyer from the Universidad Panamericana, Peña Nieto sought a master's degree in the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, based in the State of Mexico. Another online petition made by another student seeks for the Tecnologico de Monterrey to nullify Enrique's master's degree due to his act of plagiarism, has achieved almost 112,000 supporters, including the rector of the University whom already accepted a formal meeting to collect the signatures, and to contemplate how to proceed.[34]

Formal start of political career

By the side of Montiel Rojas, he formally started his political career and became the Secretary of the Citizen Movement of Zone I of the State Directive Committee of the National Confederation of Popular Organizations (CNOP), one of the three sectors of the PRI.[28] For three consecutive years until 1993, Peña Nieto participated as a delegate to the Organization and Citizen Front in different municipalities of the State of Mexico.[28] Between 1993 and 1998, during Emilio Chuayfett's term as governor, Peña Nieto was chief of staff for the Secretary of economic development of the State of Mexico and the personal secretary of Montiel Rojas, who was the Secretary of Economic Development in the state.[28]

Peña Nieto served during the years 1999 to 2000 as the Sub-secretary of government,[35] and as financial sub-coordinator of the political campaign of Montiel Rojas.[28] In 2003, he was elected as deputy of the XIII Local District with a seat in Atlacomulco, State of Mexico.[36]

Legislative career

State deputy, 2003–05

After 1999, Peña Nieto went from having low-level secretary positions to higher and more qualified offices.[37] In 2001, Montiel Rojas named Peña Nieto Sub-secretary of Interior in the State of Mexico, a position that granted him the opportunity to meet and forge relationships with top politicians in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and wealthy businessmen from the State of Mexico.[37] After his term concluded, he served as the administrative secretary, as president of the Directive Council of Social Security, as president of the Internal Council of Health, and as vice president of the National System for Integral Family Development – all in the State of Mexico.[37] Under the wing of Arturo Montiel Rojas, Peña Nieto formed a group known as the "Golden Boys of Atlacomulco" with other members of the PRI.[38] He later ran for a local deputy position in his hometown of Atlacomulco in 2003 and won.[39] Two years later, the Atlacomulco-natives: Carlos Hank Rhon, Isidro Pastor, Héctor Luna de la Vega, Guillermo González Martínez, Óscar Gustavo Cárdenas Monroy, Eduardo Bernal Martínez, Cuauhtémoc García Ortega and Fernando Alberto García Cuevas wanted the governorship of the State of Mexico.[39] Peña Nieto was among the crowd, but was not poised as one of the favorites.[39]

Nonetheless, in 2005, Peña Nieto was the last man standing, succeeding Montiel Rojas as governor of the State of Mexico.[40] On 12 February 2005, with 15,000 sympathizers in attendance, he was sworn in as candidate for the PRI.[41]

Governor of the State of Mexico (2005–11)

Peña Nieto as Governor of the State of Mexico in 2006.

608 commitments

On 15 September 2005, Peña Nieto was sworn as governor of the State of Mexico at the Morelos theater in Toluca.[42] Among the hundreds of attendes sat Arturo Montiel, the predecessor; the president of the Superior Court of Justice, José Castillo Ambriz; along with former governors, members of Peña Nieto's cabinet and party, mayors, businessmen, and church figures.[42] The centerpiece of Peña Nieto's governorship was his claim that he was to deliver his compromisos – 608 promises he signed in front of a notary to convince voters that he would deliver results and be an effective leader.[43] According to El Universal, during Peña Nieto's first year as governor, his administration only delivered 10 of the structural promises he had advocated in his campaign – marking the lowest figure in his six-year term.[44]

By 2006, his administration carried out 141 of projects, making that year the most active in the governor's term.[44] The 608 projects Peña Nieto proposed consisted of creating highways, building hospitals, and creating adequate water systems to provide fresh water throughout the state.[44] The most important of these regarded highway infrastructure, which tripled under Peña's government.[44] By mid-2011, the official page of the State of Mexico noted that only two projects were left.[44] The major projects in public transportation were the Suburban Train and the "Mexibús", both of which served commuters between Mexico City and the State of Mexico, providing service to more than 300,000 people every day and 100 million a year.[45] Regarding public health services, 196 hospitals and medical centers were built throughout the state and the number of mobile units to attend remote and vulnerable areas doubled.[45] Deaths caused by respiratory diseases were reduced by 55%, while deaths caused by dysentery and cervical cancer were reduced by 68% and 25% respectively.[45] In addition, between 2005 and 2011, the State of Mexico was able to fulfill the requirement of the World Health Organization of having one doctor for every 1,000 inhabitants.[45] The funds for these and all the other commitments were obtained through restructuring the state's public debt, a strategy designed by his first Secretary of Finance, Luis Videgaray Caso.[45] The restructuring also managed to keep the debt from increasing during Peña Nieto's term because the tax base was broadened to the point that it doubled in six years.[45]

During the course of the 2012 presidential campaign, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) questioned the completion of at least 100 of the commitments of Peña Nieto.[46] The PAN also warned the PRI that they were going to examine each of the 608 commitments and release the information to the public.[46] The conservative party also stated that they had plans to publicize the cost of the projects and make a detailed trajectory of the supposed locations where the projects took place.[46] The PRI responded to the accusations by stating that the PAN politicians "were the liars."[46] The PRI presented a web page with the description of each commitment and when and where it was achieved; the webpage included pictures, a detailed description, a notary certification, and the number of people benefited from the project.[47] The party then claimed that Peña Nieto's adversaries, but particularly the PAN's candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, were carrying out a "dirty war" against him.[47] The PAN concluded by claiming that the current administration was allegedly "repairing" the unfinished projects of Peña Nieto's past administration,[48] while the PRI insisted that its opposition was pointing out to unfinished projects that were not in the 608 commitments and under Peña Nieto's agenda.[49]

Peña Nieto also claimed that he halved the murder rate in the State of Mexico during his time as governor,[50] but retracted this claim after The Economist showed that the murder rate did not diminish and was being measured in a different way.[51]

2006 San Salvador Atenco unrest

During the administration of Vicente Fox in 2002, several peasants in San Salvador Atenco, State of Mexico, resisted the government's plan to expropriate their lands to build a new international airport near the country's capital, Mexico City.[52] Consequently, on 3 May 2006, state and federal police forces raided San Salvador Atenco and violently took many of its dwellers into custody, unleashing a civil unrest in the area between 300 unarmed civilians and 3,000 police officers.[52][53] Some law enforcement officials retaliated for the confrontations of the previous days and tried to break up a blockade of a federal highway stopping a group of flower vendors protesting against the government.[52] The leader of the movement was sentenced to 150 years in prison, and the rest of the members were accused of alleged "organized kidnapping" of police officers and sent to supermax prisons.[52] National and international human rights organizations demanded the release of the activists, whose sentences were turned down until August 2010.[52] According to a report issued by Amnesty International in February 2009, the civil unrest resulted in the detention of 200 people and hundreds of allegations of abuses, including sexual violence against 26 women who were arrested; others, in addition, were allegedly tortured.[54] In the operations, the police used firearms, tear gas and electric batons.[53] Two young men were murdered by the Mexican Federal Police, while hundreds were arrested without warrants and beaten.[53] A 14-year-old boy was killed too.[55] In response to the abuse allegations, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation agreed to investigate the incident to establish whether the unrest was an isolated event or if it was part of a larger plot formed by politicians in the municipal and state levels.[53]

"Yo Soy 132" protest

The Yo Soy 132 student movement criticized Peña Nieto for his stance on the San Salvador Atenco unrest, which occurred in the State of Mexico during his time as governor.[56] Peña Nieto stated in an interview that he does not justify the actions of the state and municipal forces, but also mentioned that they were not gladly received by the citizens of San Salvador Atenco upon their arrival.[55] He condemned the abuses and promised to fully execute the law and bring transparency to the investigations. He lamented the deaths caused by the unrest, but emphasized that risks often occur in security operatives.[55] Peña Nieto concluded by assuming responsibility of the event and insisted that "yellow journalism" has also obscured what actually happened.[55] Infuriated by the response, students of the Yo Soy 132 booed the politician and protested against him, calling him a "murderer".[56][57] The Yo Soy 132 student movement shook up the campaign, but it did not have a major impact on the opinion polls in favor of Peña Nieto.[58]

The Women of Atenco

In 2016, the New York times published the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights decided to stand up for several women who confessed being raped by soldiers during the Atenco incident, then were for a decade silenced, some spend about a year jail time, others receiving death threats, 11 women have shown their face, while several others have given their testimony but decided their identity to remain anonymous.[59] The case investigates Enrique Peña Nieto (Governor at the time) for hiding the incident from the public, and for pardoning the soldiers involved.[60]

2011–12 presidential campaign

While at a book fair on 23 November 2011, Peña Nieto presented his book México, la gran esperanza (Mexico, the great hope) in Casa del Lago, Mexico City, accompanied by the writer Héctor Aguilar Camín; former governor of Mexico's Central Bank, Guillermo Ortiz Martínez; and journalist Jaime Sánchez Susarrey.[61] In his book, the politician argues that Mexico needs to expand its economy to create more jobs, insisting that in the past the country has only created them in the informal sector.[61] He also urged promoting Pemex to compete in the private sector to create more jobs, elevate productivity, and balance wealth distribution across Mexico.[61] Aguilar Camín, however, questioned Peña Nieto's ideals, and asked him how it was possible for him to speak of transparency when the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was allegedly entangled in economic debts and controversial money transactions.[61] Nonetheless, Peña Nieto then thanked the governor Eruviel Ávila Villegas for being present, and told him that his book was dedicated to the governor's family and to his wife, Angélica Rivera.[61] Peña Nieto responded by saying that the return of the PRI marks a new era in Mexico, and that the book he wrote serves as a starting point to take Mexico "to better horizons."[62]

Peña Nieto at the World Economic Forum (2010)

On 27 November 2011, Peña Nieto was the last standing nominee for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the 2012 Mexican presidential elections. The former State of Mexico governor completed his nomination at an event that gathered sympathizers and politicians.[63] Six days earlier, the senator and preliminary candidate of the PRI, Manlio Fabio Beltrones, withdrew from the race and gave Peña Nieto a clear path towards the presidency.[64] During a book fair a month later, Peña Nieto's public image "took a lot of hits" after he struggled to answer a question that asked which three books had marked his life.[65] When he was criticized by Mexico's intellectuals, his daughter worsened the situation by posting a defamatory message on Twitter, stating that the criticisms were driven by class envy.[65] Later, Peña Nieto was interviewed by El País and admitted that he did not know the price of tortillas. When he was criticized as being out of touch, Peña Nieto insisted that he was not "the woman of the household" and thus would not know the price. In another interview, he admitted to have cheated on his past wife with another woman and fathered two children out of wedlock.[65]

Televisa biased media coverage in favor of the PRI and against other political parties controversy

The Televisa controversy refers to a series of allegations published by the British newspaper The Guardian in June 2012 that claims Mexico's largest television network, Televisa, sold favorable coverage to top politicians in its news and entertainment shows.[66] The documents presented by the newspaper allege that a secretive circle within Televisa manipulated its coverage to favor the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, the candidate who was poised as favorite to win the 2012 Mexican presidential elections.[67][68] The unit supposedly commissioned videos promoting Peña Nieto and lashing out his political rivals in 2009.[68] The documents suggest that the team distributed such videos through e-mail, and then posted them on Facebook and YouTube, where some of them can still be seen.[68] One of the documents is a PowerPoint presentation, and a slide explicitly takes an aim on Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leftist candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).[66]

While it has not been possible to confirm the authenticity of documents – which were given to the newspaper by a supposed employee of Televisa – dates, names, and events largely coincide.[66][69] Televisa refused to talk about the documents, but denied that they had any relationship with the PRI and with its presidential candidate, saying that they had done an equal media coverage for all parties.[68] Televisa also responded to The Guardian and published an article denying the accusations and showing the supposed discrepancies in the documents.[70] And as the protest took pace, Televisa has covered the protests of Yo Soy 132 in detail.[66] Televisa, the largest media network in the Spanish-speaking world, owns around two-thirds of the programmings in Mexico's TV channels.[66] In Mexico, newspaper readership is low and research on the Internet and cable TV is largely limited to the middle classes; consequently, the country's two major television networks – Televisa and TV Azteca – exert a significant influence in national politics.[66]

In an article written by Los Angeles Times on 9 July 2012, Peña Nieto is described as a "man of mystery" whose real convictions – as perceived in the eyes of many Mexicans – remain in doubt.[38] To some, the PRI politician is simply a creation of the party's cabal and of Mexico's omnipresent and key television network, Televisa. His cipher-like aspect, along with his steady rise to the presidency, reinforced that opinion.[38] Yet, other observers note that Peña Nieto was smart enough "to know what he doesn't know" and surround himself with sharp politicians educated at places like Harvard University and MIT.[38]

A perceived tactic of this perceived biased media coverage is what Mexican citizens call "cortinas de humo" (smoke screens)[71] which consists in to introducing a news scandal giving extensive amounts of coverage to distract citizens from a potential conflict of interest or controversy, that could damage the image of the politician favored by the news media network, an example of a perceived smoke screen would be the news media coverage of "Caso Michoacan"[72] happening at the same time and distracting all the attention from another case.[73]

Televisa unfair defamation against Jaime Rodríguez "El Bronco" Calderón

Factual evidence of this on-going media manipulation emerged on September 11, 2016 during a live-television during a broadcast of News Program "Monterrey al Dia" when the Televisa news reporter Karla Minaya, misakenly thinking she wasn't on air said: "hay que tratar de que el gobernador (Jaime Rodríguez Calderón (El Bronco)), por cierto, entre lo menos posible" ("we have to try the governor, for sure, is mentioned the least possible"). The Mexican newspaper El Universal published on social media a video of the event, which was covered by national news media, although Televisa, didn't mentioned the story, and declined to comment. Televisa reduces news covarage concerning Nuevo León's Governor Jaime Rodriguez, due to him being the first independent (without a political party) elected governor,[74] and because he is perceived as a contender for the 2018 presidential election

Film depiction

"The Perfect Dictatorship" directed and written by Luis Estrada is Mexican black comedy film released in 2014, whose plot directly criticizes both the PRI and Televisa, and explores the concept of the "cortinas de humo",[75] taking place within a Mexico with thighly controlled media landscape the plot centers on a corrupt politician (a fictional stand-in for the PRI) getting help from the TV MX (which serves as a stand-in to Televisa) to manipulate the diffusion of news, in order to help his political career, and save his political career.[76] The director made it based on the perceived media manipulation in Mexico[77]


On 1 July 2012, Mexico's presidential election took place. In an initial, partial count issued that night, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) announced that based on a fast vote counting, Peña Nieto was leading the election with 38% of the votes.[78] His nearest competitor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was just 6 points behind him.[78] The figures were meant to be a representative sample of the votes nationwide; but shortly after this announcement, Peña Nieto appeared on national television claiming victory.[78] "This Sunday, Mexico won," he said. He then thanked his voters and promised to run government "responsible and open to criticism."[78] At the PRI headquarters in Mexico City, the victory party began.[78] With more than 97% of the votes counted on election day, the PRI had won with about 38% of the votes, just 6.4 points above the leftist candidate López Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who refused to concede to the results and had threatened to challenge the outcome.[79][80]

Soriana pre-paid gift cards vote buyout controversy

At a news conference, the leftist candidate claimed that the election was "plagued with irregularities" and accused the PRI of allegedly buying votes.[79] He also claims that the PRI handed out gifts to lure voters to cast their vote in favor of them.[81] Soriana is a Wal-Mart-style chain of megastores, operating 500 grocery stores around Mexico. During the day of the 2012 presidential elections, people who voted for el PRI would receive pre-paid gift cards. Nonetheless, the PRI and the store denied such accusation [82] and threatened to sue López Obrador.[81] Peña Nieto vowed to imprison anyone – including members of the PRI – if they are found guilty of electoral fraud.[83] Despite Enrique's statement many videos by citizens about the Soriana cards surfaced on YouTube.[84][85]

Presidential election
Candidate Party Votes %
Enrique Peña NietoInstitutional Revolutionary Party18,727,39838.15[86]
Andrés Manuel López ObradorParty of the Democratic Revolution15,535,11731.64
Josefina Vázquez MotaNational Action Party12,473,10625.40
Gabriel Quadri de la TorreNew Alliance Party1,129,1082.36
Non-registered candidates31,6600.07
Invalid/blank votes1,191,057
Registered voters/turnout77,738,49463.1
Source: PREP (98.95% of polling stations reporting)

After ruling Mexico for most of the past century in, the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) brought hope to the supporters and fear to those who worry about the old PRI tactics of making deals with the cartels in exchange for relative peace.[87] According to an article published by The Economist on 23 June 2012, part of the reason why Peña Nieto and the PRI were voted back to the presidency after a 12-year struggle lies in the disappointment of the rule of the National Action Party (PAN) .[88] Buffeted by China's economic growth and the economic recession in the United States, the annual growth of Mexico's economy between 2000 and 2012 was of 1.8%. Poverty exacerbated, and without a ruling majority in Congress, the PAN presidents were unable to pass structural reforms, leaving monopolies and Mexico's educational system unchanged.[88] In 2006, Felipe Calderón chose to make the battle against organized crime the centerpiece of his presidency. Nonetheless, with over 60,000 dead, many Mexican citizens are tired of a fight they had first supported.[88]

According to The Guardian, Peña Nieto's "young, telegenic and impeccably smooth" image has helped gloss over the PRI's reputation of corruption and authoritarianism.[58] Such views are rare in Mexico City, where the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) holds strong support.[58] Throughout the political campaigns, Peña Nieto poised to steer his party back into power and was, according to the polls, the favorite to win the elections. Some of his adversaries, however, said that the "polls were manipulated" and that the PRI was taking advantage of the poor to gain votes, instead of relying on informed vote.[58] Allegations of vote-buying for Peña Nieto were widespread, but the PRI responded by claiming that its rivals were merely questioning the legitimacy of their victory.[58]

Other media outlets like CBS News stated at the time, that Peña Nieto is the "new face of the old guard,"[89] while several American officials fear that his security strategy may mean returning to the old PRI tactics of "corruption [and] backroom deals" with the cartels to bring peace to the country.[90]

The Economist at the time alleged that these signs were "not as bad as they look," since Mexico is more democratic, it enjoys a competitive export market, has a well-run economy despite the crisis, and there are tentative signs that the violence in the country may be plummeting. But if voters want the PRI back, it is because "the alternatives [were] weak."[88] The newspaper also alleges that Mexico's preferences should have gone left-wing, but the candidate that represented that movement – Andrés Manuel López Obrador – was seen with "disgraceful behavior." The conservative candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, was deemed worthy, but was considered by The Economist to have carried out a "shambolic campaign." Thus, Peña Nieto wins by default and was considered by the newspaper as the "least bad choice" for reform in Mexico.[88]

Security policy

The security policy of Peña Nieto prioritizes the reduction of violence rather than attacking Mexico's drug trafficking organizations head-on, marking a departure from the strategy of the past six years during Felipe Calderón's administration.[91] Peña Nieto has set up a number of conceptual and organizational changes from the past regime policy, and one of the biggest contrasts is the focus on lowering murder rates, kidnappings, and extortions, as opposed to arresting or killing the country's most-wanted drug lords and intercepting their drug shipments.[91] The government of Calderón, however, has justified its position by stating that the current violence in the country is a necessary stage in Mexico's drug war, as weakening criminal groups fight for territorial control against one another and the government. Moreover, part of Peña Nieto's strategy also consists on the creation of a national police made up of 40,000 members, known as a "gendarmerie", though in November 2013, it was announced that this force would be reduced to 5,000 members and would not be operational until July 2014.[92] He also proposed on centralizing the sub-federal police forces under one command.[91] The president-elect emphasized that he does not support the involvement or presence of armed United States agents in Mexico, but considers allowing the United States to instruct Mexico's military training in counterinsurgency tactics.[93] Beyond that, Peña Nieto promised that no other measures will be taken by the United States in Mexico.[93] While campaigning, Peña Nieto appointed a former general of the National Police of Colombia as his external advisor for public security, and boldly promised to reduce 50% of the murder rates in Mexico by the end of his six-year term.[94][95]

Critics of Peña Nieto's security strategy, however, say that he has offered "little sense" in exactly how he will reduce the violence.[91][94] During the three-month campaign, Peña Nieto was not explicit on his anti-crime strategy, and many analysts wonder whether Peña Nieto is holding back politically sensitive details in his security strategy or simply does not know yet how he will squelch the violence and carry out the next stage in Mexico's drug war.[94] Moreover, United States officials are worried that the return of Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after ruling Mexico for 71 years may mean returning to the old PRI tactics of "corruption [and] backroom deals" with the cartels in exchange for bribes and relative peace.[90][96][97]

Energy policy

During the presidential campaign, Peña Nieto promised to open Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, to the private sector.[98] He also indicated interest in an economic agreement with Petrobras, Brazil's oil company.[98] By giving more economic freedom to Pemex, investors say Peña Nieto's proposal could allow joint ventures and private investment in the oil company.[99] Such reforms require congressional support, and Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) gained only a plurality in Congress (more seats than any other party). With just over 38% of the votes, Peña Nieto may have difficulty gaining an absolute majority (over 50% of the seats) in Congress to pass such reforms, much less than the two-thirds majority needed to change the Mexican constitution.[99] This leaves a lot of uncertainty for investors. Pemex was founded through the nationalization of foreign oil interests, and the Mexican constitution bans major outside investments.[100] Changing Pemex can also transform the psychology of Mexico's business sector and involve cultural and political changes that cannot be rushed.[99][100] President Lázaro Cárdenas seized foreign oil company assets in 1938 to form Pemex, and it has served as a symbol of national identity.[101]

Mexican state social investment depends to a great extent on the profits from the oil exports controlled by Pemex as a state monopoly. The leftist political movement Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional has expressed concern that Pemex will be systematically excluded as a commercial competitor by the government. They believe that Pemex's infrastructural decline was due to a deliberate strategy of self-sabotage by the government through lack of reinvestment, and fear that the Mexican oil rent may be taken over by private corporations. The leftist opposition is concerned that energy reform may be a concealed maneuver for privatization. They also worry that laws derived from the constitutional reforms are not explicit in demonstrating that energy reform will avoid having the oil rent be controlled by the private sector. There are questions as to how the Mexican system of public health, education and subsidized transportation (not to mention the newly created presidential fund for retirement and umemployment) would be funded if there is privatization of the oil rent.[102]

NAFTA leaders U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, 2014

Also, if Peña Nieto wants to invite investment, he will have to face the challenges of union leaders and local officials who have largely benefited from the oil company's bonanza.[100] Productivity in Pemex has been declining since 2004.[101] Mexico has the 12th-largest oil reserves in the world, the 4th-largest shale gas deposits in the world (after Argentina, China, and the United States), and is the third-biggest United States supplier of oil, just behind Canada and Saudi Arabia respectively.[103] Brazil's 21st-century oil success has shifted popular opinion to support of structural changes in Pemex.[100] Peña Nieto declared while campaigning that overhauling Pemex will be the PRI's and his "signature issue", and that he will encourage private companies to invest in exploration and development activities.[100]

In 2014, Peña Nieto announced an end to Pemex's monopoly, and inviting in both large and small private companies to the oil and gas industry. He said that in early 2015, more than 100 blocks would be auctioned for development. The government believes that changing technology will allow additional drilling in mature fields, such as those near Tampico, as well as larger fields likely offshore. This decision has received international coverage.

Presidency (2012–present)

Presidential styles of
Enrique Peña Nieto
Reference style Señor Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
"Mr. President of the United Mexican States"
Spoken style
  • Presidente de la República
    "President of the Republic"
  • Presidente de Mexico
    "President of Mexico"
Alternative style Señor Presidente
"Mr. President"

Peña Nieto was sworn in as president of Mexico on 1 December 2012 at Mexico's federal congress and later flew to a military parade to formally take control of the Mexican Armed Forces. During his inauguration speech at the National Palace, Peña Nieto proposed his agendas and reforms for the new administration. Before and after Peña Nieto's inauguration, protesters rioted outside of the national palace and clashed with Federal Police forces, vandalizing hotel structures and setting fires in the downtown area of Mexico City. More than 90 protesters were arrested and several were injured. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard blamed anarchist groups for causing the violent outcomes.[104][105] During these protests, however, there is evidence that agents of provocation worked with the police. Such individuals were paid 300 Mexican pesos (about 20USD) for their acts of vandalism, according to media reports.[106] Photos show the vandals waiting in groups behind police lines prior to the violence.[107] Previous protests have been entirely peaceful, but on this occasion, in apparent response to violence, the police fired rubber bullets.[108] In contrast to the protests, there were no public celebrations of the new presidency.[109][110] The day after his inauguration, he announced the Pact for Mexico, an agreement that he had struck with the leaders of two other major parties about the government's goals for the next few years.[111]

On 13 December 2012, a law was approved that included far-reaching security reforms. Mexico's Interior Ministry, greatly strengthened by the bill, has been made solely responsible for public security. A new gendarmerie, with an initial strength of 10,000, is being deployed to Mexico's most dangerous areas, while the Federal Police will be focusing on investigating crime. The Interior Ministry announced that 15 specialized police units were being formed to exclusively focus on major crimes that include kidnapping and extortion, along with a new task force dedicated to tracking down missing persons.[112]


Peña Nieto cabinet
Portfolio Minister Took
PresidentEnrique Peña Nieto2012Incumbent
Secretary of InteriorMiguel Ángel Osorio Chong2012Incumbent
ChancellorJosé Antonio Meade Kuribreña2012Incumbent
Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas2015Incumbent
Secretary of FinanceLuis Videgaray Caso***2012Incumbent
José Antonio Meade Kuribreña2016Incumbent
Secretary of DefenseSalvador Cienfuegos Zepeda2012Incumbent
Secretary of the NavyVidal Francisco Soberón Sanz2012Incumbent
Secretary of EconomyIldefonso Guajardo Villarreal2012Incumbent
of Social Development
Rosario Robles2012Incumbent
José Antonio Meade Kuribreña2015Incumbent
Attorney GeneralJesús Murillo Karam2012Incumbent
Arely Gómez González2015Incumbent
Secretary of Public SecurityManuel Mondragón y Kalb2012Incumbent
Secretary of Civil ServiceJulián Alfonso Olivas Ugalde2012Incumbent
of Communications
and Transportation
Gerardo Ruiz Esparza2012Incumbent
Secretary of LaborAlfonso Navarrete Prida2012Incumbent
Secretary of EnvironmentJuan José Guerra Abud2012Incumbent
Secretary of EnergyPedro Joaquín Coldwell2012Incumbent
Secretary of AgricultureEnrique Martínez y Martínez2012Incumbent
Secretary of EducationEmilio Chuayffet Chemor2012Incumbent
Aurelio Nuño2015Incumbent
Secretary of HealthMercedes Juan López2012Incumbent
Secretary of TourismClaudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas2012Incumbent
Secretary of Agrarian ReformJorge Carlos Ramírez Marín2012Incumbent
Jesús Murillo Karam2015Incumbent
Legal CounsellorHumberto Castillejos Cervantes2012Incumbent
*Died in office
**Retained from previous administration
***Renounced due to Donald Trump's visit to Mexico.
Peña Nieto and Takanobu Ito at the inauguration of the Honda plant in Celaya, Guanajuato on 21 February 2014.

The auto manufacturing industry expanded rapidly under Nieto's presidency. In 2014 alone, more than US$10 billion in investment in the sector was committed. The president in conjunction with Kia Motors in August 2014 announced plans for Kia to build a US$1 billion factory in Nuevo León. At the time, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan were already building a US$1.4 billion plant near Puebla, while BMW was planning a US$1-billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosí. Additionally, Audi began building a US$1.3 billion factory near Puebla in 2013.[113] As of December 2014, two years into Peña Nieto's term, total investment in the auto sector in Mexico had reached US$19 billion.[114] The majority of this investment has been in the Bajío Region – the increasing auto production along with the rapidly expanding aerospace industry, have made the Bajío the fastest growing region in the country.[115]

According to the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), between December 2012 and June 2016, more than two million jobs were created in Mexico.[116] Of those jobs, 41% were taken by women and 36% were taken by individuals between 20 and 34 years of age.[116] IMSS also revealed that 86% were long-term jobs and 14% were temporary.[116] These jobs have led to a 26% increase in revenue accumulation for IMSS, an additional MXN$50 billion.[116] More than half a million jobs had salaries worth five minimum wages (about MXN$10,000 per month) and there was a 22% increase in jobs with salaries greater than 20 minimum wages.[116]

Special economic zones

At the end of May 2016, Peña Nieto signed a law that will create special economic zones in economically underdeveloped southern states.[117] The first three are Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, Port Chiapas, Chiapas and in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to better join the ports of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz and Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.[117] Another zone in the petroleum region of Tabasco and Campeche, hit by the downturn in the oil industry, is planned for 2017.[117]

The special economic zones are meant to alleviate the lack of industry in the South. During the signing, Peña Nieto highlighted the difference between the South and the industrial North and Center of Mexico: two of every three people in extreme poverty in Mexico live in the southern states.[117] While the three poorest states (Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero) have about 10% of the population, they only receive $1 of every $36 in foreign direct investment in the country.[117] He went on to say that there are two Mexicos; one "that competes and wins in the global economy, with growing levels of income, development and well-being", while the other Mexico "has been left behind [and] hasn’t been able to take advantage of its potential."[117]

The special economic zones will offer tax incentives (exempetion from the 16% VAT),[118] trade and customs benefits and the streamlining of regulatory processes.[117] There will also be an increase in infrastructure spending in these regions. Private administrators will run the zones on 40 year contracts (managing infrastructure and attracting tenants).[118] According to Peña Nieto, at the latest, each of these zones will have an anchor tenant that will attract suppliers and other industries in the supply chain by 2018.[117] The World Bank advised Mexico during the formulation of the special economic zones plan.[117]

Pact for Mexico

The Pact for Mexico was a cross-party alliance that called for the accomplishment of 95 goals. It was signed on 2 December 2012 by the leaders of the three main political parties in Chapultepec Castle. It has been lauded by international pundits as an example for solving political gridlock and for effectively passing institutional reforms.[119][120][121] Among other legislation, it called for education reform, banking reform, fiscal reform and telecommunications reform, all of which were eventually passed.[122]

Most importantly, the Pact wanted a revaluation of PEMEX, which ultimately resulted in the dissolution of the agreement when in December 2013, the leftist PRD refused to collaborate with the legislation penned by the rightist PAN and PRI that ended PEMEX's monopoly and allowed for foreign investment in Mexico's oil industry.

TIME Magazine Cover controversy

In February 2014, the TIME was met with controversy, for the release of a cover featuring Enrique Peña Nieto and the legend Saving Mexico (written by Michael Crowley),[123] as the cover article's title inside the magazine.[124] The controversial article, praised the president and his cabinet for reforms like opening oil fields for foreign investment for the first time in 75 years (a reform for which mexican citizens have shown mixed feelings towards), ending the Mexican drug wars (which wasn't completely accurate), and even going as far as saying "the opposition party blocked major reforms that were necessary", that "American leaders could learn a thing or two from their resurgent southern neighbor" and saying Mexicans citizens "alarms where replaced with applause".[125] The last part proved not true, when the cover immediately spawned heavy amounts of backlash on social media, becoming a meme[126] spawning multiple parody covers ranging from changing the legend to mock words like Selling Mexico, Slaving Mexico, Starving Mexico, Who is saving Mexico from this ass-hole? to editing Peña Nieto into clown make-up, dressed as the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Pope, to one featuring an old lady holding a gun with the legend Saving Mexico... pero de Peña Nieto (but from Peña Nieto). Multiple articles criticizing the article, some websites even asked the Time magazine, if Peña Nieto paid for the cover story.[127][128][129][130][131][132][133] Even leading Michael Crowley, the writer of the article to write on twitter "Remarkable how many critics of Mexico's president seem to believe I must have literally taken a bribe to write a positive story about him"[134]

Peña Nieto with former Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, January 2014

2014 Iguala mass kidnapping

Enrique Peña Nieto's presidential management of the Ayotzinapa crisis has been criticized.[135]

Peñabots controversy

Peñabots is the name given to what analysts believe to be a network of automated accounts on social media used by Mexican government to spread pro-government propaganda and to marginalize dissenting opinions in social media, the bots were first noticed in the 2012 elections when they were used to disseminate opinions in support of Enrique Peña Nieto in social networks.[136] According to Aristegui Noticias, their usage goes against the articles 6th and 134 of the Mexican Constitution, the ones used by the current government cost an estimated 80 million pesos monthly fee, which is paid with money extracted form the citizens taxes. Facebook currently holds approximately 640'321 Peñabots, while Twitter requires less.[137]

In March 31, 2016 in an article published by magazine Bloomberg Business Week a Colombian, a hacker named Andrés Sepúlveda claimed to have haven paid $600'000 pesos, by the "Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)" for hacking files (including phone calls, e-mails and strategies) pertaining Peña Nieto's rivals respective political campaigns, and also manipulate social media to create fake news against his opponents with 30'000 fakes twitter accounts whom helped him create fake trending topics, and the perception of public enthusiasm towards Peña Nieto's 2012 presidential campaign. The election day he claims to have been watching a Live feed on Bogota, Colombia and to start destroying evidence (USBs, cellphones, computers) right after Peña Nieto was declared winner. He said he was helped by a team of 6 hackers, which he leaded.[138][139] He also claims to have helped hack elections from other Latin American countries including Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Venezuela, but said his Mexican operation was "the most complex by far".[140] The hacker is on a 10 year prison sentence for confessing and proving crimes on helping the campaign of Ivan Zuloagawithin his native Colombia. While Juan José Rendón whom Sepúlveda describes as his accomplice hasn't been proved guilty and still remains free.[141][142][143][144] The National Action Party (PAN) requested an investigation,[145] but on May 4, 2016 the Consejo General del Instituto Nacional Electoral (General Council of the National Electoral Institute) discarded the investigation describing it as "frivolous" and that it was based on a single journalistic note. Presidential counselor Ciro Murayama said there wasn't enough evidence to lead an investigation, and that they would sue PAN for promoting unjustified investigations, leading to sourness between both political parties.[146]

House scandal

The white house scandal refers to a journalistic report that revealed that first lady Angélica Rivera's $7 million house in Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City was registered under the name of a construction company property of Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú that received contracts in the state of Mexico when Enrique Peña Nieto was governor. With Peña Nieto as president, a subsidiary of the same company was also awarded part of a huge contract to build a high-speed train from Mexico City to Querétaro. The contract was later cancelled amid protests regarding the bidding process.[147] The revelation about the potential conflict of interest in the acquisition of the house aggravated discontent about the government's handling of the disappearance and apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers by a drug gang working with corrupt police and government officers in Guerrero. Rivera released a video in which she detailed her income as a former soap opera actress, stating that she was selling the house and that the property was not under her name because she had not made the full payment yet.[148] However, Enrique Peña Nieto has failed to address the potential conflict of interest in spite of constant demands by the Mexican citizens, media and senators from the opposition.[149][150]

Second House scandal

The white house scandal triggered yet another scandal as Peña Nieto has been linked to another house owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú, owner of Grupo Higa. The house was used during the Presidential campaign in 2012 and a few times once he was already elected President. The official statement from the President's office, however, claims that the house was used only a few times for meetings and not when he was already President. An article published on Aristegui Noticias provided evidence that the house was indeed used by Peña Nieto after the election.[151]

Peña Nieto meeting Pope Francis at the papal inauguration

Panama Papers revelations

Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú, a close friend of Peña Nieto, enlisted Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to create trusts for accounts worth US$100 million[152] after he was investigated for allegedly giving special favours to the Mexican president Peña Nieto and his wife, according to an analysis by ICIJ, who said that the documents showed "a complex offshore network" of nine companies in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.[153] Described as Peña Nieto's "favorite contractor", Hinojosa's companies have won more than eighty government contracts and received at least US$2.8 billion in state money.[154]

The Guardian apartment report

In August 2016 The Guardian reported on a supposed conflict of interest – a $2.05m apartment in Florida bought by Grupo Pierdant (reported to have tendered to run ports in Mexico) – which was said to be owned by Angelica Rivera.[155] The Guardian later removed the article from their site.[156]

In The Guardian's corrections and clarifications section, the publication admits to wrongly publishing stories that alleged Ricardo Pierdant had a potential conflict of interest in regards to the Florida home.[156] Neither a 2013 tax paid for the apartment on behalf of Rivera nor the close relationship between Peña Nieto and Pierdant are disputed. However, none of Pierdant’s companies obtained any contracts with the Mexican government nor participated in the contracting process, contrary to what was originally reported.[156] The publication also apologized to lawyer Aurora Pierdant for reporting an incomplete history of her firing from PEMEX, which The Guardian accepts "seriously misrepresented her professional status".[156]

President Enrique Peña Nieto accompanied by the Secretary of National Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, and the Secretary of the Navy, Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, during a military parade.

Plagiarism of University Thesis

In 2016, a group of academics accused Nieto of having palgiarized a portion of the thesis which he wrote for his law degree.[157]

Donald Trump visit criticism

After inviting presidential candidate Donald Trump on August 31, 2016, the president was heavily criticized by the citizens of Mexico, news journalists[158] including Jorge Ramos , due to the fact that Trump took control of the one-hour press conference, upstaged Peña Nieto making him look weak in comparison according to citizens, and left Mexico without offering any apologies for his anti-Mexico, anti-immigrant rhetoric or changing his proposals, among them a would be Mexico–United States border wall that Trump suggest Mexico would pay for, yet wasn't addressed in the conference.[159] Despite this president Enrique claimed on his Twitter, to have left clear to Trump that Mexico, would not pay for the wall,[160] only to shortly after get a reply from Donald Trump saying: "Mexico will pay for the wall!".[161][162] According to Business Insider, Donald Trump's Mexican visit helped him surge in the polls against Hillary Clinton.[163] Mexico's Secretary of Finance Luis Videgaray Caso resigned shortly after supposedly suggesting the visit, but Mexican medias still blame Peña Nieto for authorizing the event.[164]

Peña Nieto with President of China Xi Jinping

Lowest presidential approval in modern history

In August 2016 approval ratings dropped for Peña Nieto to 23 percent (74 percent said they disapproved of his performance), which newspaper Reforma — revealed to be the lowest approval rating for a president since they began polling in 1995.[10]

4th year of government speech conference and missuses of the presidential plane controversies

The day after Trump visited Mexico. Peña Nieto gave the annual speech about his 4th year of government, which happened was surrounded by controversy after denying plagiarism of his thesis despite evidence, and poorly Trumps visit.[165] Many media outlets, and figures including Partido Accion Nacional (PAN)'s president Ricardo Anaya [166][167] claimed the people on the conference were active members of the PRI, this proven by signaling links to photos posted by many of the conference attendants respective Twitters and Facebook accounts.[168] During the conference he also said he would go on an international trip the next day, claiming to only travel with people who were pivotal to such trips. On October 2, 2016; Aristegui revealed evidence of at least 12 friends and family members, traveling on the presidential plane, including his brother, his sons (9 times) Grupo Higa's president Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu (whose company was part of the house scandal), first lady Angelica Rivera (17 times), her sisters (7 times and including an unnecessary stop in Istanbul) and even a friend of Peña Nieto's daughter Paulina Peña.[169]

Peña Nieto, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and U.S. President Barack Obama at the North American Leaders' Summit in Ottawa, Canada, on June 29, 2016

"Renuncia ya! (Resign now!)" Mexico's Independence Day protest march against Peña Nieto

During Independence day celebration on September 15, 2016, thousands of citizens marched yelling and holding papers with the mottos such as "Renuncia ya!" (Resign now!) and "Fuera Peña" (Get out Peña), their hope was to convince Peña Nieto to renounce to the Presidency of Mexico. The protesters attempted to enter the Zocalo and protest peacefully while the president gave the traditional "Grito de Indepencia" (Independence Scream), but the protesters couldn't reach Zocalo due to a human wall of soldiers. The president gave the "Grito", and the Mexican news media failed to acknowledged the protest.[170]

Peña Nieto's defense of Enrique Ocho Mansera (PRI President) and Comisión Federal de Electricidad violation of article 127 of the Mexican Constitution

In September 2016, as reported by Pablo Gomez from Aristegui Noticias, Enrique Ochoa Mansera the President of the PRI, after working at the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) (Federal Commission of Electricity) for 2 years an 155 days, received $1'206'000 pesos of liquidation for voluntary retirement the CFE, despite the fact that as stipulated in the article 33 of the "Manual de Trabajo de Servidores Publicos de Mando la CFE" (Rules for Work for Public Servers in Charge of the CFE) those liquidations only apply after 3 years of service, and can not be paid to individuals who choose voluntary retirement. Such payment also goes against the Article 127 of the Mexican Constitution.[171] Enrique Peña Nieto gave his opinion on the matter by saying:"En este tema que tanto lacera, el tema de la corrupcion, esta en todos los ordenes de la sociedad y en todos los ambitos, no hay alguien que pueda a atraverse a arrojar la primera piedra" ("This topic that is so much talked, topic of the corruption, is in every order of the society and in every ambit, there is no one capable of throwing the first stone.") This was seen as a biblical reference to the story where Jesus defends an infidel woman by saying "He who is free of sin throw the first stone". The response was poorly received.[172][173]

"Operadora Barrier Systems de Mexico SA de CV" Elevated viaduct scandal

Lawyer Paulo Diez, revealed that in 2007 Ricardo Arturo San Roman Dunne (whom is a personal friend of Peña Nieto) created a company called "Operadora Barrier Systems de Mexico SA de CV" (named similarly to an American company Barrier Systems) could have been used to deviate public money. The case will investigate the imported purchase of unnecessary mobile barrier equipment for an elevated viaduct, which was immediately sold to more than twice the acquisition price ($250'000 sold to $485'400). Paulo sent a letter asking United States authorities to investigate OHL México's involvement in the authorizathion of such purchase during Peña Nieto's time as governor of Mexico. [174]

External debt doubles

In October 2016, it was reported he doubled the external debt in only 4 years of government, more than any of his previous 3 predecessors. This is one of the reasons that caused the Peso to decrease in value to $20 pesos against the Dollar.[175][176][177]

Media gaffes

Enrique Peña Nieto has been known for his occasional lapses in memory or gaffes during public events or interviews.[178] The most noted incident occurred during the International Book Fair of Guadalajara on 3 December 2011.[179] On that day, during a question and answer session, he was asked by an audience member to name three books that had influenced him, being only able to correctly reference the Bible.[180][181] He then "rambled, tossing out confused title names, asking for help in recalling authors and sometimes mismatching" the two others.[182] Other incidents have involved him not being able to recall Benito Juárez's year of birth,[183] being unable to remember the acronym of the Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI),[184][185] changing the date of foundation of the state of Hidalgo,[186][187] mistaking the capital of the State of Veracruz,[188] mentioning the U.S. presidential candidate "La señora Hillary Trump" (Miss Hillary Trump),[189] among others,[190] of varying degree of substantiation or credibility. However, they have become viral on social media (especially on Twitter),[191][192] and even a website that counts the number of days between his last gaffe, and his (presumed) next one.[193]


S.S. Papa Francisco- Ceremonia de Bienvenida en Palacio Nacional - 24913867991.jpg
Pope Francis in the Mexican Palacio Nacional


See also


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Political offices
Preceded by
Arturo Montiel
Governor of the State of Mexico
Succeeded by
Eruviel Ávila
Preceded by
Felipe Calderón
President of Mexico
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roberto Madrazo
Institutional Revolutionary Party nominee for President of Mexico
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