By Eric Farnsworth, Council of the Americas
July was bad for Mexico, the month ending with news of a gangland-style murder of journalist Ruben Espinosa and four others in Mexico City. It was the latest in a lengthening line of journalists targeted and killed for their profession — 370 over the past 10 years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Coupled with the spectacularly embarrassing escape of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán from his maximum security prison cell, as well as perceptions of corruption and self-absorption that continue to swirl around the ruling class, the political mood has turned sour. Headlines proclaiming that the 2012 election of President Enrique Peña Nieto would usher in “Mexico’s moment” seem long ago and far away. Read more
By Grace Fan, Trusted Sources
One-third of the way through his six-year term, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has dazzled investors with his ambitious reform record, the cornerstone of his administration’s broader development programme to revitalize the sluggish Mexican economy. But the telegenic 48-year-old leader with a reputation for results-oriented governing has failed to convince his increasingly sceptical domestic constituency that he can deliver the goods.
Tepid GDP growth, devastating security problems, political mis-steps and escalating corruption allegations at the end of the year have embroiled him in the worst political crisis in the two-year history of his administration. Read more
Brazil and Mexico, Latin America’s two biggest economies, are engulfed in high-profile scandals that have involved their presidents and also touched on investor interests. So far, Dilma Rousseff has made a better fist of handling the fallout in Brazil than Enrique Peña Nieto has in Mexico – although that could easily change. Read more
Full marks for Enrique Peña Nieto: the Mexican president’s energy reform is in the bag, so it’s full speed ahead now to cheaper energy, faster growth, higher investment and more jobs, right?
That’s the plan, and Mexico certainly looks to be on track – indeed, the government is so aware that it has not a moment to lose that with the ink barely dry on the legislation, it was already announcing what private investors could look forward to bidding for as the sector is opened up for the first time since 1938. Read more
By Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas
In office barely a year, Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto is pursuing aggressive reforms for breakout growth through greater competitiveness. Washington should do all it can to help him succeed, because Mexico’s expansion is good for the US.
Already our second largest export market after Canada, US imports from Mexico contain some 40 per cent of US content (from China it’s 4 per cent). In many industries, joint production and supply chains have developed to such an extent that we don’t just trade things together, now we design and make things together, in high value-added products like aerospace, automobiles, and sophisticated medical equipment. Production in Mexico and a growing middle class creates good jobs in the US and vice versa, increasing economies of scale and building North American competitiveness in the face of continued competition from China and elsewhere. Read more
Education was one of the reforms pushed through by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s president, this year. Good job too, if the latest OECD statistics are anything to go by.
The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, scores – which measure performance in literacy, maths and science every three years – make for depressing reading. Particularly if you compare performance with China – Mexico’s great manufacturing competitor. Read more
Take two of Latin America’s most reform-minded governments, throw in a fractured political system, and what do you get? The answer is Mexico – where thousands of protesting teachers fanned out across the capital on Sunday – and Colombia, where 50,000 troops had to be shipped in over the weekend to calm down Bogotá after a rally in support of striking farmers got out of control. Read more
Mexico’s reformist administration suffered its first significant setback on Tuesday as political infighting forced it to back-peddle on plans to unveil a banking-reform bill. But how serious is the scrap? And how will it impact the rest of the government’s reform programme?
Investors need to have a sense of both answers because they have been pouring billions of dollars into the country in the hope that centrist President Enrique Peña Nieto can transform Mexico into one of the world’s most successful emerging markets. Read more
Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s reformist leader, had an important phone call this week: it was with Barack Obama, and the conversation was to confirm that the US president would visit his southern neighbour during the first week of May.
The forthcoming trip, which Mexico’s foreign ministry has described as a working visit to cover everything from trade and competitiveness to security and education, is a big deal for both presidents, but in particular for Peña Nieto.
Not only will it add to political momentum at home, but the visit is also a chance for Peña Nieto to shift the discourse on the relationship between the two countries away from drug violence – and towards trade. Read more
Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s new president, is promising structural reforms and generating great excitement about his economic model. Mexico’s markets are rallying, but can the reforms stimulate real wages, which have stagnated for more than a decade? John Paul Rathbone, Latin America editor, and Long View columnist John Authers discuss.
Exciting times in Mexico. Enrique Peña Nieto is the first Mexican president since Carlos Salinas de Gortari, a quarter of a century ago, to seize the reins of power with both hands. And on Monday he announced his most recent assault on the often shadowy special interests that are seen as resistant to any attempts to overturn decades of misfiring in the Mexican economy.
Having celebrated at the weekend his first 100 days in power with a claim that “I’m here to transform the country, not simply run it”, on Monday Peña Nieto unveiled a plan to reform telecommunications, a sector long criticized as being dominated by the three “titans” of the industry. Read more
There’s a joke about Pemex, Mexico’s gargantuan state-oil monopoly. The new chief executive officer walks in on his first day, summons his top people and gives them the simple task of bringing him a grey pinstripe suit.
So the next day, when he receives a three-piece multi-coloured monstrosity, he asks them what happened that they should have twisted his instructions out of all recognition. “Well, sir,” they say, “we interpreted what you said, and felt that this suit was what you really meant to ask for.” Read more
Enrique Peña Nieto’s clean-cut image is matched by his enthusiasm for transparency, a theme that ran through his election campaign and he has followed through while in power. The Mexican president and his Cabinet recently published audited statements of their personal income, properties and other assets. Read more
How long should you wait before judging a president? One hundred days? A year? Perhaps more than that. What is certain is that in Mexico, where Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured) was sworn in as head of state on Saturday, people are already starting to talk.
The reason is that the 46-year-old former state governor provided the nation with a surprisingly pointed speech as he donned the presidential sash. Much more specific on policy than previous inaugural speeches, Peña Nieto hit two themes that have plagued Mexico and its development: education and competition policy. Read more
The incoming Mexican administration of Enrique Peña Nieto has been providing more details of its plans for reform, both before and after it takes office on December 1.
The labour reform is already winding a slightly laggardly way through the Senate having passed through the Lower House a few days ago. It was initiated by the outgoing president, Felipe Calderón, but with what appears to have been a generous nod and a wink from Peña Nieto. Read more
Such good chums! Felipe Calderón, the Mexican president, and his successor come December, Ernesto Peña Nieto, liberally scratched each other’s back on Monday when Calderón presented his last State of the Nation address.
Peña Nieto tweeted congratulations to Calderón on the achievements of his administration, while Calderon called on “Mexicans, despite their differences, to support the president-elect.” Read more
Who are Mexico’s real dinosaurs? The term usually applies to certain old-school fat cats in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose Enrique Peña Nieto won last Sunday’s election. A common fear is that these dinosaurs will get their claws into the 45-year old Pena Nieto when he assumes the presidency in December.
But the dinosaur label fits Mexican leaders of other political stripes too – notably Andrés Manuel López Obrador (pictured) of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Read more
It’s still a bit early to discern the aftermath of Mexico’s elections. But what is clear from the results, so far, is that Enrique Peña Nieto of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) may not be able to count on the easy glide path for his reform program that markets had priced in. (The Mexican peso is one of the world’s best-performing currencies this year; some of the country’s banking stocks, such as Banorte, are at or near all time highs.)
There are two obstacles that could give markets fright over the coming weeks and months. Read more
As the echoes of the mariachi music from his rapturous election victory celebration the previous night still reverbrated around Mexico City on Monday, Enrique Peña Nieto, got straight down to business.
Mexico has a particularly long transition between presidencies – Peña Nieto is not due to be inaugurated until December – and they have frequently been fraught with severe economic and political tensions. Read more