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Can Enrique Peña Nieto save Mexico?

July 5th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

I am the president

Mexico’s presidential election has yet to be certified, but despite a recount and allegations of vote buying, Enrique Peña Nieto does not hesitate to claim victory.

“I am the president by a decision of the majority of Mexicans,” he said Thursday on Amanpour. “This is a whole process that is very strictly following the law…In the month of September, the electoral tribunal will legally designate me as president.”

When he is confirmed as president, a top priority will be ending the spiral of violence and drug-related crime that have left over fifty thousand dead since 2006.

With organized crime there is no truce

“We have to seek specialized training of our police forces in order to combat certain types of crimes,” he said. “I’m pointing to three that are the ones which are provoking the greatest violence: murder, extortion and kidnapping.”

Granting special focus to these crimes, he said, “will allow us in the short term to reduce the indexes of criminal activity.”

In particular, he noted that Mexico has seen “a rise of murders which we must put a stop to and gradually begin to reduce these levels of violence, and crime.”

To that end, Mr. Peña Nieto vowed that there would be no deal with drug lords.

“I’ve been very clear and emphatic,” he said. “With organized crime there is no truce, there is no treaty, there is no agreement…We have to face organized crime, which is my commitment, my challenge, to return to Mexico peace and security.”

At the same time, he promised that the pursuit of organized crime would not compromise or come at the expense of human rights in Mexico: “My commitment is very clear in terms of respect for human rights…Police forces must observe all protocols that guarantee respect for human rights.”

The value and contribution of millions of Mexicans

Lastly, he addressed the importance of cooperation with the United States to achieve comprehensive immigration reform: “In the bi-lateral relations that we forge with the United State government (we intend) to emphasize this reform.”

Such reform, he said, “should acknowledge the value and contribution of millions of Mexicans who live in the United States."

CNN’s Claire Calzonetti produced this piece for television.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. viridiana martinez

    he doesnt deser to be named president !!! he is an impostor!!! a fraud!! we dont want him!! he bought votes !! he commit fraud!!! please dont let him to be our president SAY NO TO IMPOSITION BY THE MEXICAN MEDIAN, THE WHOLE THING IS A FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE IS A DANGER!!!

    July 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  2. Ligia

    He´s a liar, he didn't get a majority, he only got a 38% of the 65% of people who voted. And there are a plenty of irregularities in the process, byuing votes with supermarket cards, threatening people with the use of the police.
    This is not a real goverment elected by the people, and will have serious problems if it not fulfills all the promises.

    July 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  3. Z OROPEZA

    I am proud to be a mexican! And l speak for may of them... this "sope opera politician" has not been elected by the majority! We will not let our country go through hell again!! ENOUGH!

    July 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  4. Claudia Vazquez

    Hello the 55,000 person dead was not only civilian a great of them was delinquents, what happen is that the narco people are very sadist and are killing the civilian asking them for large amount of money , the other activities that we are having an is getting very close to the familiies, In my familie have been three cases close to us and we are living in fear because no body can secure us that we dont go next. I like your show

    July 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  5. Claudia Vazquez

    And the majority vote for other parties the 59% and only 18 million of people vote for him the more poor and ignorant and woman because of his pretty face can you belive it, this people is sadomasochist they sell them selfs for to bags of beans

    July 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  6. Christian

    I think the comments here up to this point reflect the view that Pena Nieto does not deserve to be President. I am Mexican and I do not agree with them. Pena Nieto deserves to be president for the simple fact he got most votes than any other candidate last Sunday. Agree, there were some issues in the election which are now been reviewed, however, if they were not enough to change the course 6 years ago much less now. I feel sorry for the people who insult our new elected president, I think you can disagre but never insult. For my part I would prefer Josefina as President, but I accept there were many people who went with Pena Nieto. AMLO followers should stop behaving so poorly, the only thing you are achieving is making moderate people like me, thinking on never voting for the left...........

    July 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  7. Pilar B

    Even if there had been no fraud, which is still being reviewed by the authority, most of the people of Mexico did not vote for Mr. Nieto. The electoral laws of our country are deficient, so it can be declared President someone who most of the people don´t want. Finally, I can only remember that one of the most recent and inefficient presidents of Mexico, Mr. Vicente Fox, has declared that Peña Nieto was the best choice and the best president we could have, if he says it, is clear that our country is not in good hands; the level of ignorance of both is irrefutable.

    July 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  8. Christian

    Well Pilar B, the laws are the laws and as citizens of Mexico we all must follow them. To be president in here you do not need the vote of most of the people but only more votes than the other candidates. That's what Pena Nieto achieved last Sunday. If you think Vicente Fox was inefficient, that's your point of view and many of us do not think so. We must start by following the laws and respecting the fact we are diverse and the PAN, PRI and PRD all have followers. I repeat what I wrote before, AMLO followers should stop behaving so poorly, you are only hurting your own cause.....

    July 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • Pilar B

      Sorry to disappoint you. I never said we did not respect the law, only point that are flawed, as any product made by humans. Secondly, I do not vote for AMLO and in any case, branding his behavior as "poor" does not seem right, everyone should be respected. Finally, that the Fox administration was ineffective is not something that can be true or false, it is a fact shown with numbers and data that we can all review.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  9. Pilar B

    Dear Christian. Sorry to disappoint you. I never said we did not respect the law, only point that are flawed, as any product made by humans. Secondly, I do not vote for AMLO and in any case, branding his behavior as "poor" does not seem right, everyone should be respected. Finally, that the Fox administration was ineffective is not something that can be true or false, it is a fact shown with numbers and data that we can all review.

    July 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  10. Fabiola Hernandez

    I know you are an expert on middle east, your introduction is incorrect Mexican economy is better than in has in many years. Latin America is not your strongest point.

    July 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  11. Ana Martinez

    There are millions of Mexicans ashamed, upset and very disappointed at the way that this man and the big Mexican corporations are trying to give him the country's presidency (Televisa – TV Azteca – CFE, etc.). Enrique Pena Nieto did not get more votes than the other candidates because more people voted for him, but because he exceeded the spending limit for his candidacy in buying votes and buying out the electoral authorities IFE. Everybody in Mexico knows that.

    July 6, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
  12. Fran

    We Mexican people should know better. There is no excuse this time. Millions voted for Pena Nieto, why? how come? it does not matter anymore, because we knew that the PRI wasn't going to be fair and we did nothing about it.
    Other parties knew how the PRI gets people's votes illegally and did nothing, now they scream "fraud"; instead, they should have shield the election by defining sanctions for those whom violated the election rules including the annulment of the whole procedure, not just a slap of the wrist.

    July 6, 2012 at 4:13 am | Reply
  13. Francisco

    Middle East nations have starved for democracy for decades and with their citizen’s determination they all have succeeded except for Bahrain (not for long) , Mexico has been "one" for a long time and we still get laugh at by these pirates...enough is enough!!!

    July 6, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
  14. Ale Delgado

    no, he can not.

    July 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  15. doabitofhomework

    As a Mexican resident, a foreign guest in this country, I cannot morally (and probably legally) participate in its politics.

    But after 18 years here, I can say this much. Once Fox came in, the country began to grow hugely. Many more schools were established, and it wasn't long before Mexico had acquired an astonishingly large and vibrant middle class. The old Zedillo regime (PRI) had held everything down, following the party mandates which require keeping the people ignorant and genuinely poor, favoring instead the mega-rich. It was a scenario to which America is likely to descend if we don't deal with our OWN mega-rich. That's what the OWS movement is all about; the 99% of our population whose prosperity is strictly limited by the wealthy 1%. With a Republican win this year, we will be headed for the same thing Mexico rose above 12 years ago. I have great fears for the people of both countries.

    As for the election, I think the worst mistake was letting Obrador be the PAN's candidate. His behaviors in the past have shown him to be a megalomaniac with Messianic notions, and he has often behaved most irrationally. He has the potential of becoming another Chavez. They should have nominated someone more stable and mature.

    I arrived in Mexico in 1994, and distinctly remember how horrible things were under Zedillo. So should most Mexicans.

    Pena Nieto is PRI. While there is a chance that he – and therefore PRI itself – has learned some hard lessons from its 70+ years of brutal hegemony, such things are usually most unlikely to happen. It is the mental/philosophical inertia that makes politicians unable to "change their spots." Since he was elected, all we can do now is hope that he won't follow the old party platforms of the past. If he breaks with those things well enough, he might be a decent president, but nobody can be sure what changes he will decide to make in the "party line" and what their effects might be. The odds don't bode well for Mexico's middle class nor its poor.

    Corruption? Find a country that isn't riddled with it.

    Frankly, I don't think that any of the candidates would prove to be better than the last two, and that makes me sad. The Mexican people will not get a president who focuses on the needs of the people.

    I can only hope that the burgeoning middle class and economy of Mexico will be able to withstand the destructiveness which they WILL be subjected to, since there wasn't a single candidate in this election who would work to keep all this wonderful progress going.

    For 70 years, Mexico was deprived of even a tiny middle class. It is the middle class, in ANY democracy, that is its best hedge against tyranny. Middle classes are more knowledgeable, more politically savvy, but most important, what they will ALWAYS do is demand responsibility, maturity and STABILITY for the country, favoring neither mega-rich or mega-poor. They are what keeps a democracy viable and strong. Which is why nefarious politicians in many democracies (including our own) do all they can to destroy the middle class. And they start by attacking education, because it is important to them that the public be ignorant, and therefore, suggestible and malleable.

    Look at any politician, in any democracy, who attacks education, and what you are looking at is a would-be tyrant. The same thing applies to those who attack any kind of legislation that helps the public, rather than the rich. Those programs are always the first things cut down by the would-be tyrants, and they're the prime focus for making improvements by those who are NOT. The government programs which serve the public's needs, when candidates endorse them, are the "yardsticks" that separate the responsible men from the tyrannical boys. We can only hold our breath, cross our fingers, and hope this new president won't be just another "boy."

    The Mexican people have suffered long enough. They have deserved these last 12 years of growth, better education and prosperity. I don't envision that any of the candidates will wish to keep that going. I can't even LIST all the improvements I've watched, as Mexico grew past its own "past" with such vigor. I'm proud to know they are neighbors of my own homeland. Their potential is only beginning to be demonstrated, and I don't want to see it stop.

    Even though all that progress has meant that my dollars don't go as far and inflation has made me tighten my belt, those are normal consequences of economic growth and prosperity for the middle class, and I don't begrudge these people for it at all. I've enjoyed watching the changes, as Mexico pulled itself out of Third World status. Despite many who are still impoverished, the level has dropped dramatically. Mexicans are now smarter, more savvy, better educated, more prosperous, and it's good to see that.

    So just cross your fingers for the Mexican people, that this new president chooses to live up to the best, rather than the traditional worst of his own party. Or, if he doesn't, that the people can withstand the harm of the next 6 years until they can name a better candidate for PAN next time.

    The Mexican people deserve our good-will, even if their leadership chooses not to deserve any. They are our NEIGHBORS. They love their country, and with good reason. The stereotypes of Mexicans in the hateful minds of so many Americans shames my country.

    WE, in the Western hemisphere that encompasses the two American continents, are the luckiest people on the planet. In our northern American sector, we have three nations, Mexico, U.S. and Canada – ALL solid democracies! Yet so many of us have been so comfortable, for SO long, that few of us realize what a great gift chance has given to us all.

    I think it's time we DID.

    July 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • Abril

      @doabitofhomework–You need to do a bit of homework yourself there, buddy. Lopez Obrador wasn't the PAN candidate–Josefina Vazquez was. Astounding, that you were in Mexico during the entire presidential campaign and missed that fact. I too am an expat living in MX, and I agree with you that PAN has been good for the country, but for some reason they put up a poorly qualified and not very viable candidate, then former president Fox broke ranks with his party and publicly supported the scoundrel who'll take office on Saturday. Disappointing, to say the least. The primary reason that Pena Nieto is starting now with the "it's about more than drugs" rhetoric is that during his administration we'll likely see a return to the PRI status quo, politicians in bed with narcos. And I completely disagree with your assessment of Mexico's "solid democracy." A nation in which an election can be bought the way this one was–and a nation in which the rich don't pay their share, the infrastructure is abyssmal, the schools are among the worst in the world, etc.–that's not a solid democracy in my book. That's an oligarchy.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  16. david

    I think writers should be writing about the truth of Mexico! You guys know there was fraud and your job should be to inform the people from the US what is happening across the border.

    July 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  17. Micheal

    CNN i love this station

    July 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  18. Mathew Colbourn

    So how about equal air time for Lopez Obredor ?

    July 11, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  19. gabriela baeza

    I just to say that I feel ashamed about the elected President. I can not believe that in a nation with thousand of educated, talented and hardworking people, we couldn't find a better president. Peña Nieto and her wife? president and first lady! Gosh! He has not even read a book in his entire life!!! She is an actress!! What are we mexicans? Stupid people watching only soap operas? I can not believe this is happening.

    The election was not clean, and the world must know it. At least, millions of people would not recognize Peña Nieto. Because Mexico deserves better.

    September 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  20. Freddikins Jauregui

    How can one save a victim when it is in the hands of the predators that rape it. Pena Nieto is a continuation of the PRI that ruled Mexico for 70 years and used it as its ATM card. Its not up to a single man to save Mexico. Mexico can only be saved by its citizenry.

    " War , war without truce against who would attempt to blemsih the honor of the fatherland!"

    Hopefully, one day the Mexican people actually live up to the creed of their national anthem.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
  21. Ann

    Unless Mexican's can do more for their people instead of being greedy (I am referring to the very filthy rich) Rich Mexican's do for your country it is a very rich country so do for your country and your people help them. Then I will say that Mexico will become a force to be reckoned with. Until then the rich will continue to get richer and the poor more poor (if that is even possible). Do for your country all you rich Mexican's. That is what you need to do. Make jobs for your people. Do Do Do for your people. Nuff said.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  22. Farrok

    It won't matter who was elected President of Mexico, too much bad money and corruption. The Drug War will go on and on for centeries till Mexico and America collapse or both.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply

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