Enrique Pena Nieto’s vote into office on June 1st, 2012 will forever leave a mark in Mexico’s path to a desired democracy. To begin with, lets summarize briefly who Enrique Pena Nieto is and what he stands for. Enrique Pena Nieto is a politician with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was elected as President of Mexico, and is currently still in office. He took back control of the government after the opposing party, National Action Party (PAN) had ended the PRI’s uninterrupted rule of Mexico for 71 years. Pena Nieto had the support of the people as he promised he would get rid of drug gangs and violence, but his actions showed otherwise. In less than 4 months, the first of June of this year to be exact, Mexico will have another presidential election that will allow the Mexican people to vote out the highly disliked and corrupt President Enrique Pena Nieto. Although they will have the option to give Pena Nieto and the PRI the boot, they will also be unleashing chaos to the Mexican Economy. Enrique Pena Nieto is praised for his structural reforms of the economy, all due to a historic proposal which allowed private Investment. Now that i have briefly mentioned the short list of what Enrique Pena Nieto has positively contributed to the country, lets get into why this past election has Mexico’s democracy backsliding and how the upcoming election can possibly free the people of Mexico from the rule of an Authoritarian.
Although Mexico has never been an efficient or well recognized democracy, Enrique Pena Nieto’s actions has led the country away from its goals and dreams. Although the change in office promised a safe and secure Mexico, the administration struggled to produce and establish legitimacy in governance. These issues of Legitimacy became prominent in 2014 when a series of corruption scandals surfaced. First Pena Nieto was accused of plagiarizing his thesis in law school, then that led to political accountability and fraud. Pena Nieto had purchased multiple multi-million dollar houses from government contractors using the governments money. Citizens soon began to question his legitimacy and an investigation was launched. Public Function Ministry head Virgillio Andrade was spearheading the investigation and it just happened to be that he was Pena Nieto’s close, personal friend. The press and the Mexican people argued that this investigation was a conflict of interest due to the fact that the same people who were corrupt and comitting the act of fraud in the executive branch where the same ones doing the investigating. The reporting of this housing controversy led to firing of 3 journalists. Pena Nieto and his administration also used financial incentives to keep favorable stories and gave penalties and punishments to the Journalists who opposed and attacked him. According to a report made by The New York Times, the Mexican Government has spent over $2 billion over the past five years to buy off the media and pay for the advertising of favorable coverage.
Enrique Pena Nieto has also been involved in drug and crime related corruption. He believed that the PRI’s job was to enforce political control using the police and the courts, but the police were accused of being corrupt as well. According to the times, since the year 2000, at least 129 journalists have been murdered or have disappeared. Many people could relate those murders and disappearances with drug lords, but according to government data, public workers and politicians such as mayors and police officers have threatened journalists more than drug cartels. This led to Mexico being the second-most dangerous country in the world after Syria and frequently documented crime involved government security forces and agents. The worst part of this case was that instead of investigating and punishing these corrupt politicians and public workers, they were protected. Pena Nieto and his administration silenced the media because they did not want to show the increase in violence that was happening inside the countries borders. Despite all the methods of suppressing these reports, the rest of the world eventually found out. Compared to other countries in the Americas, Mexico has one of the lowest rating of freedom of the press. It is also one of the most dangerous places to work as a journalist, but all of this could change.
A country cannot be democratic if it restricts peoples constitutional rights. Pena Nieto and his administration have oppressed the people of their freedom of speech, press, and representation far too long and it is time for a change if they want to get back on track to a democracy. If Enrique Pena Nieto’s political party PRI gets beat by Ricardo Anaya Cortes and the PAN party this June, there is a huge chance that this democratic backsliding can be reversed, but the people of Mexico can only hope that the next president is not an authoritarian with corrupted and self-interested ideologies. The fate of the democracy is all in the hands of the Mexican citizens and hopefully in the next years, we can see that the economy prevails, crime hits an all time low, happiness rises, and corruption becomes completely dissipated.
- “Reforms and democracy, but no rule of law.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 15 Nov. 2014, www.economist.com/news/leaders/21632477-save-promising-presidency-enrique-pe-nieto-must-tackle-crime-and-corruption-reforms-and.
- Weisbrot, Mark. “The Threats, Real and Imagined, of Mexico’s Election.” The New York Review of Books, www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/03/09/the-threats-real-and-imagined-of-mexicos-election/.