Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has made huge progress in his first two years. Reforms have been passed opening up the sacred cow that is Pemex, taking on the very strong teachers’ union, and reducing the power of some of the big monopolies in Mexico (owned by some of the richest people in the country, and in the case of Carlos Slim, the world).
All of this activity hasn’t increased his popularity much though. The public is rightly skeptical of how much enforcement there will be of the reforms, economic growth is much slower than the government predicted, there is still a good swath of the population that doesn’t want Pemex opened up to foreign investment, and there are still huge problems with the narcos and security in general. EPN’s popularity has fallen from 49% to 43% in recent months.
Yesterday was the Segundo Informe of the EPN Presidency, which is the state of the nation talk the President gives every year. The government also released a slick new video of the president championing his reforms and Mexico in general, along with hugging old ladies and patting kids on the heads. Here is a version dubbed in English. I always find politicians’ campaign videos embarrassingly (and unintentionally) funny, but this one is a doozy in my opinion.
EPN should have paid attention to some other minor matters though, like turning the main public square (the Zócalo) into a parking lot for the 5 hours of his address. Presidential assistants were allowed to park their cars in the Zócalo, using it as free and convenient parking, thus creating huge headaches for traffic and business downtown. How many assistants does the President have? How many are needed for him to give a speech downtown? EPN has been so roundly criticized for this that he has already issued a public apology on his webpage. Here is a picture of how not to win friends and voters in the capital: