Enrique Peña Nieto

President of Mexico, 2012 to Present

Enrique Peña Nieto

On the first of December 2012 Enrique Peña Nieto became the 57th President of the Republic of Mexíco succeeding Felipe Calderón and returning the presidential power back to the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI. With Peña Nieto came his promise of economic reform including the opening up of Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex, to compete in the private sector; continuing the fight against organized crime and drug trade and that there would be no pacts with criminals; and educational reform.

Early Life

Enrique Peña Nieto was born on 20 July 1966 in Atlacomulco, State of Mexico. His father, Gilberto Enrique Peña del Mazo, was an electrical engineer; his mother, María del Perpetuo Socorro Ofelia Nieto Sánches, a school teacher. As a young man, he was known as "an entrepreneur who would sell popcorn on street corners and shine shoes, an orator so persuasive that some were convinced he would be a priest one day. He was always well-groomed and had impeccable manners. His mother, Socorro, told friends she would squeeze drops of lime juice on his hairline to help form his now-famous pompadour. He grew up listening to ABBA, the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, the singer Emmanuel and the group Menudo." [1]

Peña Nieto earned a BA degree in Law at the Universidad Panamericana; and later a MA in Business Administration in Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM). [2]

Family Life

Enrique and Angélica Peña Nieto

In 1993, Peña Nieto married his first wife, Mónica Pretelini. They had three children. Pretelini died January 2007 as the result of an epileptic episode.

Peña Nieto has fathered two children out of wedlock during his first marriage. One has died. Peña Nieto takes care of the child's (a son) material needs, but has little contact with him. [3]

During a political campaign in the State of Mexico in 2008, Angélica Rivera, a Televisa soap opera actress, was hired to publicize his government work. They soon developed a romantic relationship and married in November 2010.

Public Service

Peña Nieto comes from a family of politicians. He is related to four former governors of the State of Mexico. [4] From 2000 to 2002, he was Secretary of Administration for the State of Mexico. [5] From 2003 to 2004, he served as Representative in the State of Mexico, where he was Coordinator of the Parliamentary Group of the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI. [6] He was elected governor of the State of Mexico from 16 September 2005 to 15 September 2011. [7] At the age of 46, Enrique Peña Nieto became President of Mexico.

Peña Nieto as Governor

Upon assuming the power of being governor, he made 608 promises which he signed in front of a notary. Among his promises were creating highways, building hospitals, and creating adequate water systems to provide fresh water throughout the state. He fulfilled most of his promises.

He restructured the states finances. The state's loans were renegotiated to a rate less than a third of what they had been. Although he did not increase the tax rate, he did increase the tax base increasing revenue from 200,000,000 pesos in 2006 to 500,000,000 pesos in 2010. By the time he left office, he reduced the state's debt from 30,500,000,000 pesos to 28,500,000,000 pesos. [8] [9]

Peña Nieto as President (up to January 2015)

On 1 December 2012 Peña Nieto was sworn in as President of Mexico. December 2 2012, the three main parties of Mexico signed the Pacto Por México (in Spanish) hoping to break the deadlocks of the past. There are 95 initiatives within the pact, which will include energy and educational reform.

Energy Reform. Approximately one-third of federal revenues come from the national petroleum company, Petróleos Mexicanos or PEMEX. Mexico's oil production has fallen from 3.4 million bpd to 2.55 million bpd, and with it decreased royalties and taxes for the Mexican government. With the new reforms, PEMEX will maintain 83 percent of the country’s most productive reserves. The government hopes that over the coming four years the successful bidders of exploration blocks in shallow waters off the Gulf coast will invest about $50 billion in the blocks they win. [10]

Electricity prices in Mexico are around 30 percent higher than in the US, according to the electrical employees' federation COPERMEX. [11] Private companies already generate around one third of Mexico's electricity, but they must sell it to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad or (CFE), the national regulator and distributor of electricity. Under the new laws, private companies will be able to bid for access to the grid and compete for clients. In the long run, that should lead to lower prices. [12]

Educational Reform. Mexico's primary and secondary education system is in shambles. "Mexico spends about 5 percent of gross domestic product on education, a respectable level compared to other major economies, but corruption means the money does not translate into real gains in the quality of education, experts say." [13] "The World Economic Forum business leaders ranked Mexico’s education quality among the lowest in the world: 120th out of 139 countries surveyed." [14] "The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) places Mexico at 51st in math, 48th in reading and 50th in science out of the 65 countries participating in the PISA 2009 scores." [15]

"Teachers in Mexico, particularly those who work within the public school system and are members of the powerful union - the largest labor syndicate in Latin America - have for decades enjoyed almost total autonomy from official authorities, often selling, buying or inheriting their jobs." [16] "Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) released a report this month (May 2014) revealing there are 1,442 teachers on the government payroll between the ages of 100 and 105. Of these, 1,441 are registered in Hidalgo state, in eastern Mexico, and all but one of those were born on December 12, 1912. [17] The average monthly national salary for Mexican teachers is $25,153 pesos (U.S. $2,000, May 2014) [18]; "the teacher with the highest salary lives in Oaxaca state and earns $46,849 a month, and that there is a school in Guerrero state that has a single student enrolled but keeps six employees on its payroll whose salaries add up to $6,644 per month." [19]

Social Security Reform. Proposed changes will include expansion of the social safety nets, universal access to standardized social security services, a pension for adults older than 65, unemployment insurance, and life insurance for heads of households.

And reforms in telecommunications; accountability, transparency, and corruption; and in security.

Let's see what President Enrique Peña Nieto can deliver.

Footnotes and Notes

  1. 1. Corchado, Alfredo. (14 July 2012). Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto Faces Challenge of Bringing Old-style Party Into New Age. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. 2. Profile of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Official Website of President Enrique Peña Nieto, last updated 18 February 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  3. 3. D'Artigues, Katia (22 January 2012). "Arman leyendas sobre mi para descalificarme". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. 4. Ai Camp, Roderic (2010). The Metamorphosis of Leadership in a Democratic Mexico. Oxford University Press. p. 301. ISBN 0199742855.
  5. 5. Profile of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Official Website of President Enrique Peña Nieto, last updated 18 February 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  6. 6. Ibid.
  7. 7. Ibid.
  8. 8. Islas, Laura (5 September 2011). "6to Informe. Peña Nieto, los 10 datos claves de su sexenio". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  9. 9. All these facts and numbers remind me of the saying "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".
  10. 10. Energy in North America: A New Mexican Revolution. The Economist. 15 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  11. 11. Electricity Prices Drop in Mexico. Electric Light and Power. 6 Jan. 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  12. 12. Laursen, Lucas- (14 Aug 2014). Mexico Opens Its Grid to Competition. spectrum.ieee.org. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  13. 13. Rama, Anahi. Edited by Boadle, Anthony. (13 April 2011). Factbox: Facts About Mexico's Education System. Reutors.com. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  14. 14. Villiers Negroponte, Diana. (30 November 2012). Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto Confronts the Challenges of Federalism, Fiscal Reform and Education. Brooking.edu. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  15. 15. Ibid.
  16. 16. Zabludovsky, Karla. 30 May 2014. Data Dive Finds 100-Year-Old Teachers and Phantom Schools in Mexico. Newsweek.com. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  17. 17. Mejora Tu Esculela. (May 2014). Mapa De Magisterio De Educación Básico En México (in Spanish). Mejoratuescuela.org. pp 12-15.
  18. 18. Ibid. p. 20.
  19. 19. Ibid. pp 29-30.