Following PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto's win on Sunday July 1st, the internet is buzzing with accusations over possible electoral fraud in Mexico. However, not nearly enough attention has been given by the English-language press to the country’s new First Lady, soap opera actress Angelica Rivera, and the impact she will have on the country in the coming years.
The polar opposite of Mexico’s previous First Lady, Margarita Zavala Gomez del Campo, Angelica Rivera has no history in the political sphere, and has instead dedicated her life to developing her career in the entertainment industry as an actress, dancer and singer. While Mexico’s new president Peña Nieto, has been criticized for being little more than a pretty face, it now appears that not much more can be said for his wife, who will be an important role-model for Mexican women during the remainder of the new president’s term.
The pair seems to be a match made in heaven. Both husband and wife have been blessed with uncommon good looks and a propensity to perform well on television. However, considering the previous First Lady’s track record as a proponent of educational reform, an accomplished lawyer and a local deputy in the legislative assembly of Mexico City, people are left wondering if Angelica Rivera is the type of public figure that should have been thrust into politics in the first place. While Peña Nieto was publicly ridiculed recently for being unable to name three books that had influenced him throughout his life, finally settling for naming the Bible as a book he had “read parts of,” critics have speculated that his wife is an inappropriate match for the role of first lady, having made the choice to never attend college.
In the coming years, Mexico will face many battles that the new power couple will need to confront head on. These include the war on drugs, which has claimed more than 60,000 lives, the fight against corruption, and the struggle to lift more than 50 million Mexicans out of poverty and shrink the enormous gap between the country ’s rich and poor. It will remain to be seen if Rivera, who is best known for her role as "La Gaviota" (the Seagull) in the soap opera Destilando Amor (Distilling Love), and for her friendship with the famous pop-star Ricky Martin, is ready to take up the role that will be needed to effectively address these issues.