On Saturday Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will retake the governmental reins via the dapper hands of smooth talking, 46 year-old President elect Enrique Peña Nieto. Earlier this week, a 14-page special report in the The Economist hailed the country as the one to watch in the ongoing quest of emerging markets to trump Brazil.
Declining birth and homicide rates, increased spending on education, and low manufacturing costs are but few of several social, economic, and political reasons cited for why Mexico’s evolving landscape could deliver a critical blow to the battle of the BRICS (an acronym for countries engaged in new economic development, mind you, of which Mexico is not a constituent).
And yet, amidst all these unprecedented new expectations for a nation about which only three years ago the Pentagon was grimly tossing around the idea of “failed state” in reference to its future, the buzziest news around the country’s re-emergence is the un-neglected fact that Senor Peña fathered two children out of wedlock.
A question to consider is why, and to what extent, should a political figure’s pre-campaign confession to infidelity overshadow the notion that Latin America’s second largest economy may be justly poised to mitigate decades of corruption and violence?
Huffington Post ran coverage of “cheating website” AshleyMadison.com and its shameless promotion of discrete, extramarital services during the Presidential campaign. Peña was shown on a billboard in a lipstick-stained button-down, juxtaposed against the catchphrase “Unfaithful to His Family. Faithful and Committed to His Country."
According to the website representative, if “the candidate had used it services, no one would have found out about the affairs." Why must this eye-roll inducing cry for media attention trail alongside the more important news that last year Mexico’s economy outpaced Brazil with a growth rate around 4%, and Peña intends to have it up to 6% before he’s through? Should not the real question be whether Peña has the political chops to overcome the PRI’s marred reputation and lead Mexico forth into progressive reform?
Earlier this evening came the announcement of Peña’s top cabinet aides — all of whom will be tasked with pushing ahead on the economic policy overhauls and reducing drug violence. That should be what the global press pays attention to.
Said Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, “Mr. Peña must decide whether he wants to be the frustrated king of an old, unreformed country or the president who set its vast potential free.” Why not let this be the billboard statement instead?