Category Archives: Politics

Why did Pena Nieto invite Trump to Mexico?

NYT – Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, had already had a terrible summer. July was the most murderous month in Mexico since he took office in 2012. Second-quarter results showed negative economic growth for the first time in three years. A survey found his approval rating slipping to 23 percent. And a news report even alleged that he plagiarized nearly a third of his law degree thesis. How could he make it any worse? Only by inviting Donald J. Trump, one of the most hated men in Mexico — so hated that piñatas with his visage are brisk sellers across the country — to his presidential palace.

President Pena Nieto calls Trump’s ideas ‘a threat to the future of Mexico’

Trump and Pena Nieto aired their differences on Thursday, beginning when Trump tweeted: “Mexico will pay for the wall!”
Trump and Pena Nieto aired their differences on Thursday, beginning when Trump tweeted: “Mexico will pay for the wall!”

By Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times

Reversing a more diplomatic tone he set during a joint appearance with Donald Trump in the Mexican capital, President Enrique Peña Nieto called the Republican presidential candidate’s ideas a “threat to the future of Mexico.”

Peña Nieto’s hostile words came Wednesday night, hours after he met privately with Trump and shortly after the real estate mogul delivered an incendiary speech in Phoenix in which he repeatedly portrayed immigrants in the U.S. as dangerous criminals and vowed to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall.

Peña Nieto said Trump’s proposal to end free trade agreements and deport millions of immigrants are a danger to Mexico. “Imagine what that represents, and tell me it is not a risk to Mexico,” he said.

When the president appeared side by side with Trump after their meeting at his residence in Mexico City, Peña Nieto described the meeting as “open and constructive,” and said there had been “misunderstandings” about Trump’s comments about Mexicans in the past. They shook hands before they parted. 

But in the interview with Televisa’s Denise Maerker on Wednesday night, Peña Nieto said Trump’s ideas were dangerous, and said he had invited Trump to Mexico precisely because of the danger the candidate would pose to Mexico if elected.

“I think this risk and threat must be addressed,” he said. “You have to face it head on.”

Hilary Clinton blasts Trump’s trip to Mexico

CBS – Hillary Clinton strongly criticized Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico in a tweet Wednesday, blasting the GOP nominee for having “just failed his first foreign test.” Trump’s hastily-scheduled trip to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto comes just as the latest national poll showed Clinton in a statistical tie with her Republican rival.

Donald Trump and Peña Nieto meet but don’t discuss who would pay for a border wall

Donald Trump delivers a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City on Wednesday. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump delivers a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City on Wednesday. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

By Noah Bierman, Tracy Wilkinson and Kate Linthicum / Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump showcased his flair for the dramatic spectacle again Wednesday, flying his unpredictable campaign across the southern border for a hastily arranged summit with the president of a country he has repeatedly maligned.

The move was stunning for a nominee whose presidential run began with harsh denunciations of Mexicans, whom he called “rapists” when he announced his candidacy, and whose slogan-ready pledge to build a border wall includes the improbable idea that Mexico will pay for it.

Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had a cordial but frank discussion for about an hour at the presidential residence. The men said they did not discuss whether Mexico would pay for a wall along the countries’ shared border, a core campaign promise of the Republican presidential nominee. But Peña Nieto pointedly vowed to protect Mexican nationals living in the U.S. who contribute to prosperity and “deserve the respect of everyone.”

For his part, Trump said he was “straightforward in presenting my views about the impacts of current trade and immigration policies of the United States.”

The visit to Mexico, just hours before Trump planned to deliver a long-awaited speech on immigration enforcement, represented yet another gamble for the GOP presidential candidate.

A high-level meeting in a presidential palace with a foreign leader allowed the outsider candidate to demonstrate statesmanship and to assure voters that his tough talk will not prevent him from striking dialogue with foreign leaders.

Donald Trump to Visit Mexico After More Than a Year of Mocking It

The trip will take place hours before Trump is to give a speech in Phoenix that is expected to clarify his stance on immigration.
The trip will take place hours before Trump is to give a speech in Phoenix that is expected to clarify his stance on immigration.

By Nick Corasanti and Azam Ahmed / New York Times

Donald J. Trump will visit Mexico today (Wednesday) for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto — a trip that will take him to a nation he has repeatedly scorned — before quickly flying back for what is billed as a major immigration speech in Arizona.

Peña Nieto’s office said Tuesday night that the meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and Trump, on Twitter, said he looked “very much forward” to the visit.

The Mexican president’s office said Mr. Peña Nieto had sent invitations last week to both Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would not comment Tuesday on whether she had received the invitation.

Peña Nieto is reaching out to Mr. Trump in the face of the Republican candidate’s antagonistic attitude toward Mexico in his policies and campaign rallies. He has said many Mexican immigrants who enter the United States illegally are rapists, and he has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will pay for his proposed wall along the southern United States border.

He is widely reviled in Mexico, where the wall proposal has revived deep grievances over sovereignty and respect that have historically dogged Mexico’s relationship with the United States.

Trump’s trip to Mexico is kind of baffling

Washington Post – It is barely worth pointing out that Donald Trump’s surprise visit to Mexico today (Wednesday) won’t do President Enrique Peña Nieto much good. Peña Nieto is deeply unpopular in his home country, with one survey putting his favorability at 23 percent — a figure so low that it makes Trump himself, at 35 percent, seems positively embraced.

That 35 percent is in the United States, of course. In Mexico, Trump’s a lot less popular. A June survey showed Trump at 75 percent unfavorability in the country — compared with Hillary Clinton’s 6 percent.

Ex-PRI president implicated in long list of crimes

PanAm Post – Senators of the National Action Party (PAN) have filed a complaint against Humberto Moreira Valdés, the former head of the ruling Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and former governor of Coahuila. The document lists allegedly committed crimes such as money laundering, unjust enrichment, obstruction of justice, bribing, fraud, and embezzlement of public funds.

Trump jokes plane is Mexicans poised to attack

Trump pointingPolitico – Standing before a crowd outside the shuttered Osram Sylvania light-bulb factory in Manchester, NH, on Thursday, Donald Trump offered up the closed plant as a direct symptom of trade deals advocated by both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton. He also joked that a plane flying overhead could be from Mexico and poised for attack.

PRI leader Beltrones quits after drubbing at polls

AP – The head of Mexico’s ruling party has resigned following the group’s poor showing in governorship elections earlier this month. Manlio Fabio Beltrones had promised to win most of the 12 governorships up for grabs in elections earlier this month. Stung by corruption scandals and violence, the PRI won only five races.

Ruling party is routed in regional vote on graft, cartel violence

A woman casts her ballot in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)
A woman casts her ballot in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

By Dave Graham / Reuters

Mexico’s ruling party lost several bastions in Sunday’s regional elections to the center-right opposition, dealing a heavy blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto for failing to crack down on corruption and gang violence.

The rout will help set the tone for the next presidential election in 2018, underscoring deep discontent over graft scandals and a sluggish economy, and throwing the contest open to contenders from both the left and right.

Early results from gubernatorial races in 12 of Mexico’s 31 states on Monday showed Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, heading for defeat in seven of them, a result far worse than most polls had forecast.

Projected losses included two oil-rich strongholds in the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz and neighboring Tamaulipas, both of which have been plagued by gang violence for years, as well as Quintana Roo, home to Mexico’s top tourist destination Cancun. All three have been run by the PRI for over eight decades.

The center-right National Action Party (PAN) was the big victor in the gubernatorial races, leading in seven states. In three of these contests, it fielded a candidate in alliance with the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

“If we get results, we’re going to win the presidency in 2018,” PAN leader Ricardo Anaya told local radio.

Ruling PRI Party is vunerable in Mexico elections this Sunday

Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine.
Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine.

By Deborah Bonello / Insight Crime

The run-up to Mexico’s June 5 gubernatorial elections has been beset with reports linking candidates to organized crime, and voters could knock President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional – PRI) out of historical strongholds for the first time in states long infected by criminal gangs.

Ballots in 14 of Mexico’s 32 states and the capital will open on Sunday morning in a contest seen by many as a sign of who might win power in the 2018 presidential elections.

The popularity of Peña Nieto and his party is currently at an all-time low as Mexicans are unimpressed with how he has handled the country’s economy and tackled its corruption problems.

Voters will elect new governors in twelve states, of which the PRI currently controls nine. One study suggests that in a worst-case scenario, the party could lose half of those.

Of the states with high levels of organized crime that will be electing new governors, the PRI fortresses of Veracruz and Tamaulipas promise to be the closest races. The PRI has never lost a gubernatorial election in either of those states.

With disappointment in Pena Nieto, political risk is on the rise in Mexico

President Pena Nieto's popularity languishes as progress slows on reforms.
President Pena Nieto’s popularity languishes as progress slows on reforms.

By Dan Bogler / Financial Times

Sweeping, radical, audacious. Those are all good descriptions of the structural reforms enacted by the Mexican government over the past three years. Failure, unfortunately, is another.

Economic growth, rather than accelerating back to 4 per cent and more annually, has stumbled along at barely over 2 per cent. The stock market has flatlined, while the peso has steadily lost ground, and not only against the dollar.

All this has turned international investors from enthusiastic backers of President Enrique Peña Nieto and his program of energy, telecom, media and fiscal reforms into critics who are dumping their Mexican assets.

Yet fund managers are not nearly as negative as the president’s own compatriots.

Half think the government’s reforms are harming the country and 60 per cent say the peso’s depreciation is the administration’s fault, according to a recent opinion poll. Add in the failure to deal effectively with crime and corruption and it is little surprise that nine out of 10 Mexicans have little or no confidence in political parties, while six out of 10 say they are not living in a democracy.

In other words, Mexico looks ripe for the rise of a Donald Trump-style anti-establishment candidate. And this is the growing political risk identified by Medley Global Advisors, a macro research service owned by the FT, after a recent country visit.

The focus is the 2018 presidential election and while that is still two years away, MGA sees headline political risks — and the associated market volatility — starting to increase from this year and building steadily throughout 2017.