Mexico’s 2014 highlights: oil reform, violence, public protests, corruption

Security forces holding a protester in Mexico City (Photo credit: Fernando Luna Arce)
Security forces holding a protester in Mexico City (Photo credit: Fernando Luna Arce)

By Dolia Estevez / Forbes

It was not the best year for Mexico; 2014 will be remembered for violent acts that shook the country, most notably the abduction and likely massacre of 43 teacher-trainees (“Normalistas” in Spanish), the execution of 22 people by the Army and the ongoing killings by powerful criminal groups of thousands of Mexicans, including two journalists and three Catholic priests.

The year also witnessed major new corruption scandals and controversies over alleged conflict of interest by government officials, which resulted in a crisis of confidence engulfing President Enrique Peña Nieto, his closest collaborators, major political parties and institutions, such as the Army.

The rapidly deteriorating internal situation overshadowed some of Peña Nieto’s 2014 successes, including the arrest of one of the world’s most wanted criminals and the approval of an historic energy overhaul opening Mexico’s vast oil sector to foreign capital for the first time in decades.

Peña Nieto ends the year with his popularity plummeting. According to a recent survey, the president’s disapproval rating has soared to 52 percent, the highest in his tenure and more negative than those of his two predecessors at this point in their terms; 38 percent of respondents said they did not believe Peña Nieto “one bit.”

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