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Entries in Enrique Peña Nieto (2)

Sunday
Dec022012

Peña Nieto Makes Big Promises to Mexico

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, started his first day in office by making some big promises, mentioning that his goal is to "set the grounds" for Mexico to become a developed country.

Surrounded by hundreds of foreign dignitaries, and most of Mexico's political brass, Peña Nieto announced a new "crusade" against hunger, a national crime prevention program, a law that would increase competition in Mexico's monopolistic telecommunications market, and a plan to make broadband internet access a "right" of every Mexican.

The proposals were neatly packaged into a list of thirteen "actions," announced by the new Mexican president during his inauguration speech in Mexico City's Presidential Palace. After each "action" was announced, the select group of politicians, ambassadors, religious leaders and business people who were invited into the palace to watch the speech clapped. They clapped especially hard and long after Peña Nieto talked about reforming the country's mediocre education system. Here are some of the most significant initiatives Peña Nieto announced on Saturday.

-- A crime-prevention program aimed at rebuilding the country's "social fabric," which will include input from the ministries of finance, security agencies and the ministry of social development.

-- New government licenses for two public access TV channels that will compete with the Televisa- TV Azteca duopoly.

-- A new education law that will fund a census of the country's schools and establish new merit-based procedures for hiring teachers.

-- A telecommunications law that will open that sector up to greater competition and declare that broadband internet access is a "right" of all Mexicans.

-- Government-sponsored life insurance for single mothers.

-- Universal pension coverage for citizens over seventy.

According to some observers of Mexican politics, many of these proposals had actually been put forth by Peña Nieto's archrival, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during the presidential campaign.

Regardless, Peña Nieto seemed confident that he could carry out these reforms, arguing that the country's strong institutions and its solid macroeconomic indicators would help him to ease social problems in the country.

"In today's Mexico, we can no longer accept the situation of poverty and hunger that much of our population is living through," Peña Nieto said. "If we all contribute with our work and effort, we can turn Mexico into a fully developed country," he added, as the audience applauded.

Strangely, Peña Nieto did not mention the issues of tax reform, or what he will do with Mexico's oil sector, two areas that economic experts have said are crucial if the country is going to move ahead.

However Peña Nieto thanked President Calderon for working with this party to carry out labor reforms that will make it easier to hire and fire workers in the country, in what could be a sign that he will continue to try to forge alliances with the National Action Party or PAN, to pass key economic reforms.

Outside the presidential palace, protests against Peña Nieto led to confrontations between citizens and police. Some of the protesters were the same ones who had attempted to break a security barrier around Mexico's Congress earlier on Saturday.

The hectic activity outside, however, did not seem to dampen Peña Nieto's mood, and the new President raised his voice as he declared that this was "the moment of Mexico."

"Six years are a short period in a country's history," Peña Nieto said about his brand new presidential term. "But 2,191 days are sufficient to set the bases for what should be our goal," he added, mentioning again that he wanted to turn Mexico into a developed country.

"Let's turn Mexico into a country that is not only proud of its past, but a country that is focused on improving its present and conquering its future," Peña Nieto said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec022012

Amidst Violent Protests Enrique Peña Nieto Sworn in as President of Mexico

Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A chaotic protest of thousands of people unfurled outside Mexico's Congress on Saturday as Enrique Peña Nieto took the oath of office to become the new president of Mexico.

Peña Nieto takes over leadership of the country from Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party member was sworn in at Mexico's Congress as a huge police barricade that extended several blocks away from the building kept Peña Nieto's most vocal opponents away from the site.

In the streets surrounding Mexico's Congress, union members from as far away as Oaxaca, mingled with middle-aged protesters, and students from the Yo Soy 132 movement. In the early hours of the morning, small groups of protesters wearing bandanas clashed with police, as they attempted to break the barricade that separated them from the Congressional building.

"We are here because there was fraud; these were the dirtiest elections in a long time," said a young man who had spread a white powder on his face. The powder was made from pepto-bismol mixed with water and intended to help ease the symptoms of tear gas and pepper gas, fired by police to keep protesters away from the barricade.

"I've been looking for a job for the past three years," said the man, who preferred not to provide his name. "With Peña Nieto we will not earn any more than now."

Peña Nieto's election back in July was marred by vote-buying accusations. But Mexico's political class has mostly acccepted his victory, with the exception of leftist Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The scene inside Congress was relatively calm, although some lawmakers held signs opposing Peña Nieto and booed the new president as they vocally protested the new leader's election. It was a far cry from the chaos of 2006, when lawmakers broke into brawls and swarmed the podium in a last minute effort to prevent the incoming President Felipe Calderon from taking oath.

Outside the Congress however, at least three people were injured, and one protester was reportedly in a delicate state after sustaining injuries to the head during confrontations with police. Most protesters outside Mexico's Congress avoided confrontation with law enforcement.

But smaller groups wearing bandanas on their faces chiseled away at the pavement to get slabs of cement that they threw at police with slingshots. A group of protesters also tore down chunks of a local bus stop, in order to use its materials as weapons and shields. Police fired successive rounds of tear gas and rubber projectiles at protesters, forcing them to retreat fom the barricade. But as the tear gas evaporated, groups made up of a few dozen protesters would approach the barricade again, engaging in a street battle with police.

Oscar Contreras, a local veterinary student, tried to stop one protester from further damaging a bus station that was about five blocks from the police barricade.

"By destroying the city, we are allienating those who we want to convince," Contreras said, adding that he opposed Peña Nieto, because the new President has talked about privatizing the national oil company, Pemex, and and has suggested that taxes will have to be increased.

¨We cannot pay more taxes," Contreras said. "Most Mexicans only make two to three times the minimum wage."

Vice President Joe Biden attended Peña Nieto's inauguration in Mexico. The new president met with President Obama last week at the White House.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio