A party long accustomed to power has a new look. Enrique Peña Nieto’s telegenic image has served the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) well. A member since age 18, the former Governor of Mexico State is about to turn 46, elected national President.
The PRI governed the country from 1929 to 2000, and Peña Nieto is one of a powerful group within it, having long set his heart on running for the top job. In November it chose him as its candidate. He promised to overcome Mexico’s problems.
Peña Nieto promised “A safe and peaceful Mexico, with more social equality, with economic growth generating jobs, where there is more opportunity for all.”
Some Mexicans associate the PRI with many years of corrupt and authoritarian rule.
The students’ movement Yosoy132 sees him as a pure media product, backed by television interests. Others also see Mexico at a dangerously low point, as reflected in this video clip, saying: “Your country and mine is suffering, in a deep crisis of violence, poverty and injustice.”
Journalist José Reveles said: “Mexico is living a human tragedy of no small proportions. It has gone too far, with an escalation of violence, extortion, death, kidnappings and displaced people. We are talking about 70,000 dead.”
To his many supporters, however, Enrique Peña Nieto is the very model of a modern president, married to second wife Angelica Rivera in 2010, a soap opera series actress he met on the set of an election campaign advert.
Mexican television’s main channel, Televisa, was one of the students’ main targets in trying, unsuccessfully, to prevent the PRI from returning to government.