Mexican president defends 'arduous' reform plan
MEXICO CITY — Despite street protests that forced him to change the venue of his first state of the nation speech, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto used the occasion on Monday to defend his ambitious reform agenda, pledging to forge ahead with what he called the “grand transformation” that his country requires.
“It's a demanding, arduous road that requires of us great strength, but it's the only one that will bring us the Mexico that we want to build,” Pena Nieto said.
In an apparent reference to the street protests — which forced him to delay the speech, and move it from the National Palace to Los Pinos, the presidential residence, a few miles away — he said that resistance was “a natural consequence when one carries out great transformations. The important thing is to not lose sight of the objective, to move forward and not stop.”
The hourlong speech was delivered nine months after the telegenic 47-year-old's inauguration, a moment that marked the return to power of his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled Mexico as a virtual one-party state for much of the 20th century. Pena Nieto ran on a promise that he and his party “know how to govern,” and his reform package seeks to improve the economy, reduce crime and overhaul Mexico's underperforming schools, tax collection systems and state-run oil company.
His ambitions have been complicated, however, by recent bad news and a surge of vigorous political opposition. The national economy has stalled, and in some states “self-defense” groups have taken up arms to defend their towns against organized criminals. Meanwhile, thousands of members of a radical teachers union have taken over downtown Mexico City to protest the president's education reform package, and proposed tax and oil-sector reforms could bring even more opponents into the streets in the coming days.
But Pena Nieto's clear, straightforward speaking style tends to focus on positive achievements and the building of momentum. Monday's speech noted that sugar cane production was up, and praised Mexican athletes' recent successes on the world stage as examples of good news.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pope’s message received warmly as he arrives in Kenya
- Year’s worth of rain floods Qatar
- Moscow deploys ground-to-air missiles in Syria
- Sandra sets record as latest hurricane in eastern Pacific
- Brazil power brokers arrested on suspicion of blocking probe
- French lawmakers vote to continue airstrikes against Islamic State
- Russia’s crackdown in predominantly Muslim region fuels exodus to ISIS
- Palestinian artist who appealed blasphemy sentence of 800 lashes, prison sentenced to execution
- Bus carrying presidential guard targeted by bomber in Tunisia
- State Department issues global travel alert
- Russian pilot rescued by Syrian commando unit