TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mexican president defends 'arduous' reform plan

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Los Angeles Times
Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians
  2. Russians pour into streets to mourn Putin’s foe Nemtsov
  3. Nigerian mob kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber
  4. Plane tracking may be more frequent as anniversary of missing flight nears
  5. Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech
  6. Teacher turned notorious drug lord Gomez finally nabbed in Mexico
  7. Argentine President Fernandez: Late prosecutor Nisman had praised her
  8. Iraq’s pro-Iran Shiite militias lead the war against Islamic State
  9. Deja vu: Putin threatens to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe
  10. Kurds rout ISIS from key town in Syria
  11. Iraq opens museum of antiquities in defiance of Islamic State terrorists