If necessary there will be more changes in the cabinet: EPN

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, President Peña Nieto said that his government will work on recapturing druglord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

President Peña Nieto said that the results of his administration will help the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) recover the trust of Mexicans. (Photo: Arturo Bermúdez / EL UNIVERSAL)
English 07/09/2015 11:13 Actualizada 12:18
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By Óscar Mario Beteta

President Enrique Peña Nieto said that after the changes recently announced in his cabinet he may make more changes "at any time" if deemed necessary to achieve the goals and objectives of Mexican society.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL the day after his third state of the union address, President Peña Nieto said that his government will work on recapturing druglord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which represents "a challenge".

He added that his escape shed light on the vulnerability of the country's prison system and that he has given instructions to strengthen it. The President acknowledged that the escape caused "enormous anger and frustration" and that El Chapo's eventual extradition to the United States is in the hands of the Attorney General's Office (PGR).

President Peña Nieto also explained that his message against populism on occasion of his third state of the union report had no particular recipient. He explained that when there is frustration and distrust, society can opt for easy and false solutions that would affect the country's development.

In the interview, conducted at the official residence of Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto said that the results of his administration will help the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) recover the trust of Mexicans.

He also said that the national English program in basic education is part of a process that can not happen overnight.

About the new Ministry of Culture the President said that all cultural institutions, such as Conaculta, will be part of the Ministry, that will follow an intercultural policy, and added that it will not mean more bureaucracy.

Mr President, what does it take to realize the great changes and continue to offer concrete results to the population?

First we need to continue following, with determination and firmness, the national project presented to Mexicans that obtained the most support in 2012. I have informed the public of our progress and also of the setbacks and missteps, especially in the past year.

But mostly I have called on Mexican society not to give up, because even though there is global uncertainty and high financial volatility, I believe that we must remain firm on our principles, especially in the realization of the foundations laid to improve conditions in Mexico. I refer specifically to structural reforms, that will help Mexico have a better future.

Mr President, even though there is global economic turbulence, Mexico has positive numbers on employment, investment, inflation, credit, remittances, tourists. However, as you yourself have acknowledged, there are negative points in terms of insecurity, corruption, distrust and disbelief ...

In my state of the union address I admitted that the last year has been difficult for us, marked by difficult times, particularly the tragedy of Iguala with the disappearance of 43 students and the grief and pain that this meant for their families, as well as the unwavering solidarity of the government to support them.

The allegations of conflicts of interest involving the Presidency of the Republic and of corruption at different levels of government and even within the private sphere, the escape of a criminal from a maximum security prison, unfortunately all seems to reflect violence, absence of rule of law and to shake the trust on the government institutions.

However we can not cling to bad times; all deserve attention but it is also worth highlighting what we have achieved since 2012. Let me finish by saying that the priorities I outlined for the next three years are focused on three main objectives: combat poverty and inequality in our country more effectively,; maintaining economic stability and continue to promote economic growth, and strengthen the rule of law.

What will be the key to achieve these goals and combat poverty?

We will tighten our belts in order to cut the spending on bureaucracy, we will optimize the expenditure and avoid overlapping of programs. Therefore the budget proposal I will send to Congress proposes to review each program and how much is invested.

Priority will be given to those aimed at combating poverty and having a quality education, investing in science and technology, higher education and the infrastructure projects that are already underway.

What would be your response to those who believe that your administration curtails freedom of expression and that social networks may be regulated?

We have proven that we are a government that respects freedom of expression, all you need to do is see any news story, conversation and issue circulating on social networks. Some of them recognize what the government does, but many others are often critical.


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