“There was no collusion with AMLO,” Peña Nieto says

In an exclusive interview, Peña Nieto talked about his accomplishments and regrets as President of Mexico

“There was no collusion with AMLO,” Peña Nieto says
President Peña Nieto admitted that, in spite of his administration’s efforts, the public perception regarding corruption had remained unchanged - Photo: Ulises Castellanos/EL UNIVERSAL
English 24/08/2018 19:39 Newsroom Mexico City Francisco Reséndiz Actualizada 19:41
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In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, President Enrique Peña Nieto talked about his outgoing administration, the risks of populism in the country (alluding to President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s political strategy), and some of his most controversial decisions as Mexico’s head of state.

Peña Nieto emphasized that he was proud of his administration’s efficient division of powers, stating that each of the Union’s powers had exercised a substantial autonomy with regards to the presidency.

Measuring his words throughout the interview, the statesman -who will conclude his term on November 30- claimed that his only recommendation to President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador was “to abide by the Constitution,” highlighting his respect for the left-wing leader.

He denied to have colluded with López Obrador during the presidential election of July 1, making it clear that his role during the transition period of 2018 had been that of a man who abides by the State of Law, aiming to reassure the Mexican people.

President Peña Nieto admitted that, in spite of his administration’s efforts, the public perception regarding corruption had remained unchanged. He also stated that the rise in violence in the country was mostly due to a lack of coordination between state governments during the 2015 and 2016 transition.

Furthermore, he explained that, in neutralizing 109 out of the 122 main criminal groups operating in the national territory, his government had planned to decimate drug cartels and then let the state governments handle the remaining factions, but until now, Mexico’s war on drug cartels has been unsuccessful.

When asked whether he was satisfied with his mandate as president, he replied: “I would say yes, I am very satisfied with our accomplishments during our six year term. As I have very shortly put it, we leave behind a country with economic growth and increasing employment opportunities for its citizens, a country that is consolidating as a touristic world power, attracting more and more direct foreign investment, and a strong nation with both political and social stability.”

The president highlighted the approval of Mexico’s structural reforms as one of his main accomplishments, which he assured would bring long-term benefits for the country’s development. He also stated that inflation rates had remained low while employment rates had shown a considerable increase.

Notwithstanding, he also claimed to remain auto-critical. “I am not entirely satisfied with our accomplishments regarding security. Although the first three years of our administration allowed us to revert the growth trend in crime rates, the last three years showed an increase in both drug-related violence and delinquency, leading to the delicate situation in which we are currently living. I believe that this will be an important challenge for the upcoming administration.”

Ayotzinapa was one of the most difficult moments in my administration. I have maintained a very strong empathy for the parents of the missing students and the pain that it has caused them,” the President stated, adding that the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) had devoted both human and material resources to determine what happened. “There are more than 100 people under custody who allegedly participated in these heinous crimes.”

Regarding the “White House” controversy, Peña Nieto claimed that, although there had been no unlawfulness in his purchase of the house, “it led Mexico’s Presidency to lose credibility and we were constantly criticized over the way we handled the issue, which is something I have already apologized for. As I have previously stated, the purchase of the house was legal, and this has been proven by the corresponding authorities.”


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