John M. Ackerman
Over the course of only two years in power, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto has succeeded in turning almost every sector of society against him.
His tax and financial reforms threaten the middle class, his labour reforms promise to further impoverish the working class, his energy reforms will ravage the countryside and drastically reduce fiscal resources and his education reforms have mobilised students and teachers throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the exposure of rampant corruption and conflicts of interest in Nieto’s closest circle, as well as his government’s failure to reverse the public security disaster of aggressive and violent policing inherited from his predecessor Felipe Calderon, have led to a crisis of confidence all the way from top business leaders down to the most humble peasant.
Nieto’s approval ratings are lower than they have been for any Mexican president over the last two decades. A maximum of 37 per cent of the population believes that he is doing a satisfactory job, according to independent polls. This number is significantly lower in major urban centers like Mexico City.
Overall confidence in government and the political system are also at record lows. Only 21 per cent of the population are “satisfied” with the functioning of democracy, according to Latinobarometer, and only 22 per cent trust political parties, according to Reforma newspaper.
Mexico today looks very much like present-day Spain, the Greece of yesterday, Bolivia and Ecuador 10 years ago, or Venezuela and Brazil during the 1990s...
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