La semana pasada, la periodista colombiana radicada en Estados Unidos, Silvana Paternostro, publicó en la revista The Atlantic, originaria de Boston, Massachusetts, el artículo “The Beauty & The Beast”, en el que tras una entrevista con Enrique Peña Nieto, realiza una revisión de la trayectoria de éste, así como un análisis de sus posibilidades como aspirante a la presidencia de este país. Es quizás ésta una de las aproximaciones más cercanas que los lectores estadounidenses tendrán del gobernador del Estado de México y su situación respecto a nuestro país. Compartimos con ustedes esta perspectiva, mencionada el día de hoy en el programa MVS Noticias, con Carmen Aristegui.
Beauty and the Beast
IF THE POLLS ARE correct, I am flying in a helicopter with the next president of Mexico. Enrique Peña Nieto, the governor of the State of Mexico since 2005, is on his way to inaugurate a new piece of road. As wethwap-thwap our way over dry cornfields split by a highway that stretches to the horizon, Peña Nieto puts a stick of gum in his mouth and slathers sunscreen on his face. “My priority is in creating infrastructure for investments to come in,” he says. In two days, he is scheduled to cut the ribbon of an overpass. “The voter needs to understand that I am looking after him.”
That must be why el góber (“the guv”), as Peña Nieto is known, has spent the past year inaugurating multiple public works each week. Members of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years until 2000, are gathering this fall to decide rules for nominating the party’s presidential candidate. Campaigning won’t begin until April, and the election itself won’t be held until next July. But Peña Nieto’s momentum—like the return of the PRI to power—already seems unstoppable. July polls showed him with a 30-point lead over his nearest expected rival; he was riding the wave of a massive PRI victory in recent state elections that swept his chosen successor into office, with the handover occurring on September 16. For a party with a storied history of corruption, malfeasance, and vote-rigging, Peña Nieto’s personal popularity offers easily the best chance in a decade to recover the presidency.
Peña Nieto’s presidential appeal has partly to do with voters’ anger at the failure of President Felipe Calderón’s administration to curb the savagery of the drug wars, and their feeling that they would be safer under the PRI, which has been widely thought to have cut deals with traffickers rather than fight them. But Peña Nieto has also enjoyed enormous clout from his control of the State of Mexico, or Edomex, whose gross domestic product is $77 billion and whose population of 15 million (with an estimated 10 million voters) outnumbers that of any other Mexican state. “Edomex,” says Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s former foreign minister, “is the whole enchilada.” And the PRI is no stranger to making sure that everybody gets a bite. As part of his gubernatorial campaign, Peña Nieto traveled through the state’s 125 municipalities asking residents what public works they needed. Before leaving, he would take out his pen, sign their wish list, and pledge to deliver whatever he signed. Peña Nieto signed his name more than 600 times and called the promises compromisos, or “commitments.” The segment of highway we’re flying over is CompromisoNo. 496.