Mexico's president-elect, who was inaugurated Saturday, has
pledged to make economic growth and job creation the centerpiece of
his administration. -- an administration that will undoubtedly
impact U.S.-Mexico relations.
Pena Nieto, 46, and his Institutional Revolutionary Party have
pledged to focus on economic growth as a way to reduce drug
trafficking that plagues his nation. He plans to gather the police
and security apparatus under the control of the Interior Department
and create a new national anti-corruption commission.
Shannon K. O'Neil, senior fellow for Latin American
studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), suggests
the United States is an example for Mexico to follow. While there
are significant drug concerns in the US, she notes that the
associated violence connected to the drug trade is not as
severe in America as it is south of the border.
"We don't have a war on drugs in the United States, but we have,
for lack of a better term, some sort of regulation and containment
policy that we use here that we keep it from getting violent,"
O'Neil suggests. "There may be some lessons for Mexico in terms on
the waiting on states deals with this so insidious problem that is
not going to go away."
While the new administration has proposed an aggressive
platform, O'Neil points out that political reform is noticeably
missing from Pena Neito's agenda.
"Political reform has been shunted, and there I mean
re-election, I mean election of outside candidates -- a lot of
things that people have talked about that would be beneficial for
rejuvenating and opening up and making Mexico's system more
accountable," the senior fellow offers. "I don't think those are
going to be on this long list."
Pena Nieto met with President Barack Obama last week at the
White House, where he expressed hope in broadening Mexico's profile
beyond drug violence and border turbulence.
The Mexican government reports 56,561 deaths since December 2006
related to drug gangs and organized crime.