Over the past two weeks Mexico’s radio and television listeners and viewers were subjected to barrage of ads with President Enrique Peña Nieto visiting multiple parts of the nation explaining to authentic local people that “good things count a lot.”
Over lunch last Thursday in Mexico City I shared the bread – tortillas, rather – with some very close press people to the President and was curious how they managed to visit so many places. One of them explained that it was about very well planned public relations and that every time over the past year Peña Nieto traveled around Mexico, time was taken to shoot the ads which finally amounted to over 50 promos.
On Friday the President sent the written document of the State of the Nation Report (known as “El Informe”) with an Interior under-secretary as the messenger. This was odd because it is usually the Interior Secretary – currently Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong – who goes to Congress in representation of the President but it was clear that a low ranked official was preferred for the occasion. Commentators claim that Osorio Chong “chickened out” of risking a faceoff with Congressmen who listened politely but are furious at Peña Nieto for many reasons which this writer will touch upon in the days to come.
And last Saturday President Peña Nieto went to the National Palace where he presented “El Informe” to Congress and during 70 minutes Peña Nieto pummeled all of the noteworthy deeds carried out by his Administration not just during the past year, but during the past five. Nearly the entire diplomatic community stationed in Mexico was invited to the “Informe.”
The fact that all the noticeably bad things that did happen during the past were left out of the report does not come as a surprise. Traditionally presidents have followed this path and forget all of the political walloping they’ve been subjected to and underscore only the rosy parts.
Of course the Mexican audience in this case is supposed to deliver a resounding applause when they hear something they like best. This time was not an exception and guess which part the 1,400 guests liked the most? Here’s a translation of part of the quote when he referred to the Mexico-U.S. relations over all:
“Bilateral relations have to be based in principles that cannot be renounced to, on sovereignty, defense of the national interest and protection of our peers in the United States. I have said it and reiterate that we will accept nothing that goes against our dignity as a nation,” he said.
Of course he did not mention Donald Trump by name, but people who understand the gist of Mexican politicians know how to read between the lines. In any case, the statement brought the house down.
He definitely could not leave out a direct attack against the man everyone is saying will win the 2018 presidential election, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who gives the president nausea every time he mentions him even indirectly.
Once again he attacked a different way of running the government such as the one in AMLO’s platform and said that “the citizenry demand continuity in the route of renovation and change. Mexico is better today than it was five years ago.” Only a half-hearted applause ensued but he called AMLO’s leftist programs “a failed model” that will endanger the nation if AMLO wins.
People have heard that before and in fact, in four different interviews with television anchormen last week to comment on “El Informe” inevitably each asked about AMLO and every time the President was upset about having to answer questions about his worst political nightmare.
Among the things the President did not mention was the people’s virulent reaction to his move to liberate gasoline prices last January contradicting his repeated promises that fuel prices would go down.
Unfortunately, people don’t forget.
He didn’t mention that in the past five year the Mexican peso devalued 36 percent against the dollar and of course, that’s a direct repercussion in people’s pockets.
I could go on but that’s not what the ceremonial “Informe” is about and the President managed to come out looking good – or so officialdom thinks – and all’s well in the nation.
Clap, clap, clap!!!