The News
Friday 24 of May 2024

Luis, You're Hired

The new head of the SRE, Luis Videgaray,photo: Cuartoscuro/Tercero Díaz
The new head of the SRE, Luis Videgaray,photo: Cuartoscuro/Tercero Díaz
The Donald has already stated he likes Videgaray and that should suffice

It came as no great surprise to learn Wednesday at noon that President Enrique Peña Nieto was disinterring the political corpse of former Treasury and Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray and turning him into the Foreign Relations secretary (SRE).

It was clear that he was removed from office by the President for middling the failed encounter between Peña Nieto and Donald Trump at the presidential residence of Los Pinos last Aug. 31. The meeting was met generally as a good-will meet with The Donald that went awry given Trump’s unpopularity with Mexican after he call them all rapists and drug traffickers who were ruining America.

At a press conference in September Videgaray explained that he had intervened in inviting both U.S. presidential candidates to visit Peña Nieto but only Trump accepted the invitation. Hillary Clinton turned it down. This was Videgaray’s demise as Treasury secretary.

But there were a lot of internal politicking at the time. It was clear that Foreign Relations Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu was furious because it had been Videgaray, and not her, who had come up with the idea of inviting the election contenders. She was fuming over it and finally got Peña Nieto to shove Videgaray aside and replace him with José Antonio Meade, who gladly returned to the Finance and Treasury Secretariat (SHCP).

What happened in between such as the outcome of the U.S. election is old news now but the fact that now Peña Nieto ousted Claudia Ruiz Massieu – pardon me, “accepted her resignation” – and put her old foe Videgaray in front of the nation’s relations with the vast diplomatic community of the nation was indeed a surprise.

Videgaray was named Foreign Relations secretary for the same reason he was fired as Hacienda secretary: being closer than any other Peña Nieto Administration official to Donald Trump.  As a matter of fact the same day Videgaray “resigned” (the President doesn’t fire anybody, the way The Donald does) which was Sept. 8, 2016, Trump went to his favorite way of communicating, and twitted:

“Mexico has lost a brilliant finance minister and wonderful man who I know is highly respected by President Peña Nieto.”

Videgaray happens to have a close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who helped him mastermind Trump’s visit to Mexico.

Did Kushner, or Trump, pressure Peña Nieto to reinstate Videgaray in an important position? It all points in that direction, but don’t take my word for it.

But the fact is that at moment in which President Peña Nieto bit more than he can chew with last Sunday’s hike of fuel prices, he needs to position one his favorite people and long-time friend to be the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s potential presidential candidate for 2018. His closeness to Jared Kushner makes him the perfect candidate.

On the other hand everyone knows that Videgaray, an economist by trade, does not have any diplomatic experience and he did well upon being sworn as Foreign Relations Secretary Wednesday by the President to ask the SRE community to back him up with their help because truth be said, he doesn’t know what’s going on at the secretariat.

Furthermore, among economists Videgaray is widely unpopular because he indebted the nation beyond reason and he caused the President many of the problems he now faces. But the specter of his being friendly with the upcoming Trump Administration seems to erase any wrong-doing in the past.

Does the diplomatic corps stationed in Mexico know him? But of course not but that will not matter as soon surely Videgaray will be inviting everyone to a glass of champagne and meet them all.

What Videgaray will be able to do, however, is soften the tone of Donald Trump in bullying Mexico with more threats. The Donald has already stated he likes Videgaray and that should suffice: he’s hired.