New President of Mexico Vows to Focus on Economy

Enrique Peña Nieto has now been sworn in as President of the United Mexican States for the six year period from 2012 to 2018. This took place during a general session of Congress. The New President of Mexico vows to focus on the economy and promises big spending and sweeping changes that will bring peace and prosperity to a country already troubled by drug violence and uneven economic growth.

“This is Mexico’s moment” …declared Mr. Peña Nieto, the exuberant new President, in his inaugural address before a gathering of domestic and foreign leaders at the National Palace.

The political conditions are promising. On December 2nd the Pacto por México, a 95-point agreement, was signed by the President and the leaders of the three major political parties. These included the President’s own Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the conservative Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) representing the two previous presidents. There was also the leftish Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), the party that came in second in the past two presidential elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto, during his fi rst message to the Nation as President of Mexico, unveiled a dynamic sweeping 13-point agenda focused more on domestic goals for crime prevention, and he says he will revise the criminal code and make a strong attack against impunity. He also promised giving more attention to the victims of violence, dramatically lessen poverty and hunger, in addition to universal improvements in schooling Mexican children. The new leader even predicted building new passenger train lines and also expanded access to the Internet.

Mexico’s economy, which currently is Latin American’s second largest, is also featured prominently in the new Head of State’s plan. President Peña Nieto, for instance, favors an increased tax base and legislation that allows for greater foreign investment in the state-owned oil company Pemex. Ownership and control of Pemex and the country’s hydrocarbons, he said, “will remain in the hands of the nation, via the state.” he explained.

Other promises of Enrique Peña Nieto include new government licenses for two public access TV channels. They will compete with the Televisa-TV Azteca duopoly. President Peña Nieto said that Mexico needs a telecommunications law that will open that sector up to greater competition. Enrique Peña Nieto also declared that broadband internet access is a “right” all Mexicans have. The President also announced the return of passenger trains in the country.

At the start of his six-year term Enrique Peña Nieto announced a cabinet that includes Jose Antonio Meade as Chancel-lor and Luis Videgaray as Minister of the Treasury. He named Idelfonso Guajardo as Minister in charge of the Economy. The three working as a team will be in charge of the development of Mexico’s economy. They are also in charge of the country’s foreign relations.

Jose Antonio Meade obtained a degree in economics with honorable mention from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). He also has a bachelor’s degree in law from the Law Faculty of the National University of Mexico (UNAM). His Ph.D. is in economics from Yale University. He began his professional career at the National Insurance and Finance Commission and has held several important posts in the Public Administration within the financial sector. He has been the General Director of Financial Planning of the National Commission on the Savings System for Retirement (CONSAR). He was the Assistant Secretary of Savings Protection and the Institute for the Protection of Bank Savings (IPAB). He was also Director General of Banking and Savings for the Department of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP). He is also former Director General of the National Bank of Rural Credit (BANRURAL). At the present time he is the Foreign Relations Minister for the Federal Government of Mexico.

Luis Videgaray is the President’s closest advisor. He was General Coordinator of his campaign for the 2012 Mexican presidential election. Videgaray has an Economics Bachelor’s degree from the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM). He has a Doctor’s degree in Economics and he specialized in the public finances area at MIT. From September 16th, 2005 until March 31st, 2009 he was Secretary of Finance, Planning and Administration for the State of Mexico. This was when Peña Nieto was Governor of the State. Between 2008 and 2009 Videgaray became National Coordinator of the states’ Finance Secretaries. Before that, he was advisor to Pedro Aspe (1992-1994) who was the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Finance Director of Protego Asesores. This was a consulting company owned by Aspe (2001-2005). He has been named as Minister of the Treasury of Mexico under Enrique Peña Nieto’s new Government.

Idelfonso Guajardo is a former Congressman who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL). He has a Master’s Degree in Economics from Arizona State University, in addition to a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as Congressman for three terms and was the Vice-coordinator of Economic Politics of President Peña Nieto’s transition team. Idelfonso Guajardo has been in charge of the Washington, DC, NAFTA Office (1993-1994). He worked as Associate Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also served during the Presidency of Ernesto Zedillo as the Foreign Affairs Secretary as the Senior Officer. He is Mexico’s new Minister of the Economy.