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Will the Mexican President Resign Over the Ayotzinapa Student Disappearance?

    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s competence has been called into question in light of the government’s handling of the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

In a recent op-ed published in the Mexican newspaper La Reforma (and printed in translation on digital network Fusion’s website) journalist Jorge Ramos enumerates the various reasons why many in Mexico are demanding that their leader step down.

Fusion Network:

Many Mexicans are demanding the resignation of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Thousands, in fact. Why? Because Peña Nieto has proved to be an incompetent leader. He hasn’t been able to quell the country’s rampant violence or escalating corruption, and he has remained silent as criminals continue to operate with impunity.

But above all, many Mexicans are demanding that Peña Nieto resign because they are outraged at his response to the disappearance of 43 college students who were reportedly rounded up in September by local authorities in the state of Guerrero. This outrage is evident in demonstrations that have taken place across the country, as well as on social media — in testimonies, videos and tweets.

Peña Nieto has acted with breathtaking indifference and negligence to these disappearances. It took him 11 days to address the incident publicly, and 33 days to meet with parents of the disappeared. Meanwhile, he has refused to call a single news conference or conduct a single interview on the topic with any independent journalist. His entire response has been one dreadful misstep after another.

The thing is, not only did President Enrique Peña Nieto handle the current crisis facing his nation with cowardly “indifference,” as Ramos points out, but as the call for his resignation resounds throughout Mexico, more evidence of his ineptitude and possible cases of corruption come to light.

Recently it was revealed that the Mexican first lady purchased a “$7 million luxury house” in her name, a property that media outlets are calling Peña Nieto’s “Casa Blanca” or “White House.” The mansion also happens to belong to a rich entrepreneur whose company, Ingeniería Inmobiliaria del Centro, “has received lucrative public-works contracts” including a recent “multi billion-dollar deal with a Chinese-led consortium to build a high-speed train between Mexico City and the city of Queretaro.” Days after this information was revealed on a Mexican journalist’s website, the $4 billion contract was canceled by the Peña Nieto administration due to ” ‘doubts and concerns’ that were raised about the lack of transparency in the bidding process.”

Meanwhile, as Ramos reports in his piece, violent crime has increased since the president rose to power in 2012; at the same time, over 90 percent of crimes go unreported or aren’t investigated due to a general lack of trust in Mexican authorities.

This leaves us with the question Ramos and a large portion of the Mexican populace have asked: Will President Enrique Peña Nieto resign? The journalist’s guess is that the president “will never resign.”

However, perhaps more important than the question of Peña Nieto’s resignation is the fact that we are witnessing the growth of a “vibrant democratic movement” in Mexico that the president, and arguably the rest of the world looking on, “can’t just ignore.”

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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