Mexico President Nieto defends NAFTA, blasts drug violence in State of the Nation

World Today

Mexico’s president says restoring peace will be his top priority during his final year in office. President Enrique Pena Nieto delivered his 5th state of the nation address on Saturday. It comes as the country faces a host of problems — fraying relations with the U.S., economic woes, and the highest murder rate in 20 years.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras has more.

According to a leading Mexican daily, Reforma, more than 80 percent of Mexicans disapprove of the job Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is doing.

With drug-related violence on the rise, Peña Nieto said restoring peace is the government’s top priority, and progress is being made.

“To date, 107 of the 122 most dangerous offenders have been neutralized,” the president said in his address. “To achieve this, the participation of our Armed has been decisive in helping to guarantee peace and tranquility for Mexican families.”

Some security analysts, however, say Peña Nieto’s six-year term in office is on track to end with a dismal record on delivering justice. 

“Sadly, we are in a time in which levels of criminality, insecurity and extortion continue in some parts of the country, with higher levels than were registered in the previous presidential administration,” according to security analyst Carlos Herredia.

Mexico’s president also used his speech to defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. The second round of NAFTA renegotiations take place in Mexico City this weekend.

The president said Mexico’s team will keep the nation’s interests as a top priority, while also seeking win-win outcomes for all NAFTA participants.

“Mexico’s objective is to consolidate this agreement as an instrument of regional integration, giving full certainty for trade and investments among Mexico, Canada and the United States.”

Peña Nieto also talked about developing stronger trade ties with China. Saturday night he will travel to Xiamen, China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit. The two plan to discuss concrete ways to increase commerce between their two countries.

One issue Peña Nieto did not bring up was a U.S.-proposed border wall, and threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to make Mexico pay for it.

He did, however, send a message of support to Mexican undocumented migrants inside the United States; especially those who left their country when they were young children – the so-called “dreamers” under renewed threat of deportation.

John Ackermans discusses Mexico’s stagnant economy, high murder rate

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto delivered his state of the nation address today, outlining his country’s problems and possible solutions. Among those issues is a stagnant economy and high murder rate. John Ackerman, Professor of Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, joins CGTN’s Susan Roberts to discuss.