Mexico’s outgoing president delivers final State of the Nation address

World Today

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto walks past a Mexican flag after delivering his sixth and final State of the Nation address at the National Palace in Mexico City, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. President-elect and longtime opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will take over the reigns of power on December 1. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Mexico’s President listed his achievements, and blamed rising crime rates on police in his final state-of-the-nation address. Outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto will leave office after six years with historically low approval ratings as the country grapples with economic problems, corruption scandals and gang-fueled violence. CGTN’s Franc Contreras has more from Mexico City.

Speaking before Mexican governors, congressional legislators, military officials and business leaders, Nieto said his greatest achievement was passing sweeping reforms in a wide array of sectors, including electoral law, education and energy.

“The goal is to make Mexico a more just and inclusive nation that is better prepared and prosperous,” he said. “We are committed to helping solve the great global challenges. To achieve this, we have created a new development model, not just for this moment but for future generations.”

Despite evidence of lackluster economic growth, Nieto told the nation that his government achieved economic stability for all Mexicans. He said last week’s trade agreement with the Trump administration will provide Mexicans with more certainty.

Nieto said his government will be remembered for overhauling the judicial system which now requires evidence and jury trials, a sharp departure from the previous system where suspects were considered guilty and had to prove their innocence.

But critics say Mexican police and judges still do not know how to seize, preserve and process physical evidence in trials. Leaders of the incoming government point to a murder rate that has hit record numbers in the final years of Nieto’s administration. And Nieto’s party has been haunted by perceptions of corruption, an image which caused them to lose by a landslide in July’s elections.

“You are turning over a country in ruins,” insisted Morena Party Leader Mario Delgado. “People are tired of living in fear amid growing violence.”

Nieto, whose term ends in December, admitted that things are far from perfect, but he says the number of Mexicans living in extreme poverty has declined by more than two million.

After a nearly two-hour speech, Nieto ended by thanking his wife and children and saying that serving Mexico has been the greatest honor of his life.