Peña Nieto’s New Poker, With a Wild Card

El Universal 08/28/2015
Ciro Gómez Leyva

Only days away from Enrique Peña Nieto’s third presidential address, and with little to boast, there are changes in his cabinet. Who helped the President decide on the substitutions?

Several times, President Peña Nieto said he would rather keep the team than make changes. Yesterday, at a late hour, with formidable short-term challenges ahead and only days away from a Presidential Address with little to boast, he finally changed. This is why the note on the appointments could focus on finding out who helped him decide to make them.

Did he decide together with his chief of staff? With his advisor Videgaray? With his partner in Los Pinos, Aurelio Nuño? Did he appeal to the head of the party? Did he speak to each of them? Did he decide on his own?

The ratification of the vice-presidents is another note. Not only did Miguel Angel Osorio survive the El Chapo crisis, but he appeared as strong yesterday as in his best days. And there is no doubt that Luis Videgaray and his team will sail the ship through the financial storm. A remarkable victory for both, halfway through the administration.

With Osorio and Videgaray, the President is holding on to two aces for whatever may come towards 2018. With Manilo Fabio Beltrones, this pair becomes three of a kind to bluff if anyone decides to get generous. And there is now a fourth card that finally comes on stage, with Jose Antonio Meade as head of Sedesol [the ministry of social development]. If he moves the numbers and perceptions of poverty even slightly, and moves easily from Buckingham to Cochoapa el Grande, he could be part of the vanguard platoon in the sprint of ’18. Tough, but not unreasonable.

Aurelio Nuño’s position is complicated. He abandons the hothouse to try and flourish in the wilderness of the SEP [ministry of education] from where no one has emerged stronger politically in 22 years, ever since Ernesto Zedillo joined Luis Donaldo Colosio’s campaign as his relay. If in 18 months he manages to pull off the miracle of the education reform cheering up the country, he would be a fifth card on his own merit.

The new chancellor, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, is an unknown and, literally, and ace up the sleeve. The Trump Moment presents a unique opportunity for her to shine. A good circumstance to regain a shred of the revolutionary nationalism that she has known from birth.

Another note would be the grounding of two characters who may have deserved a better fate. Rosario Robles and Jose Calzada are left to head posts that could appear below their potential. And expectations.

The beheading of the National Anti-Kidnapping Coordination is a risky move by the President. It removes one of the few collaborators with a positive record and sends him into the devouring National Security Commission. Renato Sales will be the third commissioner, together with the Osorio Chong himself and the head of the Federal Police, Enrique Galindo.

For dessert, the note would be the way in which Peña Nieto veterans Emilio Chuayfett, Jesus Murillo Karam, and Enrique Martinez Martinez are marching out the back door. There is a touch of generational defeat in this.

Less than 140. The demand for invitations to next Wednesday’s Presidential Address ceremony is high. Higher than last year’s.


Text translated by the Instituto VIF from the original published by El Universal. Link: