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The Savior Under Siege


Two years ago, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took office under inauspicious circumstances. He was elected with just 38% of the vote, without a majority in either house of Congress, and with the opposition in control of the country’s capital. The runner-up, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, questioned the results of the election that had brought Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI, back to power after its 71-year reign had been broken in 2000. Peña Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderón, bequeathed him a war on drugs that had cost more than 60,000 lives from 2006 to 2012, Calderón’s term in office.

But the new President defied the dire expectations. He cut a deal with the main opposition parties—including Calderón’s right-of-center PAN—and proceeded to pass a series of significant reforms, including in the notoriously untouchable energy and telecommunications sectors. He was hailed as a world-class reformer, and his handlers proclaimed “the Mexican moment,” as…

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