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Winning on Anticorruption

Why Mexico Won’t Be the Next Brazil

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto speaks in Mexico City, September 2016. Carlos Jasso / Reuters

Mexico’s Independence Day, celebrated on September 16 every year, is normally a festive occasion. This year, though, it was dampened by an angry march in the capital demanding the resignation of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Now approaching his fifth and penultimate year in office, the president is suffering from an unprecedented decline in popularity, with only two out of ten Mexicans approving of his job performance.

There are many reasons for Peña Nieto’s unpopularity. One is security—recent statistics indicate worsening violence in several parts of the country, and the government appears to lack a coherent and sustainable security strategy. In many areas, Mexico’s violent criminal gangs still fight for control of the lucrative illegal trade in kidnapping, extortion, pipeline tapping, and drug trafficking. Economic growth has also proved to be a challenge: according to forecasts from Oxford Economics, GDP is expected to grow a mere 2.5

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