Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Squabble over Peña Nieto's literary gaff focuses attention on his qualifications
Peña Nieto is drawing most of the political flack, which is logical since he is the easy front-runner. The well-known and popular Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes doesn't particularly like any of the candidates (http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/11/renowned-mexican-novelist-offers-harsh.html), but he's had some particularly hash words for Peña Nieto. A few days ago, at a book fair in Guadalajara where Peña Nieto was promoting a slim volume of his own political thoughts for 2012 (all of the candidates write such books), the PRI nominee confused the author of a book he had identified as one of his favorites . The author is actually Fuentes, but Peña Nieto got it wrong, which stirred Fuentes to suggest that perhaps the candidate needs to take some literature courses.
This week Carlos Fuentes said that Peña Nieto has the right not to read his books, but "he doesn't have the right be be president of Mexico from a perspective of ignorance. The problems today demand a man who can converse on the same par with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel (the German Chancellor) and Nicholas Sarkozy (president of France), and Peña Nieto is a man incapable of that," Fuentes told the BBC in a published interview.
"I want intelligent candidates, who understand the reality of this country and what is happening here, who understand the world," Fuentes told CNN in a separate interview. "Mexico's problems are immense: crime and insecurity, migrant workers, the lack of jobs and real security for many workers, the need to update our communications networks and infrastructure, education, health -- all of these are enormous challenges. These issues present great challenges, but the candidates are poorly qualified," he added.
Last week PAN hopeful Josefina Mota laid into Peña Nieto after he was unable to answer a question about the price of basic foodstuffs which families must buy every day. His slip was made worse when he tried to defend himself by saying, "I'm not the lady of the house," a comment which could be interpreted as a mild insult to those who are. Mota took the PRI candidate to task and emphasized that she was "proud to be the lady of the house."
Another candidate vying for the PAN nomination, Santiago Creel, said in reference to Peña Nieto, "ignorance is a poor companion, and the worst in the office of the presidency."
The head of the Institutional Revolutionary Party was quick to defend PRI's nominee yesterday, noting that he is "a university graduate with a solid academic background, an attorney, he hold's a master's degree in public administration, but most importantly he is politically capable."
Campaigning in Veracruz -- the City of Cadavers (http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/more-bodies-are-dumped-in-veracruz-city.html) -- earlier this week, Peña Nieto stood up for himself. "The formal campaign has not even begun, but my adversaries' attacks are the order of the day. Instead of occupying themselves with plans for Mexico, they've dedicated themselves to constant attacks against me."
It will be a long road to Los Pinos, and the man or woman who is presumptively smart enough to lead Mexico won't be selected until July 1.
Enrique Peña Nieto - Mexico's "Great Hope" in 2012: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/pris-great-hope-enrique-pena-nieto.html.
at 10:48 AM