News Analysis -
A preview of coming political attractions, and those endless rumors
"Thin, grey, emaciated" - that's the way some are describing Mexico's president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto. Blogs, Twitter accounts and some news services have come alive with the theme in recent days. And this morning at least one peninsular newspaper carried an article on the subject.
It's not the first time the claim has been made. As far back as November 2011, months before the campaign officially began, the story was already circulating.
Proponents of the "he's really sick" rumors (denied by the EPN campaign) point out that Peña Nieto has had few public appearances since July 1, and conducted only a handful of press conferences. Maybe the candidate is tired from an electoral effort which began in earnest in early 2011. More likely he's very busy preparing for the new PRI administration, which will take the reins in about 15 weeks.
The claim that the 46 year old Peña Nieto is suffering from aggressive prostate cancer fits in nicely with the demand of defeated PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who insists that an interim president must be named while the ongoing election controversy and charges of vote buying are sorted out by a federal court. The decision was originally expected in the first week of September, but over the weekend PRI's leader in the Mexican Senate predicted that the special electoral court will certify Peña Nieto's victory by the end of this month.
I suspect that rumors will abound during Enrique Peña Nieto's sexenio as it's called here -- his six year presidential term which begins Dec. 1. His love life undoubtedly will continue to interest many (El Gran Amante - The many romances of Enrique Peña Nieto), as will his illegitimate offspring and his first wife's sudden death in January 2007 (Enrique Peña Nieto admits: "I was unfaithful"). And that's not all that's blowin' in the wind.
Mérida, July 7 - "You're not MY president, and I don't want you signing my diploma"
In May 2007, four months after his wife died, a caravan of vehicles carrying EPN's children and other family members was ambushed in Veracruz. Peña Nieto was governor of the State of Mexico at the time. Curiously, only a trailing vehicle carrying a government security detail was directly fired upon. Several of the bodyguards were killed, but none of the family was injured in the brazen attack.
A man who claims to have been Peña Nieto's homosexual lover for seven years has publicly stated that the attack was ordered by the now president-elect himself, or by close political supporters. The motive? The murdered bodyguards allegedly had transported Peña Nieto to his regular appointments with this man over the years, and had to be eliminated to prevent the incriminating evidence from being leaked or sold to adversaries. According to the story, Peña Nieto's first wife once walked in on them while they were in flagrante. A fierce argument erupted, and EPN viciously beat her. Not long after that incident she died. The man claims Peña Nieto has a lengthy history of domestic assault, and says that his present wife, a popular soap opera actress, also has been a victim of his periodic but monumental rage. These types of stories have been circulating for weeks and likely will intensify as Dec. 1 approaches, the date on which the new president will be sworn in. Mexico, which adores rumors, will surely be enchanted by the idea of a GQ president who hasn't yet come out of the closet.
Such is the stuff of Mexican national politics on a muggy Monday in Mérida, while the nation anxiously awaits a hurricane, and official confirmation (hopefully) of whom its next leader will be.
Aug. 9 - Peña Nieto appeared on national television this afternoon addressing an audience on plans for his new administration. He looked healthy and fit, and spoke with the same energy he displayed during the campaign. If he's seriously ill his makeup artist is doing a superb job of concealing it.
July 23 - YoSoy 132 is "infiltrated," López Obrador is "crazy and violent"
July 21 - Mexico facing greater political crisis this year than in 2006
July 18 - López Obrador will take his case to Inter-American tribunal if vote challenge fails
July 13 - Andrés Manuel López Obrador fires in all directions, demanding a new election
July 11 - Memo to Andrés Manuel López Obrador: "Ya basta, señor"
Mar. 30 - Mexico's presidential campaign begins