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Media 092914 CFR

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mexico is working to End Poverty and Improve Law and Order

President Enrique Peña Nieto

  • Relations between Mexico and the United States are at a positive stage
  • Implementing reforms in Mexico
  • Mexicans are destroying paradigms and able to achieve new development models
  • Combating the lack of law and order is a priority for the Mexican government

During his conversation with the Council on Foreign Relations* [in New York City], the President of Mexico said that in order to reduce and eradicate poverty it is necessary "to grow economically, at higher rates and steadily, and to ensure that the state uses social policy to ensure a fairer, more equitable distribution of wealth among the population."

What has been done in Mexico, he continued, is on the one hand to promote structural reforms to boost economic growth, and on the other to redesign social policy with new programs to serve the population, giving it a new character to ensure that its beneficiaries join the labor force.

When speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization composed of high level specialists in international affairs and public policy, the president stated that, "If we effectively accompany both things: the implementation of reforms for economic growth; and adequate, efficient social policy, we will be reversing poverty conditions and achieving greater economic growth."

He stressed that Prospera has a different design from Oportunidades. Its purpose is implicit in its name: to achieve prosperity for people. He explained that the program provides scholarships for higher education and greater links with the labor market, based on special training programs that will have beneficiaries from the program within the government training system.

He explained that Prospera's expanded scope means that it will be able to accompany the beneficiary population in its development and professional training, with tools to engage in productive activity and thus enter the labor market.

He stressed that, "If we fail to achieve economic growth, no social policy will be sufficient to reverse the poverty and marginalization of various sectors of society." Therefore, having this opportunity, "Means that we will also have greater economic dynamism. Otherwise this effort will be insufficient," he explained.

Relations between Mexico and the United States are at a positive stage

President Peña Nieto pointed out that relations between the Mexican and US governments are at a good stage, making it possible to coordinate and generate greater synergy of efforts to make this a more competitive region.

He said that his country has an agenda of broad, diverse collaboration in a constructive space, with great warmth and respect, which now, in addition to public safety, encompasses other topics such as education, technology exchange and trade.

"Mexico, along with the rest of North America, is called to be a much more competitive and productive region of the world, and achieve, through the development of its energy industry and its infrastructure, economic dynamism and growth," he said.

That is where we must focus our efforts: "Working in this climate of great respect, but coordinating our efforts and generating this synergy, which will provide benefits for all of North America and for each of its parts," he said.

Mexicans are destroying paradigms and able to achieve new development models

"Mexicans have the ability to achieve something as big as what we have set out to accomplish, and we already have a base, namely structural reforms," said President Peña Nieto, stressing that through the implementation of reforms such as energy, we are moving into areas into which we had previously not ventured.

"We are destroying paradigms" by entering this new model of development, which means venturing into something completely new for Mexico. This is the great opportunity we have, he said.

Combating the lack of law and order is a priority for the Mexican Government

During the conversation, moderated by Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former US Treasury Secretary, the Mexican president said that there has been a reduction in violence in the country, especially in the border states, "which experienced a critical situation as regards to security." This condition has decreased by an average of over 40 percent.

He said that figures released during the first half of this year show a decrease in homicides of 29 per cent nationwide in the first half of 2014, compared to figures for 2012.

The issue of security is a priority for the government. We are advancing the fight against organized crime and today's figures on violence, "Are certainly encouraging and show that we are on the correct path," he declared.

* Transcript: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Implementing Reforms in Mexico, Council on Foreign Relations

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Press release, Sep. 24, 2014, Presidency of the Republic, Mexico, DF; Presidency of the Republic translation

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