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Enrique Peña Nieto


Enrique Peña Nieto
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Who is he?:

President of Mexico, succeeding term-limited Felipe Calderon after the July 2012 vote. Governor of Mexico state from 2005 to 2011, a position in which he gained national recognition. A member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had been accused of vote-rigging and human-rights abuses in its decades-long rule of Mexico.


July 20, 1966, in Atlacomulco, Mexico, in the central part of the country and in the northwest of the state of Mexico.

Personal life:

Married to first wife Monica Pretelini Saenz in 1993 and has acknowledged being unfaithful to her. Had three children with her; she died in 2007 after suffering an epileptic seizure. Second and current wife is Angelica Rivera, nicknamed "La Gaviota" (the seagull), a telenovela star whom he married in 2010 known for her role as a tequila maker in "Destilando Amor," or "Distilling Love" in Spanish. Reports claim that Peña Nieto has fathered two children through extramarital affairs. The mother of one of those children, Maritza Diaz Hernandez, said during the presidential campaign that Peña Nieto is a neglectful father to their boy born in 2005.

Political affiliation:

He joined the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years before Vicente Fox's election in 2000, at age 18. He is a member of the powerful "Grupo Atlacomulco" clique within the party. Some critics have called him the "Justin Bieber of the PRI" for being a good-looking candidate who can't remember the titles of books he claims to have read.


With a lifetime in politics, Peña Nieto held various positions in his way up the PRI ranks, including chief of staff for the state of Mexico's economic development secretary and deputy secretary of government for the state. A member of the PRI's National and State Political Council and delegate to the PRI's XVIII General Assembly in 2001, he would be nominated and elected as a local representative and crafted the party's parliamentary goals. He became the PRI candidate for governor in 2005 and won with 49 percent of the vote. In November 2011, he began his campaign for the presidency. Opponents characterized him as a lightweight and a pretty face who, at one point, didn't know the price of tortillas because, in his words, he's not the "lady of the house." Supporters paint him as the new face of the PRI despite his deep ties to the old guard. On July 2, 2012, he declared himself winner of the country's presidential election, despite protestation from leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- who also refused to concede to Calderon six years earlier.


Peña Nieto has vowed to retool Felipe Calderon's six-year bloody war on drug cartels, criticizing the strategy of going after and dismantling the main cartels and promising to pour security resources into the towns where citizens have been most affected by the cartel violence. But he faces an extremely challenging task. The U.S. even has Mexico under a travel warning because of the "violent struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity." More than 50,000 have been killed in the violence since 2006. Peña Nieto also faces the task of dealing with his northern neighbor on everything from immigration to trade, as well as growing Mexico's economy -- particularly as fewer Mexicans have been coming north to seek employment in the job-stagnant United States.


“I’ve been very clear and emphatic. With organized crime there is no truce, there is no treaty, there is no agreement…We have to face organized crime, which is my commitment, my challenge, to return to Mexico peace and security.”
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