Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took office one year ago on promises to jump-start the country’s economy and tamp down drug cartel-related violence.
But the economy remains in a slump. And violence that impacts innocent civilians, the type Peña Nieto promised to end, rages on. Those factors have contributed to a sense of pessimism surrounding the new leader.
Those are not the only things plaguing Peña Nieto’s administration. He’s also receiving heat over his human rights record. Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) penned an open letter to the president accusing law enforcement agencies of carrying out abuses like torture and extrajudicial killings.
“One year on, the shift in your approach to human rights remains largely confined to rhetoric,” wrote José Miguel Vivanco, director of HRW’s Americas Division.
Mexican authorities say they have taken steps to change the way they combat drug cartels, like reducing the military’s role in fighting the cartels.
But HRW counters that there is little evidence to show that the government’s strategy has truly changed. After cartel-related violence flared in Michoacán this year, the government deployed thousands of troops to fight back, HRW said in its letter.
“While you have repeatedly stated that the priority of your security strategy is to reduce violence, you have not set out a concrete plan for how this is to be achieved,” wrote Vivanco.
Daniel Wilkinson, managing director of HRW's America's Division, will discuss the problems facing Peña Nieto on AMERICA with Jorge Ramos on Fusion at 8 p.m. ET Monday.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.