Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spent much of 2014 fending off protests over the missing Ayotzinapa students, as a new social movement rose up demanding change.
However, one wouldn’t have known this from the exchange he and Obama had yesterday during Peña Nieto’s visit to Washington, D.C. The two leaders focused on Cuba, immigration and less other policy and trade issues. The Mexican president explicitly supported Obama’s executive action on immigration, which benefits many Mexicans living in the U.S., and he made general references to the challenges facing his country.
“I thank you, President Obama, for your willingness to continue working with Mexico in terms of security, especially this clear challenge Mexico has to continue fighting organized crime,”Peña Nieto said.
The lack of specifics will only fuel Peña Nieto’s critics. As Fusion’s Jorge Ramos recently pointed out, it may be too late for him to recover from scandals ranging from inaction after the students’ disappearance (it took him ten days to publicly address it) to his wife’s purchase of a $4 million house from a government contractor.
In Washington, Pena Nieto appealed to an audience in Mexico as much as to one in the U.S. But he was met by protesters there as well, as about fifty activists gathered outside the White House during his visit.
It’s likely he’ll be seeing protesters wherever he goes for sometime to come.