Charismatic front-runner in Mexican presidential race vows shift on drugs, trade
“What they’ve got with Pena Nieto is a hot potato,” he said. “He’s a young, intelligent and capable guy. But most important, he’s got good advisers.”
More telling may be the potency with which the economic growth message is resonating through the upper echelons of Mexican society.
“A PRI victory will free up confidence among the nation’s wealthy elite to play their money on the market,” said Jose Andres de Oteyza, a longtime PRI member who heads OHL Mexico, one of the nation’s top infrastructure development firms.
“I am positive of it,” Mr. Oteyza said as he sipped espresso before the view from his 25th-floor office in one of Mexico City’s modern skyscrapers.
Mexico’s wealthy are nothing to shrug off, and include megarich figures such as telecommunication magnate Carlos Slim Helu, whose $70 billion-plus net worth has him listed as the world’s richest man.
“Who’s going to move the people with the money? Not Mrs. Vazquez Mota, not Mr. Lopez Obrador,” said Mr. Oteyza. “Pena Nieto is.”
The heartthrob candidate
That Mr. Pena Nieto is a welcome choice of Mexico’s elite could stem from his family’s connection to high-level PRI operators reaching back to the 1930s. While his father was only a federal bureaucrat, two of his uncles were state governors.
But his popularity seems to hinge on something else entirely: In a nation where good looks matter in every field, the man’s perfectly cropped hair and chiseled jawline afford him the status of a heartthrob.
It doesn’t hurt that he also recently married TV soap opera actress Angelica Rivera.
Mr. Pena Nieto gets mobbed at every turn by adoring women, along with a smattering of wonder-struck young men.
He appears to revel in it.
After meeting with The Times, he spent more than an hour inching his way through a sea of fans sandwiched between the colonial Spanish buildings of downtown Queretaro.
Such adulation has spawned critics who assert that Mr. Pena Nieto is a “pretty boy” or an overly manufactured candidate whose style far outweighs substance.
“They’ve created this doll,” said Antonio Lopez, a 53-year-old teachers union representative in Mexico City. “Pena Nieto is a puppet and Carlos Salinas is pulling the strings.”
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