Updated 02:33 AM EST, Sat, Mar 06, 2021

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Administration Says It Prioritizes Accountability; Rejects the New York Times’ Accusations

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On Monday, The New York Times published a blunt editorial accusing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto of "stubbornly" resisting accountability when it comes to the scandals pervading the country.

Rebuffing the paper's claims, the Office of Mexico's Presidency issued a yet-to be published letter in response to The New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal. Paulo Carreño King, the Foreign Press and Country Brand Coordinator for Peña Nieto, remarked that "accountability, in fact, has been one of the top priorities of President Enrique Peña Nieto's Administration," according to the letter he issued to Forbes' Dolia Estevez.

The Times said that the Mexican leader will not be remembered as the president who accomplished a better future for Mexico -- as what he vowed to do during his 2012 bid for the presidency -- "but as a politician who skirted accountability at every turn."

"On Mr. Peña Nieto's watch, the Mexican government has swiftly and systematically whitewashed ugly truths and played down scandals," The Times wrote.

Peña Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was elected in 2012 to a six-year presidential term with 36 percent of the votes, Forbes reported. His ambitious economic agenda gained commendation from foreign media and investors. However, three years of his leadership saw decreasing popularity with his international reputation also plummeting.

The paper emphasized three major causes of Peña Nieto's downfall: drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's prison break in July 2015, the lavish home the Mexican president built for his wife by a government contractor, and the botched government investigation into the disappearance of 43 rural students in the state of Guerrero in 2014.

The Times condemned Peña Nieto for "appointing a friend," Secretary of Public Function Virgilio Andrade, to look into a possible conflict of interest regarding his luxury house located in a top Mexico City neighborhood. According to the paper, the investigation "not surprisingly" found "no evidence of wrongdoing by the president."

The letter issued by the Office of Mexico's Presidency asserted that The Times "fails to reflect the concrete actions that the Mexican government has taken in the last three years regarding" the matters it mentioned, Forbes reported. The letter also cited a number of laws and decrees signed by Peña Nieto to undertake government corruption and advance accountability.

The text also insisted that measures were taken to investigate Guzmán's jailbreak and the disappearance of the 43 Mexican students. The letter wrapped up by declaring that "despite our grave concern over the misrepresentations in the editorial, we do agree that Mexico still faces challenges," Forbes added.

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