back to top

Mexico's President Wants Everyone To Admit That His Job Is Very, Very Hard

He's growing more irritated with the bad press as his administration draws to a close.

Posted on

Being under the spotlight is no walk in the park. Just ask Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Yuri Cortez / AFP / Getty Images

With less than a year left in office, Peña Nieto is spending more and more time calling out critics while performing his official duties. “To disavow our progress would be an attack on truth, the misinforming of our people, the degradation of our politics,” Peña Nieto warned during a commemoration for the 101st birthday of the constitution Monday.

When Peña Nieto began his administration in 2012, there was a sense of hopefulness in the country, which allowed him to pass sweeping oil, education, and communication reforms.

View this video on YouTube

Aristegui Noticias / Via

But a series of massacres and corruption scandals quickly put a stain on Peña Nieto’s carefully crafted image. The discovery of his wife’s mansion, bought from a favored government contractor, marked a point of no return. Last year, after an unpopular hike in gas prices, his approval rating plummeted to 12% — lower than Donald Trump’s at the time.

Critical calls have grown in tandem with the skyrocketing homicide rate — last year registered more murders than any other since 1997, when the government first began recording homicides.

STR / AFP / Getty Images

Still, Peña Nieto insists that the problem is that the news media lingers too long on the bad news. “They forget and put aside the good news,” he said during a speech in 2016.


Peña Nieto even began using the slogan, “The good things are barely talked about but they count for a lot,” that year.

View this video on YouTube

“It seems like bad news is good news for many people,” he said during an interview two years ago, after tripping up over his original phrase.

Peña Nieto insists that people are too quick to say there is corruption behind everything bad that happens, including the sinkholes that opened up across the country last year, killing at least two people.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP

“Behind every [negative] event, they want to find someone to blame,” Peña Nieto said last year, visibly frustrated.

The outgoing president thinks social media is partly to blame for his tarnished image.

Peña Nieto is a pussy who does nothing but set up his own country for failure. no haces ni madre y tu esposa también parece pendeja

“Sometimes they are very irritating, they like to make very tough accusations,” Peña Nieto said during the unveiling of a new highway project, referring to social media users.

The president has accused critics of being bullies.

Pedro Pardo / AFP / Getty Images

Civil society “condemns, criticizes, and bullies the work that the Mexican government does,” Peña Nieto said during a public safety forum in Mexico City in November.

But at the end of the day, it’s clear that Peña Nieto has gotten used to the lukewarm reception his words often draw.

John Moore / Getty Images

“I know they don’t clap,” he muttered under his breath after giving a speech in 2015.

Peña Nieto’s office did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, but he wants you to know that he’s never had bad intentions.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

“I don’t think a president wakes up, or has woken up, thinking, and sorry about saying it, ‘How to fuck Mexico over,’” Peña Nieto said during a business forum in 2016.

Karla Zabludovsky is the Mexico bureau chief and Latin America correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Mexico City.

Contact Karla Zabludovsky at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.