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Enrique Peña Nieto is a Mexican politician and member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI). On September 19, 2011, he announced his candidacy for president in the "2012 Mexican presidential election to succeed Felipe Calderón, and formally registered his candidacy on November 27, 2011.
México, la gran esperanza
On December 3, 2011, during the International Book Fair, Peña Nieto sparked controversy when he presented his book “México, la Gran Esperanza” (Mexico, the Great Hope) during a press conference with other authors.
Peña Nieto was asked to mention three books had marked his life, and wrongly said that Enrique Krauze was the author of the book “La Silla del Águila” (The Eagle’s Throne), actually written by Carlos Fuentes. Peña Nieto tried to remember names of books and authors, saying he read the Bible and did not finish it and also mentioned a book written by Enrique Krauze: Siglo de Caudillos (Century of Chieftains) in which he referred to it as “ese de caudillos” (“the one of chieftains”), after which he ended up asking the people present in the room to help him match the authors and the titles.
Following his mistake, Twitter users quickly picked up the story and turned it into hashtag, #LibreríaPeñaNieto, and made various parody images and photographs inspired by Gandhi libraries (Mexican bookstore chain) ads. The parodies were inspired by a real campaign from Gandhi Libraries, which consisted of a yellow background, a black text and the Gandhi logo, with tongue-in-cheek comments on reading books.
In response to the criticism and jokes resulted of the books incident, Peña Nieto’s daughter, Paulina, posted a RT from her boyfriend who called Paulina’s father’s critics on Twitter a “bunch of assholes who form part of the prole[tariat] and only criticize those who they envy”. Peña Nieto later apologized for his daughter’s statements, Paulina Peña would later say it was all an invention from her father’s critics and #SoyProle became Trending Topic.
Paulina’s RT was an emotive reaction for my mistake in the FIL [International Book Fair]. It was definitely an excess and I publicly apologize for it.
Everything is an invention from my father’s oppositors. I would never say that about my dear people.
“I am not the housewife”
Later controversy was spawned on 13 December 2011 during an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País where he answered incorrectly to the question about the minimum wage in Mexico and when he was asked how much a kilo of tortillas cost nationwide, he replied, “I am not the housewife.”
Immediately, jokes and tweets on Twitter with the tags #nosoylaseñoradelacasa (#I am not the house wife) became Trending Topic in Mexico. Peña Nieto said that his words had been taken out of context, and that he meant to say that he is not the housewife in his home, and thus wouldn’t know the prices.
On June 11, 2012, The Guardian published an article on the alleged relationship between Peña Nieto and Mexico’s biggest television network, Televisa, where it is alleged that Televisa conspired to ensure favourable coverage for his campaign. Televisa, the largest media empire in the Spanish-speaking world, controls around two-thirds of programming on Mexico’s free television channels.
Ibero-American University conference / Yo Soy 132
On May 11th, 2012, Peña Nieto held a conference at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City, Mexico. During the event, the candidate was questioned severely by the attendees who were angry many people who were not part of the university (known as “acarreados”, dragged) had attended the conference. They criticized him heavily on his term as governor in the State of Mexico and by his use of excessive force in San Salvador Atenco. When Peña Nieto tried to justify his acts, he spurred an outrage and was forced to leave the auditorium. The security personnel on campus made the candidate hide in a restroom until a route to avoid the protesters could be determined. He finally exited the campus with hundreds of students booing him as he left.
Peña Nieto and many of his campaign staffers said this incident was staged by the leftist party candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and that the participants were not real students, but rather thugs (known as “porros”) who they had been paid. 131 students who apparently attended the event uploaded a YouTube video showing their student ID cards to show they were actual students and not paid thugs.
The video went viral, giving birth to the slogan and later the Mexican student movement known as “Yo Soy 132” (“I am 132”), which is meant to express solidarity with the 131 students. Shortly after the upload of the video, the phrase “YoSoy132” became a trending topic among Mexican Twitter users, with many students and supporters rapidly mobilizing through the hashtag #YoSoy132.
Election results and later days
After a very contended campaign, Mexicans voted on July 1st to decide who would be their next president. After only 15% of votes counted on a preliminary program, all candidates with the exception of Andrés Manuel López Obrador accepted their defeat and Peña Nieto self-procclaimed himself as winner of the election. However, evidence quickly surfaced that proved that the elections were fraudulent, such as videos showing controversies in the election booths (kidnapped polls, excessive prescence of PRI sympathizers), people buying votes and many other irregularities. In the next days, many people went to the popular chain-store Soriana to exchange their pre-paid cards for basic goods and people were outraged some people exchanged their votes for cards with less that 10 dollars inside. As a response, Mexicans made many parodic images referencing the cards, Peña’s bad luck and most recently, the fact that he mixed up the names of Mexico’s medal winners (Alejandra Orozco and Paola Espinoza) in the London Olympics.
TIME Magazine scandal/“Saving Mexico”
On February 13, 2014, Peña was put in the front cover of TIME Magazine’s February edition with the caption “Saving Mexico” below.
It took a matter of hours for Mexicans to feel offended and start parodying the cover to show that he wasn’t exactly “saving” Mexico.
As a result, TIME columnist Michael Crowley came under pressure of Mexicans.
“I challenge Michael Crowley to take a walk down the streets of Mexico along Enrique Peña Nieto. Would he still think the same? Saving Mexico”
Fox News Latino – Mexican candidate defends his lack of knowledge about books