After attending the swearing in of Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar said Sunday the country is poised to move forward.
Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won a controversial election earlier this year, and his ascent to the country’s highest office returns the PRI to power, after more than 70 years of rule was ended nearly 12 years ago.
Representative Cuellar said Peña Nieto is a natural leader and is prepared to take on the challenges facing Mexico. At the top of his list is ending the violence surrounding the country’s drug cartels.
“He's going to go ahead and move forward on using intelligence and working with the U.S.," Cuellar said. “This new strategy I think is a smarter way of addressing it.”
Cuellar met with the new president and his cabinet last week. He said Peña Nieto has 13 goals that he wants to accomplish in 6 years. He wants to improve the country’s educational system, make its penal code fairer, and strengthen its economy.
Cuellar said a strong Mexican economy can help the U.S. reach comprehensive immigration reform by slowing the flow of immigrants into the country.
“Their economy is growing by about four percent. They want to raise it up to six percent, and if they can make it to six percent they feel that they can keep Mexicans in their area,” said Cuellar.
Cuellar said he sat down with Peña Nieto several months ago and described him as a man who loves his country dealer. He said he had one message for the country’s leader.
“I told him to go big and go bold," said Cuellar.