When asked by the German magazine Der Spiegel about the legalization of marijuana in two U.S. states, Peña Nieto replied: “I’m opposed to legalizing marijuana because it acts as a gateway drug.” [Editor’s note: It doesn’t.]
Over the past six years, more than 60,000 Mexicans have been killed in the Drug War, and some analysts have noted that Peña Nieto has been quieter on the subject than his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, reports Olga Khazan at The Washington Post. While Calderon made the War On Drugs his primary focus, Peña Nieto has shifted the conversation to trade, poverty reduction, and energy reform.
The new president emphasizes education and other social programs, but he comes under criticism for that, since past administrations of his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) were often seen as corrupt and soft on cartels.
Peña Nieto assures nervous U.S. officials that he will carry on with the Drug War and, of course, continue spending the $2 billion bribe, er, “security assistance package,” from the U.S. known as the Merida Initiative.