A Scion of Mexico Fights Corruption, and Becomes a Target

The New York TimesMEXICO CITY — President Enrique Peña Nieto sat before the nation’s titans of industry and allowed himself a smile.

Mexico’s business elite had invested record amounts of money in the country, giving life to the president’s promise of an economic renaissance and a welcome bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape of scandals hovering over his administration.

But the president needed more from the nation’s top business leaders, perhaps his most important allies. He needed loyalty. According to five people who recounted the private gathering in May, the president turned to Claudio X. González Laporte, a corporate chairman revered in Mexico.

Your son, the president told him, needs to stop being so critical of the government. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.