Mexican president likens leftist rival to Venezuela’s Maduro

Article originally appeared in ReutersMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto likened the front-runner for next year’s presidential election to Venezuelan leftist leaders in an interview published on Thursday, suggesting the opposition candidate could unleash economic chaos if he wins office.

Former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has led early opinion polls for the 2018 election. Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) earlier this year sought to brand Lopez Obrador’s MORENA party an ally of Venezuela after the Venezuelan Embassy suggested it had MORENA’s backing.

In an interview with newspaper Excelsior, Pena Nieto said the rhetoric of Lopez Obrador was “not too far, nor too different from” that of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. …

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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.

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