What is your pathway to winning?
We have a real possibility of winning, because I have a trajectory that comes from civil society.
You are convinced you have a real possibility
I am absolutely convinced. Not only because of the fact that I am a woman, but also because as a woman, I have been able to head two of the most important ministries in my country: education and social development. In both I have accomplished important results. In social development, we were able to decrease poverty as never before — 9 million Mexicans overcame the conditions of extreme poverty.
What is the difference between you and Peña Nieto?
I believe there are many differences. During my term in both secretariats and in congress, I have never had any discrepancies in my public accounts. I have been transparent.
Are you saying he has not been transparent?
Peña Nieto has had a history of protection for people like Arturo Montiel [who withdrew from the 2006 presidential race amid allegations of corruption]. He was the chairman of the [PRI] party and he nominated Peña as the candidate of the PRI for the governorship of the state of Mexico. In terms of security, citizens did not trust local authorities during the six years of his term.
President Calderón tried hard to combat organized crime. What would you do differently? Would you keep the army in the streets?
Mexican families want less violence. The first step is a national militarized police that will include the federal police and the best policemen of the states and municipalities. This national police body will protect families, particularly when local authorities are not assuming that responsibility. As the national police body starts protecting those families, the army may be able to gradually go back to their forts. In the meantime, the army will have to stay out on the streets.
What about the relationship with the
We have to continue strengthening our relationship with the United States. . . .What I am sure of is we should strengthen our shared responsibility and recognize that what Mexico is now facing is not a local issue. We have a very broad co-responsibility in many senses — from the sale of arms to collaboration, made within the framework of the law and with respect for sovereignty, that may exist in intelligence.
Do you believe you could break up the monopolies?
The moment has come to give Mexican consumers power. The path to accomplish this is opening competition. That is why I have talked about the importance of private investments complementing public investments in the Mexican oil company Pemex.
You want to open up Pemex to private
I want Pemex to complement its investment with private investment so that Pemex may be a lot more competitive without losing the ownership of the Mexican people. It is contradictory for an oil country to be importing gasoline or for us not to be taking advantage of such attractive gas prices. If we want to go back to growing our economy, we need a profound transformation in our energy agenda. Not only in Pemex, but in alternative energies, sun and wind.
Isn’t Mexico low on the education scores
of OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries?
I know. But as education secretary, I was able to reach an agreement with the teachers’ union so that that the positions for new teachers would go through a contest of merit. Before that, some teachers, when they were retiring, used to sell their posts, and not necessarily to other teachers.
My commitment is to accomplish total coverage in high school by 2018 so that all youth may access that educational level. In the case of university, to accomplish coverage of 50 percent.
Would Peña Nieto have to make a huge
mistake for you to win?
The election has not been resolved. I was President Calderón’s campaign coordinator six years ago and at this point, many were saying that the election had already been won by another candidate. The election was resolved in the last two weeks. We are now observing a citizens’ trend that increasingly rejects the possibility of the PRI coming back to rule Mexico. We still have yet to see many circumstances in this election.
Read more from Outlook:
Interview with Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto
Interview with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.