Mexican president vows to end hunger for millions

Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:14pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Anahi Rama

LAS MARGARITAS, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a campaign against hunger on Monday, pledging to transform the lives of nearly 7.5 million of the country's poorest, though he gave few details, prompting criticism that the plan was a "rehash" of old policies.

Tackling the poverty that blights Mexico has been a priority for many presidents of Latin America's second-biggest economy, and it was one of the first pledges Pena Nieto made when he launched his election campaign at the end of March.

The 46-year-old president outlined a four-point plan to tackle hunger in 400 of Mexico's roughly 2,500 municipalities, urging community action, local government responsibility and pledging to strengthen agricultural production in afflicted areas.

However, he did not detail the cost of the plan.

"It's painful and saddening that there are still Mexicans suffering with hunger here in Chiapas, and, it has to be said, in every corner of Mexico," said Pena Nieto, who took office on December 1.

"This is not a handout program; it's not just about giving out food to those that need it," he added.

Pena Nieto was speaking in Las Margaritas in the poor southern state of Chiapas, a town that was a hotbed of resistance to the federal government in the 1990s.

Las Margaritas was also a stronghold of the Zapatistas, a leftist revolutionary movement that rose up against the government in 1994, partly in protest against Mexico's signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Canada.   Continued...

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech during the inauguration ceremony of the Forum Mexico 2013: Public Policies for Inclusive Development, at Centro Banamex in Mexico City, January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Henry Romero