It's Inauguration Day in Mexico, and President Enrique Pena Nieto inherits a country with a mixed record.
Most of Mexico is embroiled in a deadly drug war that has claimed the lives of as many as 50,000 people, but Pena Nieto is also taking over an economy that is doing surprisingly well — thanks, many say, to the outgoing head of state.
For more on the developing relationship between Mexico and United States, we're joined now by Jorge Castaneda. Mr. Castaneda served as Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs from 2000-2003. In 2004, he launched an independent bid to run for president as the people's candidate, but Mexico's Supreme Court declared he couldn't run without the endorsement of an official party. These days, Mr. Castaneda is an academic and commentator. He joins us from his home in Manhattan. Thanks very much for being with us.
This month on WEEKEND EDITION, we've been taking a look at the so-called fiscal cliff from the perspective of other countries. After all, the government's automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for January could have impacts throughout what's an increasingly linked global economy.
Tomorrow, my colleague Rachel Martin checks in with Hong Kong. Right now, we'll go to Latin America. We're joined now by Joseph Leahy. He's the Brazil bureau chief for the Financial Times. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.
Since the drug war in Mexico began in 2006, more than 50,000 people have been killed and organized crime has infiltrated, in one way or another, virtually every part of society. Many children have lost family members or become victims themselves. Cartels have also begun recruiting kids to work, often as mules. Even those young people who don't feel the drug war directly have to confront its effects on TV and at school, where bullies imitate narco-traffickers.