Though largely overlooked amid the coverage of Mexico’s deteriorating security situation over the past six years, outgoing President Felipe Calderón made noteworthy gains in Mexican foreign policy during his tenure. With the victory in Sunday’s presidential election of Enrique Peña Nieto marking the return to power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 12 years, some might expect a shift in the country’s foreign policy agenda. In considering what Mexico and the world might expect from the incoming Peña Nieto administration, however, it helps to look first at the important developments under Calderón.
Calderón’s first foreign policy challenge was repairing the damage done by his predecessor, Vicente Fox, who undervalued and underfunded Mexico’s diplomacy. Calderón re-empowered the foreign service and mended relations with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina through dialogue and official visits. He also re-engaged Europe, with the establishment in 2008 of a “strategic partnership,” a designation that the European Union had previously only granted to the United States, China and Brazil. The goal of the new partnership was to increase cooperation on security, trade, human rights and environmental issues. ...
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