Time Magazine is known for its controversial covers. The publication infamously named Adolf Hitler “Man of the Year” in 1938, a distinction Joseph Stalin won twice.
The most recent international edition of the magazine, which features Mexico’s young president Enrique Peña Nieto on the cover, has similarly sparked outrage and backlash throughout the man’s native country. The cover depicts Peña Nieto along with the headline “Saving Mexico.”
Many in Mexico, however, believe the politician to be doing the opposite. Angry citizens took to social media websites like Twitter to voice their disapproval of the cover, and a Change.org petition designed to remove Peña Nieto from the cover has nearly gained the required 10,000 signatures.
There are numerous reasons that Mexican citizens are upset with the cover's glorification of their political leader, ranging from the president’s failure to successfully intervene in the nation’s drug wars to the country’s new energy bill, which, according to the Huffington Post, “opened the country’s state-run oil industry to foreign investment for the first time in almost eight decades.” Although this energy reform bill has made Mexico appear more profitable in the eyes of foreign investors, many local citizens do not support the idea.
The Time Magazine feature article was written by Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Michael Crowley, who insists that his critics have not given his article a fair chance.
“Remarkable how many critics of Mexico’s president seem to believe I must have literally taken a bribe to write a positive story about him,” Crowley said in one tweet.
“Dear Mexican friends: Read the story. It doesn’t say that either Mexico or EPN are perfect. Addresses corruption, cartels, reform backlash,” he said in another.
Crowley has a point. His article does approach the president in a much more nuanced way than the cover suggests, although it still takes a positive spin regarding Mexico's future. Regardless of public opinion regarding Peña Nieto, it’s undeniable that Mexico is a nation that’s slowly establishing more world power. The country already has the 14th largest economy in the world, and its many successes need to be highlighted along with its struggles and failures.