Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took power in December 2012, is on the cover of TIME magazine in a feature about his work in the North American country. The cover has a picture of Nieto with bold writing, reading: "Saving Mexico." It should come as no surprise that the cover is referring to Nieto's work in battling the nation's war on drug cartels. But the decision to put Nieto on the cover has proven to be controversial, according to social media's preliminary response to the cover alone.
After the release of the TIME magazine cover, critics of Nieto have created mock covers poking fun at the Mexican president. One cover changed the word "Saving" to "Raping" and altered the headline to read, "How Enrique Peña Nieto's reforms have f*$ked the narrative in his narco-stained nation." Another cover photoshopped Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio's face in place of Nieto's, in a symbolic move perhaps alluding to Nieto's looks or poking fun at the fact that anyone's face could be on the magazine with the same headline.
Since Nieto took power, according to Time magazine, the country has seen many positive changes including a 15 percent drop in the total number of homicides and structural reforms. But that's not to say the nation's state is peachy perfect, as they saw an overwhelming increase in kidnappings last year when compared to 2012 and years prior. In fact, statistics from the National Public Security System (SNSP) suggest that kidnappings and extortions have risen during the new administration's first eight months in office proving that crime levels are still very high.
TIME magazine's piece reportedly applauds Nieto's efforts in the successful energy reform, one that the magazine says is the first in 75 years. In the issue, Nieto states: "I think the conditions are very favorable for Mexico to grow. I am very optimistic." This isn't the first time the magazine honored the Mexican president, as Nieto made the TIME 100 list last year as one of the most influential people in the world.
"His critics argued that he was inexperienced and untested, a pretty boy with a TV-star wife; they were skeptical that his party, the ancient PRI, would reform the country and take on the drug cartels," wrote Bill Richardson for the magazine, adding: "Since his narrow election victory, Peña Nieto’s stock has skyrocketed, with near unanimous praise from across Mexican society. He signed a “Pact for Mexico” in December with the two opposition parties and has enacted significant labor reforms. He’s proposed significant changes in the energy and telecommunications sectors, as well as improvements in the nation’s finances. At the Organization of American States, he has led the fight against countries like Ecuador that seek curbs on press freedoms."