He’s been Mexico’s leader for less than five months, but Enrique Peña Nieto is already making his influence felt…
The 46-year-old Mexican politician, who officially became Mexico’s 57th president on December 1, 2012, is one of the eight Latino luminaries named to Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
Peña Nieto, who served as governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011, was heralded for his charisma and self-deprecating humor by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.
“Since his narrow election victory, Peña Nieto’s stock has skyrocketed, with near unanimous praise from across Mexican society,” writes Richardson in his essay on the Mexican leader. “He signed a ‘Pact for Mexico’ in December with the two opposition parties and has enactedsignificant 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.”
“The U.S. shouldn’t treat Peña Nieto like a patsy,” Richardson continues. “He combines [Ronald] Reagan’s charisma with [Barack] Obama’s intellect and [Bill] Clinton’s political skills. This is a leader to watch.”
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became pontiff last month after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, also made the list. Known as Pope Francis, the 76-year-old Bishop of Rome was lauded by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
“In his first official sermon, six days later, he continued to captivate us, as he encouraged us, Do not be afraid to love! Do not be afraid to be tender!,” writes Dolan. “The Cardinal sitting next to me remarked, ‘He talks like Jesus!’ To which I replied, ‘I think that’s his job description.’”
Meanwhile, Susana Martinez is one of only two Latinas to make the list. The 53-year-old New Mexico governor was honored by Karl Rove, the senior adviser to President George W. Bush.
“… in 2010, she was elected America’s first Latina governor and New Mexico’s first female governor,” writes Rove. “Though her state usually votes Democratic, that hasn’t stopped this Republican from working with a Democratic legislature to turn a structural deficit into a surplus, pass education reforms to rate each school’s performance, enact comprehensive tax reform and focus on a pro-growth jobs agenda.”
Other Latinos making the list include The Voice’s Christina Aguilera, Chicago pastor Wilfredo De Jesús, Brazilian chef Alex Atala, R&B singer Miguel and the first black president of Brazil’s Supreme Court Joaquim Barbosa.
Click here to see the complete list on honorees, who are divided into the following categories: Titans, Leaders, Artists, Pioneers and Icons.