Mexico's Pena Nieto to launch drive to end hunger

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 18, 2013 4:52 PM
Mexico's Pena Nieto to launch drive to end hunger

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto unveils his plans to eradicate extreme poverty on Monday, a blight affecting more than 10 percent of the population in Latin America's second biggest economy.

Hoping to emulate the recent success of Brazil in lifting millions out of poverty, the 46-year-old Pena Nieto will kick off a "national crusade against hunger" in southern Mexico in Chiapas, one of the states hardest hit.

About half of Mexico's 115 million population is classified as poor, with about 12 million of those living in extreme poverty, many of them in the southern states that are home to a greater concentration of people of indigenous origin.

The drive will encompass 400 of some 2,500 municipalities in Mexico and involve the ministries of social development, agriculture, defense and education among others.

Pena Nieto said last week he aimed to change the "face of marginalization, poverty and social contrasts" in Mexico.

At the outset of his presidential election campaign, Pena Nieto vowed to raise 15 million people out of poverty. Upon taking office in December, he pledged to guarantee families a minimum standard of living in the battle on hunger.

Pena Nieto has cited Brazil's efforts to put an end to poverty as an inspiration for his plans. Under its former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil lifted around 20 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2009.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama; Additional reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)