July 27 - Mexican president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto faces an uphill battle if he is to make good on campaign promises to lift nearly 15 million Mexicans out of poverty. Sarah Sheffer reports.
A modest dinner is prepared in Oaxaca-- one of Mexico's poorest states-- where many live in extreme poverty. In Mexico, more than 12 million have joined the ranks of the poor during the presidency of outgoing president Felipe Calderon, making poverty a top issue in the country's recent presidential elections. President-elect Enrique Pena Neito has pledged to lift 15 million people out of poverty-- specifically in states like Oaxaca. At a rally there, he pledged that he would not leave the region behind. But Pena Neito faces an uphill battle, especially here in Oaxaca's San Simon Zahuatlan-- a ramshackle settlement where 90 percent of people live on less than 52 US dollars a month-- a government benchmark for extreme poverty. Residents, including mayor Marciano Camarillo, say they're sceptical Pena Nieto will be able to make much of a difference in their lives. Drinking water has to be trucked up the mountain and none had been delivered in over a month according to those who live in the remote rural village. Most rely on subsistence farming for food, and some work for a little over a dollar a day weaving straw hats and sewing soccer balls. Nearly 40 percent of pregnant women are teenagers and 20 percent of babies are born malnourished. Pena Nieto has identified sub-standard education and poor infrastructure as key impediments to progress, but a steep battle is ahead if he wants to make good on his campaign promises. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters