Obama reaching out to Mexican young people
MEXICO CITY — President Barack Obama and Mexico’s new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, are stepping gingerly to avoid any suggestion of meddling in each other’s most contentious issues.
Instead, Obama is drawing attention to the cultural ties that have linked the two nations and the economic bonds that have begun to take hold more recently.
Obama was to deliver a speech Friday to an audience made up primarily of students, highlighting the role they can play in deciding Mexico’s future and promoting the type of broad exchanges he envisions under a new immigration regime in the United States.
After his speech, Obama was to meet privately with Mexican businessmen, where he would stress the commercial ties between the two countries. Mexico is the second-largest export market for U.S. goods and services.
Later, he was to travel to Costa Rica, where he planned to deliver a blunter message to Central American leaders struggling with weak economies and drug violence.
Obama was to meet with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, then attend a gathering of leaders from the Central American Integration system. The regional network also includes the leaders of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
The U.S. view of the region is that its pervasive violence and security weaknesses are holding back economic growth, and that with fewer Mexicans crossing the border illegally, the rest of the region has become the main source of illegal immigration into the United States.