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Mexico Violence Turns Eyes, Tweets On President's U.S. Visit

A woman shouts slogans before riot police on guard outside of the Los Pinos Presidential palace during a protest to demand the appearance of missing students in Guerrero state since last September 26, in Mexico City on December 31, 2014. Parents, relatives and peers of the missing students participated, asking Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto the whereabouts of their children. AFP PHOTO/YURI CORTEZYURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty ImagesYURI CORTEZ / AFP - Getty Images

Mexico news and politics often takes a back seat in American media to the strife and wars of the Middle East. But protests in Mexico against violence and corruption have put Tuesday's visit of Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto with President Barack Obama on the radar for many in the U.S.

Peña Nieto, was elected to a six-year term, that began in 2012, the same year Obama was re-elected to a second four-year term. Peña Nieto’s election put the PRI, the Instituional Revolutionary Party, back in charge of Mexico. The party had governed Mexico for 71 years, until voters opted for an opposition candidate from the PAN, National Action Party, in two prior presidential elections. Peña Nieto can't run for re-election.

He comes to Washington under fire at home for continuing vicious drug violence and corruption, most recently the grisly deaths of 43 student teachers in which the local city mayor and police forces have been implicated. Mexico watchers are weighing in on a range of issues the country faces. Meanwhile, oil prices are plunging and Peña Nieto's support is crumbling.

Peña Nieto preceded his visit with a speech Sunday on his priorities for 2015, parts of which were being highlighted by tweeters:

Mexico’s former Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the administration of former President Vicente Fox, a member of the PAN, didn’t mince words in his tweet linking to an op-ed with his view of Mexico's troubles.

Others tweeted out calls for support for planned protests, to draw attention to the deaths of the 43 students.

Human Rights Watch called on Obama to use the opportunity to enforce human rights protections:

Antonio Garza, the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico in the George W. Bush administration, expressed skepticism about the Peña Nieto agenda:

_ Suzanne Gamboa