President Barack Obama welcomes Mexico’s president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto this week amid Mexican belief that it is their moment even as their country struggles with drug cartel violence and a continuing negative image in America.

Mexico’s optimism is bolstered by a growing middle class, a stabilizing security situation and the prospects for energy and institutional reforms that leaders believe strengthen the country’s economic, political and hemispheric influence.

“Mexico, in spite of a long season of security and violence stories, is attracting investment,” says Antonio Garza, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico and now in private practice for an American law firm in Mexico City.

via Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico President, Visits U.S. Eager To Leave Country’s Negative Image Behind.