A Jan. 8 article about recent missteps by a leading Mexican presidential candidate prompted a critical response from one reader. But Jose Suarez of Los Angeles wasn't upset by anecdotes about the candidate's inability to name a book he'd read or to quote the price of tortillas, public blunders that have removed the feeling of inevitability that the candidate would return Mexico's once notoriously autocratic Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to power.
Instead, Suarez questioned The Times' spelling of the candidate's name: Enrique Pena Nieto.
"I noticed you kept calling him Pena Nieto even though his name is Peña Nieto," Suarez wrote. "I cannot understand why a newspaper doesn't respect the spelling of a presidential candidate of a country.
"The 'ñ' is an official part of a major language, and word meaning changes if you don't use it. 'Peña' means a big rock or a place of reunion; 'Pena' means shame. When you report about the meteorological phenomenon of El Niño, you don't call it El Nino. Spanish (Español) should be taken seriously."
Using reader Suarez's standards, this wasn't the only Times article that misspelled Peña Nieto's name. Past reports on Mexico's presidential election — most recently on Dec. 3, 2011, the last article to have mentioned the PRI candidate — used "Pena."