Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just as suspected

Karla Zabludovsky's editor at The New York Times decided that official corruption is "starting to come to light." But even stodgy old comparative politics textbooks have long commented on corruption in Mexican government and politics. Just coming to light?

Official Corruption in Mexico, Once Rarely Exposed, Is Starting to Come to Light
Andrés Granier Melo
Andrés Granier has a sumptuous wardrobe and lifestyle. He has bragged about owning 400 pairs of shoes, 300 suits and 1,000 shirts, collected from luxury stores in New York and Los Angeles. His purchases barely fit in his several properties, scattered throughout Mexico and abroad…

But his job title, until December, was governor of a midsize southeastern Mexican state, a position that currently pays about $92,000 a year after taxes…

Mr. Granier’s successor discovered that about $190 million in state funds was unaccounted for… in a country where state and local corruption, a serious drag on Mexico’s development, run deep and are rarely exposed.

Watchdog groups are gaining strength, opposition parties are challenging and exposing the faults of the status quo, and social and traditional news media organizations are increasingly seeking to hold officials accountable…

During the uninterrupted 71-year rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, governors, who often secured their appointments based on friendly ties with the autocratic presidents, were almost expected to pillage state treasuries…

But with governors from opposing political parties succeeding one another and doing away with the unspoken pact of the PRI years, in which incoming leaders protected departing ones, a system of checks and balances… is emerging…

Inroads in transparency, however, have yet to change the culture and mentality of “El que no tranza, no avanza,” or “He who does not cheat, does not get ahead,” a popular motto here. And these victories have yet to transform the country’s image abroad: Mexico fell in Transparency International’s corruption perception index to 105th place in 2012 from 57th in 2002, with a lower ranking indicating that the country is seen as more corrupt…

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