Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Corruption? Here? In our regime? I'm shocked.

It's interesting that everyone seems to know about "moches," but that no one has been involved with such schemes.

And it's also interesting that all the accused, so far, are associated with PAN, the main rival to the ruling PRI.

Mexico congressmen charge mayors for federal funds
The mayor of the central Mexico city of Celaya thought he was having a private conversation when he told his staff that congressmen were requiring him to inflate a paving contract by 35 percent in exchange for $12.2 million in federal public works money.

Not only that, they demanded he go with the contractor of their choice.

But the conversation was recorded, leaked to the national Reforma newspaper, and its front-page story in January revealed one of the biggest corruption scandals to hit Mexico's Congress. According to mayors who have come forward in recent months, senators and congressmen routinely skim off the top of federal funds they allot to cities, money that can add up to three-quarters of the budget for local jurisdictions…

Over the decades, corruption scandals have tainted presidents, brought down mayors, seen generals jailed and led to charges against untold numbers of police. Just in the last two weeks, the Mexico City leader of the country's ruling party was accused of hiring women for sex and putting them on the party payroll, and federal officials detained Michoacan state's second-highest-ranking political leader to investigate his possible ties to the drug cartel that has terrorized the state.

But Congress has remained largely untouched until now. Mexicans have attributed that less to lawmakers' honesty than the fact that, in a country where inconvenient laws are generally ignored by powerful forces, lawmakers were not considered important enough to bribe.

Now, that perception has changed, leaving Mexicans wondering if there is any institution in the country left untouched by corruption.

Although no mayor has publicly admitted to participating in the payoffs themselves, local media citing anonymous officials with knowledge of the meetings have alleged that at least eight city leaders were solicited for bribes…

President Enrique Pena Nieto, in office for nearly a year and a half, has pledged that his administration will not tolerate the corrupt practices that took place at all levels of government in the past. The moches investigation is the first of his term to focus on elected officials, although most named in the scandal so far belong to the National Action Party, or PAN, the rival party to Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI…

Botello, the head of the Mexican association of mayors, said that four or five mayors had told her about being pressured to participate in the scheme, although she denied having been approached herself, and declined to say who had been…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

Just The Facts! is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that can help you review for next month's exam.


What You Need to Know is a thorough review of comparative government and politics as described in the AP curriculum.


What You Need to Know: Teaching Tools, the original version and v2.0 are available for teachers


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