|Mexican Congress Closed|
DD. Most of the major problems in Mexico stem from corruption of the public officials, impunity, and transparency and they are so inter-related that solving them is extremely difficult.
Corruption gives rise to impunity.
Impunity gives rise to increased crime and violence because the cartels and other criminals do not fear being caught and punished.
Lack of transparency, including freedom of the press and unjust enrichment, allows the government to hide all of the above problems. Politicians accepting bribes, stealing from public funds remain a secret or at the least go unpunished.
But all of those problems could be solved by taking them on one step at a time. Federal laws, with real teeth in them are needed to accomplish each step. The current administration of EPN has with great fanfare attempted to give the impression that this administration is addressing each of the problems above;
**;Corruption – created a special anti-corruption unit in the attorney general’s office and presented to Congress new anti-corruption laws (which it passed).
**Impunity – revamping the judicial system and better vetting of police and law enforcement (and replacement of local police forces with military where necessary)
**Transparency – creating a website showing government contracts and expenditures, requiring a more comprehensive disclosure of assets by public officials (EPN’s financial disclosure when he was elected in 2012 only showed assets he said were from inheritance and one house that he said he paid for in cash before he was elected Governor of the state of Mexico (records show he would have been 16 y.o when he bought it). His wife refused to disclose her assets, which would have included the Casa Blanca which caused such a scandal this past year.)
Critics say these efforts were just theatrics and the laws have no real teeth or enforcement provisions.
Mexico has always had a prohibition against an incumbent public official seeking re-election. That applies to all levels of govt, from Mayor to the Presidency. That prohibition was based on the concept of not allowing any one individual to amass too much power, and was included in the Constitution because of President Diaz who ruled for 30 years (often winning elections with 100% of the vote) and was overthrown in 1910 which started the Mexican Revolution.
That is where the elephant in the room comes into play. The drafting of all laws is done in the Congress. The wording of legislation is in their hands. To amass enough power to affect public policy, however a Congressperson does not have to win re-election. They inherit it.
Just 88 families have held control over 455 federal legislative positions during the last 81 years, a period in which when reelection to the legislature has been prohibited, according to an investigation by El Universal.
The 230 legislators belonging to the 88 families that have dominated Congress since 1934 have passed reforms and formed new parties that have served to extend their stay in office. Many of those families have candidates in the current election, and some already have the seats belonging to their clan assured.
It isn’t personal pledges, popularity or alliances that grant them access to their posts. Their political worth lies in their lineage, the family names, known to the general public, that open the doors of Congress and to greater political power. Among them the Rojo-Lugo, Batres, Vicencio, Sansores, Monreal, Alcaine, Manatou, Martínez, Ortega and Padierna families.
The monopoly of representation enjoyed by the revolutionary families, and their prolonged regional chiefdoms, was previously unified under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Some of that power was quietly transferred to the National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in the 1980s and 1990s, culminating with the PAN’s presidential victory by Vicente Fox over the PRI’s Francisco Labastida Ochoa in 2000.
At the tail end of the subsequent pluralization process, new parties emerged, such as the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) under the Martínez family and the New Alliance (Panal) under the Gordillo family.
In the PRI, the marriage between Javier Rojo Gómez and Isabel Lugo Guerrero in Hidalgo in 1925 led to seven federal legislators holding office for 45 years between 1937 and 2015. In addition, the house of Fabela-Del Mazo-Peña has created four governors and the current president.
The PAN’s powerful Calderón-Zavala family emerges from the marriage of former president Feilpe Calderón and Deputy Margarita Zavala. Both owe their political power to their fathers, former deputies Luis Calderón Vega and Diego Zavala Pérez.
Five members of the Vicencio family, a union between legislators Abel Vicencio Tovar and María Elena Álvarez Bernal, held 18 posts between 1964 and 2006, with more than 57 total years in office
Several families from the PRD, including the Ortega Martínez, Monreal, Batres Guadarrama and González Yañez families have each held office between 10 and 20 years.
The PVEM’s Francisco de Paula Agundis Arias and Verónica Velasco Rodríguez were both deputies and senators, bringing their brothers into the fold. The five have held office for a combined 30 years. Alejandro, Francisco’s brother, is running once more this year.
The Gordillo family dominates Panal. Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, former leader of the National Education Workers’ Syndicate, or SNTE, who is in prison on charges of embezzlement and organized crime allegations, has both a daughter and a grandson in the legislature. Together, the family has over 28 years of parliamentary experience.
|René Ricardo Fujiwara Montelongo, grandson of Elba Esther Gordillo, is congressman for the New Alliance Party. (Photo: ARCHIVE / EL UNIVERSAL )|
DD; A more detailed account of the family trees of these power elite families can be viewed at the el Universal webpage.
It is not surprising that the these less than a hundred families have exerted control or great influence not only in the political arena, but just as importantly in almost every aspect of the economy; banking, banking, finance, media, public utilities, transportation, etc. That is part of the reason for the enormous disparity of wealth and the extremely high poverty rate that exists in the country.
That is why this problem of nepotism, where the members of Congress are only interested in preserving power, and not serving the people, may the hardest problem of all to solve