Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Corruption, Impunity, and Transparency are Well Known Problems in Mexico; But the Elephant in the Room is Often Overlooked

Borderland Beat by DD Republished from el Universal and Mexico News Daily

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.


NEPOTISM






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

39 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. Probably the most accurate description of the essence of Mexican government. Explains a lot. It's what I have observed on a small local scale. It's like a puppet show, the families behind the screen manipulating the characters, but there is no script. The rules are don't bump into each other on the stage, and in reality no one is in control. Like a vehicle careening down the road without a driver.

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    1. Very well explained article and I agree with all you say in your comment expect I respectfully disagree in that there is a script and there is control; and The script and control has been there for generations when booze was smuggled into Texas during prohibition and even before when Chinese were smuggling Sinaloan opium through Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. The 88 (or whatever number it is) families have the firmest of control and they are the real CDS or whatever puppet is paying and acting in line at the time that "the legitimate well respected families of Mexico" dominate.

      It's humorous to see cheerleaders for this cartel or that cartel when the reality is that they are all just puppets and scape goats that are allowed to have their temporary narco stardom until their ego gets too big and the "88 families" determine that the narco puppet has turned into a liability and must go. The Menchos, Tutas, z40s will always go down while the astute Azuls and Mayos survive because they know they don't ultimately control the routes and to keep their role they must abide and be subservient to the Salinas de Gotaris of Mexico.

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  2. BorderlandBeat has corruption too. La jefa is the one who does what she wants and everyone else is a popper.

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    1. This made me laugh, :a Jefe corruption.

      Yes, I rule the "poppers" with an iron fist.

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    2. It is corruption when you are forced to accept that they steal from the public LIC treasury, from health and education services, when they kidnap and disappear you, or when you are forced to accept their version of events that even pick your pocket to enrich thenselves...
      --I don't think chivis has ever taken one half of a penny from you @1:36

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    3. 1:36-was that humor I'm not getting or are you seriously that dilusional? If the latter is the case go get help from a doctor my friend

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    4. I, for one, hail our new overlord: la jefa de Chivis.

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    5. The royal couple of BB, Chivis and I thank you for your generosity, the queen is the boss, no way around that...

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    6. POSTED, CHIVAAA!!! This makes it official, thanks♡♡♡♡♡
      And less I forget, happy mothers day...

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  3. Deberian de pelear la plaza a balazos como los narcos en vez de pasarla de mano en mano. Asi se murieran unos cuantos en el proceso y saldria gente nueva pa mezclarse entre la elite. Esto jamas acabara en Mexico porque la misma gente se deja lavar el cerebro con despensas y promesas.

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  4. It seems that attempting change in the government here is like asking someone to shoot themselves in the head. There is no perceived benefit to change on the part of those who must effect the change.

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  5. Mexico land of NO HOPE n BROKEN DREAMS

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    1. 2:02pm
      There's always hope especially if you go into politics, stop being the little man crying there's no hope

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    2. 4:52pm
      Mexico hope??? Man keep dreaming guy hahaha

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    3. 7:29pm
      If you don't dream you wont get anywhere.

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    4. That is why so many pipe smokers...to dream away from it all...

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    5. BRAVO 2:02 and 7:29. Its YOUR government you guys. Its up to you to take it back.

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    6. 8:13am, tell that to the families of the 43 missing students

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    7. 1:39pm how cute and your room must have a few stuffed animals too

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    8. NOT! The mexican governing narco-mierdocracia is the property of the US corrupt corporate world, please take out your garbage and the weapons YOU furnished them, and the gorillas that support, obey and defend them, including the sovereign impunity the US reserve for the worst mexico has to offer... sell out politicians...

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  6. Mexico lindo y querido si muero lejos, QUE NO ME ENTIERREN A YI!

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  7. Thanks for this. We have the same problem over here in Africa

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    1. I feel for you my worldly friend!
      Let's pray this stops soon

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    2. I know huh "Africa "damn

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  8. Wow DD. This is a must read for everyone. Crash course in MX 101. And comment @ 1:28 hit the nail on the head with the puppet show.

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  9. I'll just leave this right here, that's all I have to say "Together, the family has over 28 years of parliamentary experience".
    May God help all of Mexico who work and study their ass off for a better life.

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  10. Great story one of the best. But Sorry these families do not care about Mexico
    Only$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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  11. I think this is an important article.

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  12. Thanks for the story, DD. I had no idea the nepotism problem is as bad as it is.

    I believe these thieves have decided they no longer wish to share the spoils with the narco organized crime groups, and this is why they have tasked EPN with dismantling these groups from the top down.

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  13. I think the elephant in the room is overlooked because it pays not to look at it;-)

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  14. This shit is like the game of thrones

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  15. Very interesting.thanks for the article

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  16. Sorry for the all caps, but - INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE "EL BRONCO" IS NOW LEADING IN THE NUEVO LEON GOVERNOR'S RACE!!

    Poll published this a.m. in El Norte.

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  17. This is pretty well known by anyone who reads some Mexican history. Mexico is a typical plutocracy of wealthy families, most of them tied to the last revolution. I knew a senator from Chiapas who became governor and though his family was of humble origins, he was tied by blood to a family prominent from the revolution (his grandmother was a very poor Indian in Chiapas). He became quite wealthy with no visible means of support.

    The US under the founding fathers was the same for the first 40 years or so of its history until the caudillo Andrew Jackson won the presidency and upset the order completely. He went about it by destroying the banking system and almost destroying what fragile economy there was, with people begging for a national bank in the end (it is pretty confusing when anyone can form a bank that can print its own currency).

    The US is now a corporatist state, with corporations writing the DOD budget (look at the secretary of defense and his appointed minions and then check the corporations on whose boards they sit) and most other budgets, as well as most laws (Obamacare is healthcare run by insurance corporations who wrote those laws, the banking regulations are written by large banks: all of this has been documented by leaked memos to the White House that read the same as the laws that followed verbatim).

    As Mexico develops, this will likely be the course it takes as well. Corporations trump families, in the long run, but the problem for Mexico is that most of the large corporations are foreign owned, not home grown as in the US.

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  18. This sure sheds a lot of light on why they wont go after corrupt governors. That would be like starting a fight at the country club. You would be tossed on your ass.

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    1. Thanks! Theres more where that came from. :)

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  19. @10:56 - well stated but both the US and Mexico are run by small families and business elites. In Mexico we all know what family owns what company but in USA it is hidden. Under Security and Exchange Commission disclosure laws an entity (person, corporation, LLC, Foundation, etc) has to disclose once the entity has purchased a certain number of shares (ownership) in a publicly traded company. In USA the top families control the major companies by owning shares through hundreds of unique entities such as other corporations, LLC's, Foundations, LPs, endowments, etc. This allows the US business cartel to skirt SEC disclosure requirements but yet control (own) companies while legally remaining hidden. Instead of delivering mordida in suitcases (or buying the president's wife a mansion:) the elite in USA use their hundreds of entities to own big corporations, and then like the narco who doesn't touch the dope or use the phone; they put another layer in between their corporations and the politicians by paying lobbyist who operate in the grey areas of the law to get the laws passed and government funding voted for in bills their attorneys and accountants wrote. Its no more ethical or moral than mordida - but its legal in the USA and that is because unlike in Mexico where we see the corruption, the citizens of USA don't.

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    1. @4:42 well, I see that you see corruption on the US, and I wonder how do you manage to see it?
      Was it Teddy Roosevelt who took a big stick to the trusts because the sanababeech would not stay bought? That a rough rider who was used to go commando to fight his own wars in cuba, no sending other people's children to fight his wars for personal enrichment or corporate welfarism, I think he was "rino" as can be...

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