Wanted: Transparency in Mexico and Argentina

There are two stories dominating Latin America newspapers these days.  From Mexico City to Buenos Aires, these two stories are consuming interest like nothing I've seen before.

Down in Argentina, the death of Alberto Nisman has become a major scandal for President Cristina Fernandez.  Mr. Nisman was due to speak to the Congress on Monday and shot dead the Sunday before.

Down in Mexico, the disappearance of 43 students has many Mexicans up in arms.  The anger is also rooted on the fears that the cartels have way too much influence over politicians and the law.

What do these two very different cases have in common?

The answer is a lack of transparency in how the two stories have been communicated or explained to the citizens.

In Mexico, the attorney general is facing more and more questions as to how the bodies were disposed of, as explained by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz:

Indeed, the students’ parents reject the government’s theory, and are accusing the government of trying to close the investigation.

The case has generated a great deal of controversy, as there are contradictory statements from witnesses, but lack of definitive forensic evidence.

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto declared yesterday, “I’m convinced that we should not remain trapped in this instant, this moment in Mexico’s history, of sorrow, of tragedy and pain. We just can’t dwell here,” which of course is very convenient for him.

For people like myself, the Iguala case shows Mexico as a failed state when it comes to justice and the rule of law – not a country one wants to maintain an open border with.

Down in Argentina, the Fernandez government is fighting allegations that the Iran connection to the 1994 terrorist attack is being covered up, as Andres Oppenheimer posted a day ago:

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman made headlines before his mysterious death last weekend by accusing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of trying to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, but there was another — more important — leader who was at the center of the deceased prosecutor’s probe: Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani.

In several telephone conversations and e-mail exchanges I had with Nisman over the past three years, the prosecutor told me that Rouhani was among the top Iranian officials who had “participated in the decision” to bomb the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The attack left 85 dead and 300 wounded, and was the biggest terrorist bombing in the Western hemisphere before 9/11.

Again, these two incidents point out the importance of transparency and credibility.  Both governments insulted the public's intelligence with quick explanations, such as "suicide" in the case of Mr. Nisman. 

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