Corruption is once again the talk of Mexico
A few days ago, I was talking with a Mexican friend about COVID in Mexico. I was trying to find out more information about the cases and deaths in Mexico. He could not answer the question, and it wasn't because he did not want to... He just didn't know, and I can understand that, because no one else really does.
He did say corruption is the reason why doctors treating COVID-19 patients do not have better protective gear.
Corruption is a way of life south of the border, and most people are now realizing that it does more harm than good. It may get you a birth certificate quickly, but it poisons the bureaucracy.
Ioan Grillo, author and journalist, wrote this truth in the New York Times:
Corruption tears at the soul of Mexico, and many here see it as one of the country's leading problems. It's the reason killer cartels flourish, roads have potholes, and doctors treating Covid-19 don't have better protective gear. It also pervades everyday life, with bribes functioning as the grease that keeps the system moving, and in this way it makes a large part of the country complicit. Bureaucrats get cash tips for issuing birth certificates for example, and police pocket cash for turning a blind eye to motorists running red lights. The "angels" at the bottom take bribes, too.
But when the "gods" at the top are rotten it has the most devastating consequences.
Yes, it does. Let me share a simple example. During my time in Mexico, I was the passenger, and a colleague was driving to a business meeting. We were stopped by a policeman. It was a stupid reason, something like the brake light was not working.
The policeman was apologetic but started writing the ticket. My friend laughed and offered money. He looked at the peso bill and said it was not enough. My friend screamed. The policeman said he had to pass some of the bribe up the chain.
We increased the bribe and moved on. As we drove away, my friend said this is like a "pyramid" and everything that's wrong.
President Andrés López-Obrador promised to clean house — his version of draining the swamp. Can he do it? Many people are still hoping he can, but the clock is ticking.