Wednesday, February 6, 2013

México: Institutionalized Corruption, A Challenging Concept for Many Foreigners

According to EFE, two police officers were recently arrested in Naucalpan, a city in the central state of México, which surrounds the Federal District (DF), and forms part of the wider Mexico City metropolitan area, for allegedly renting their patrol cars, uniforms and firearms to civilians who subsequently staged robberies in the area.

“In México, corruption, defined as "the use of public resources for private gain, has wide social acceptance and the police are also a product of this society,” according to Institute for Safety and Democracy director Ernesto López Portillo.

To translate this sociological problem in terms that are easier to process, the non-governmental Transparencia Mexicana organization estimates that more than 200 million acts of corruption occurred each year in México, with a value of more than 30 billion pesos (about US$2.35 billion).

COMMENT: Whether in pesos or dollars, 30 billion pesos is very serious money, yet most Mexicans and expats have learned to look at it as a normal part of living in Mexican society.

For short-term travelers, Mexican police should be avoided at all costs. Being in full compliance with Mexican law is a "must" at all times.

Although most corruption is noticed most visibly in municipal law enforcement, the reality is that official corruption in México functions at all levels of  government, but is particularly noticeable in the police system, in immigration and in the customs service, where "prompt" government service almost always has a cost.