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raferguson


Mar 9, 2004, 9:57 AM

Post #1 of 36 (3467 views)

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Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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I have not seen any recent discussion on the forum of the recent reports of corruption by the poltical parties in Mexico, so I thought I would bring it up. These have been heavily covered by the media in Mexico and elsewhere.

The head of the Green party (PVEM) was seen on TV soliciting money to facilitate the approval of a development in the Yucatan. The development was under fire as being damaging to the environment. This is kind of like a policeman on the mob payroll, as I see it.

A high official of the PRD government in Mexico City, René Bejarano, took a large amount of cash from a company that does construction for the city. He ran out of room in his suitcase, so he was seen on TV stuffing the extra cash in his pockets! It would be comical if it was not so sad. Investigations show that this company was paid for shoddy work or work that was never done.

I guess it all goes to show how pervasive corruption is in the Mexican political class, not just in the PRI, but the other parties as well. If high officials are taking bribes, it is not surprising that the officials in the middle or at the bottom are also taking bribes.

Interestingly, on the Transparency International scale, Mexico is in the middle in terms of corruption, 64th out of 133 countries, about the same as China or Poland. Nigeria and Bangladesh compete for the most corrupt government in the world, while the Scandanavian governments are the least corrupt.

Transparency International Mexico completed a study in 2003 which concluded, among other things, that Mexican households pay 7% of their income as bribes. If you were better educated or had more money, you were more likely to pay bribes. However, poor families pay almost 30% of their income as bribes! (The poor apparently pay bribes less frequently, but when they do, it is a larger fraction of their income). Corruption was down from the previous survey, with only 8.5% of government transactions including bribes, vs 10.5% in 2001. The highest rates of bribery were associated with parking, towing of vehicles, and traffic stops by police.

Many sources say that corruption has a significant negative impact on a country's economy. One source estimates that up to 15% of the cost of doing business in Mexico is bribes! The same article says that Mexico is losing 8.5 Billion dollars in investment each year due to corruption.

I have a question for the foreign residents of Mexico on the forum. Do you make "unofficial payments" to expedite transactions or resolve problems? I am not asking if you pay "bribes", because some people are reluctant to use the word "bribe" for small paymnets. I am asking whether you pay money to government employees that probably goes into their pockets, money for which you don't get a receipt. Transparency international applies a strict definition of corruption, since a lax attitude towards calling a spade a spade is part of the problem in terms of rooting out corruption. Of course, corruption involves two people, the person who pays and the person who receives.


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com



Rolly


Mar 9, 2004, 10:16 AM

Post #2 of 36 (3450 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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There was a report of a local survey in last Sunday's Torreón newspaper. 29% of respondents thought the Green party PVEM was corrupt. The other major parties -- PAN, PRI, PRD -- were only slightly less suspect at 27% each.

Rolly Pirate


gpk

Mar 9, 2004, 10:56 AM

Post #3 of 36 (3438 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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The government offices I have visited here in Guanajuato generally have signs saying that all services are provided free (excluding fees, etc.) and no payments should be made to employees. There has also been a series of ads in newspapers saying "Corruption starts with you/ends with you" with the words "starts with you" crossed out. I have never paid anyone a bribe nor been asked for one.


PBGollaz

Mar 9, 2004, 1:57 PM

Post #4 of 36 (3401 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Although President Fox is constantly held out as a "do nothing" president, there has been real improvement in the bribery situation since he took office and began speaking frequently about honest government and individual responsibility. As an example, for many years the Mexican Aduana (Customs Service) has had a reputation for rampant corruption. However, during the Fox administration a number of high-level customs officers have been removed from office for corruption (not just transferred, as used to be the case). The U.S. Customs Service, which used to withhold intelligence information from Mexican Customs to avoid having it end up in the hands of smugglers and drug runners, is now openly sharing that information, with the result that the two countries are now cooperating in making excellent seizures of drugs and other contraband on both sides of the border. There have also been several cases in the past year of customs brokers approaching Mexican customs officers with bribes in hand, only to be told, "No! We don't accept bribes." That was unheard of in the past!

Patrick
Zapopan, Jalisco, México


Carol Schmidt


Mar 9, 2004, 2:38 PM

Post #5 of 36 (3391 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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I haven't paid any money for anything like this in the two years I've been in Mexico, though I did give a guy at the border $2 in 1970 to get across when my wasband looked too much like Charlie Manson for his tastes. In fact,a friend of mine tried to bribe a guy with the phone company to get a phone installed last year and he blew up at her attempt and said he'd report HER for attempted bribe.

I think much is being done to improve Mexico in this regard. I saw signs forbidding bribe attempts the last time I crossed the border.

Carol Schmidt


mattw


Mar 9, 2004, 3:36 PM

Post #6 of 36 (3382 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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i crossed with a Mexican citizen friend last year with a truck and trailer load full of used bikes. bicycle parts, and "Johnny G. Spinner " exercise bikes. We had boxes of bicycle parts such as seats, chains, cables, derailleurs, brake shoes, etc... My friend is a businessman- he owns a hotel, restaraunt, and bar. He was setting up a small bicycle shop and spinning salon with my help. Many of the bikes were used. He was trying to tell the Customs Agents that many of the items were for charity- donations for the local youth cycling club, which some of the stuff was. They were not having any of that, they whipped out a big book with the retail prices of all types of consumer goods and counted up every last item, literally going though boxes of hundreds of small parts and levying duties on each small part. My friend haggled with them for hours during this process and they went back and forth contesting the value of thing such as $5 brake shoes. They would say,"Ok ,The book says ten dollars but you say you paid $5, well show me your receipt. Oh, no receipt? Fine, we'll just say $8. " This whole scene went on for over 2 hours and definitely was vigorously contested on both sides but was generally amicable and at no point was there any mention or suggestion of a bribe. My friend even felt the guy out saying , " Hey man, I'm just trying to make a living for my family , do you have a family ?" At which point the guy might say, " Yeah, I got a family and it's tough to make it on ...$$$." And then the reply, " Well let me show a little love for the family of the hard-working man, etc... " The officer wasn't biting on any of that and my friend paid his duties , over $800 US, and we were on our way. While I was trying to follow this exchange, I noticed a large sign that said, " Do not pay bribes, if you are asked to pay a bribe call this toll-free number."
enjoy life, disfrute la vida


Moisheh

Mar 9, 2004, 3:58 PM

Post #7 of 36 (3366 views)

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Re: [mattw] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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I wont go so far as to say that some of you are naive, but...... The border is just as corrupt as ever. It just is a little less transparent. There are thousands of Chuecos or Chocolates (illegal cars) crossing the border at Nogales every month. Some people bring one a week. They all have their favorite aduanero.


Bubba

Mar 9, 2004, 3:59 PM

Post #8 of 36 (3368 views)

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Re: [mattw] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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MattW:

Would you please explain to me what you are trying to say? Do you have any idea how many slime balls try to con these border agents every day? Do you have any idea how often during the work day they have to put up with filthy rich norteanos trying to import stuff into their country improperly. So, you lost two hours. My heart bleeds for you.

Why don't you and Richard get together and see if you can't discredit the entire Mexican nation because you can't import specialized bike parts into Mexico that no normal Mexican can afford but which you intend as "charitable" contributions. Had I been these border agents, you would be a guest of the state. Maybe you can explain how much Mexico suffers from corruption when much of that corruption oozes down from the north.

Bubba


Miguelito


Mar 9, 2004, 6:53 PM

Post #9 of 36 (3321 views)

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No, no, and No

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#1 No bribe to the customs agent

#2 No bribe to the folks at the border where I waited for 3 hours for someone to check my load because I got the "red light" and there were umpteen tractor/trailer rigs in front of me. I offered the contractador who helped me with my stuff $20MP just out of kindness (as a tip, not a mordida) as I was on my way out the exit after finally getting a "green light" and he adamantly refused-a young kid at that; said it was "just his job"!

#3 No bribe at La Migracion on the 3 visits to get registered locally.

Oh, and I forgot, no bribes to anyone at the Consulate or the guy at the border who gave me my sticker for the truck. No bribe to the guy at checkpoint #2 who asked to see the health certificate for my cat.


Los que cantan oran dos veces! (Those who sing pray twice!)


sfmacaws


Mar 9, 2004, 7:39 PM

Post #10 of 36 (3311 views)

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Re: [mikelangford] No, no, and No

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Well, I've never paid a bribe to the police, even when blatently solicited for one as I was a few weeks ago in Tulum. I've never paid a bribe at the border no matter what I was bringing down. But, you got me on the Telmex thing. I did give a Telmex guy 100p to jump my trouble ticket up when I spotted him down the street a couple years ago. It worked, and then my friend saw him at my place and came over and offered to cook him dinner if he would come to her place next. I think she ended up serving effectivo.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




pat

Mar 9, 2004, 7:56 PM

Post #11 of 36 (3301 views)

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Re: [Bubba] BUBBA?????

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Bubba???? Yo BUBBA!!!

Is that really you? Didja serve your time, or did "she who must be obeyed" give you a parole for good behavior? (good behavior, snicker, snicker) NAAAAAA. Mordida, maybe?

PEDRO!! HEY PEDRO!!! Are you out there too? You can come on out now, boy. Looks like the coast is clear. :)

Pat


mattw


Mar 9, 2004, 8:21 PM

Post #12 of 36 (3283 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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What I was saying is that the customs agent my friend dealt with was not crooked, despite my friend's willingness to "grease the wheels." I would not attempt to evade import duties, on the contrary when we build our house we will buy most if not everything in Mexico. I'd be glad if things are getting cleaned up in Mexico since it will be my home soon. A good start would be paying Police and government workers a decent living wage so they don't have to work on "commission."
enjoy life, disfrute la vida


TomG

Mar 9, 2004, 10:18 PM

Post #13 of 36 (3267 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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My, my, you guys are shy!

I've read about this stuff in Mexico travel books….. The traffic cop pulls you over and you bat it around for awhile, he threatens to take you in or write you up, you trump him with, “Good, let’s go see the chief.” He backs off; you exchange “good days” and go your separate ways. You didn’t pay the bribe and he learned a little lesson about true, blue Americans.

I can make this story short and cute (Aren’t these foreign customs cute!). And if you are just passing through these adventures make great stories to tell back home at a party. The price of the adventure is worth it for all the center of attention you might get just telling the story. But I’m going to make the story painfully long so you know what actually happened. That will best communicate the sense of it, and squeeze the cuteness out of it.

Two years ago I was in Mexico for a short trip with a friend. We drove my pickup down, got our Tourist Visas, and I got my Vehicle Permit. On returning I did not turn them in because I had specified that I wanted 180 days on each because I was returning to Mexico with my wife in the coming summer for a month. I would thus save the same cost all over again. Just weeks before the summer started she fell with complications and we summered driving back and forth to Mayo Clinic. An operation was scheduled for September, which was also the date of the expiration of the permits. Knowing there was not a chance I could make a personal trip to the border to turn the stuff in, I called he Mexican Consul for my area. He is a personal acquaintance dating from a year before when we all had dinner together after his trip to my Midwestern town to issue Matricular ID’s. We hit it off, and “I should call him when we wanted our FM3.” So with the pickle I was in I called him and told him the whole thing about the permits and my bad situation. He immediately understood, and expressed kind concern for my wife’s health. He said he had to see the pickup with the sticker on the windshield in order to truthfully verify that the pickup was in the USA and not sold in Mexico. The Consulate is an 8 hour drive one way. Drive down, office time, drive back = 2 days. I didn’t really have that kind of time with her operation and recuperation coming down on me. He immediately said that they were coming to issue Matricular ID’s in a town only 1.5 hours from my town the following Saturday – why didn’t I drive down there and he would help me there. I did. And with a six hour line of his countrymen waiting for ID’s, he took 7 minutes of his time to go out to my pickup, verify its existence, and scrap the sticker off to send in. He took all my paper for the Visa and Vehicle Permit and said he would take care of it. He asked about my wife, asked about my son-in-law, and he asked about my son-in-law’s brother in Chicago. A few weeks late he sent me copies of his letters to the Mexican government to return my Visa and Vehicle Permit.

Nothing happened for a year. Then he forwarded me all my documents with a denial from his government which in essence said that I would have to do this at the border. He was sorry it didn’t work out, but no problem, I could just turn it in at the border when we were moving down. I got the FM3’s and his instructions; I had all his letters of attempt and explanation of my circumstance in a file. I even called the Mexican office in charge of this stuff – no problem.

When I got to Reynosa I was moving throw the lines just fine in the very early morning light. In requesting my new pickup permit, I gave them the whole file and expected it to go as I was told it would go – no problem. I got shuffled to another window, they called back to Immigration office, I got my new truck permit, but I would have to go back to the Immigration office to get the FM3 stamped.

Well, not so fast! The Immigration people can’t stamp our FM3’s due to the $1500 US fine due to the old Vehicle Permit not being turned in on time. But I had papers signed and dated of my attempt and etc. (see above). But no problem, the boss would be coming in about 15 minutes and he could help me – maybe lower the fine. These upright guys certainly didn’t have the jurisdiction to lower the fine – especially with the no bribery sign tacked up right behind them. So I sat around for an hour, nothing happens except an official keeps coming over and talking to me, being helpful, complimenting me on my Spanish (that’s when I should have figured him out), etc. I had my wife’s FM3 as well as mine and I had explained that she is crippled with a nuero-muscular disease (all documented in the FM3 by the Mexican Consul in my area, and accompanied by a letter explaining that she should be allowed to pass with oxygen tanks, and uddles of mobility equipment. That is why she isn’t in the office. Fine. Now she is out in the pickup parked at the curb in the corner a block away near the bridge entrance. I better check that she is OK, doesn’t need anything. It was only going to be 20 minutes. Sure, go ahead. The boss should be in anytime. Back already. Nope, he not in yet. Anytime. An hour later my wife needs her refrigerated medicine – with food. Sure, go ahead. Back again. Nope, still not in. Then the lowly Immigration parking lot guard takes me aside in a fatherly manner and says, “Why don’t you pay the fat man.” (Thinks I, the fat man never asked me for anything. He only commiserates with me about the boss not being in to work yet. The boss is now 2.5 hours late for work.) With a crippled wife sitting curbside on the street, maybe waiting for a traffic cop, refrigerated pills being cooled at the expense of my battery – I know that things could begin to get a lot worse and even fast. My situation was in a downtrend and gaining momentum. So the parking lot guard walks me into the office and middlemans the negotiation with the desk official who is not the boss (not in yet), but who has been making various decisions and having lessers come up to him for signatures and stamps, etc. It’s $1500 US and he can’t lower that, but how much do I have? (Well….I haven’t much time to decide how much I have. How much is it good to have? Not too much. But enough to not insult him [assuming he is insultable]. He is certain to know about credit cards and banks. Well, Ok.) I’ve got 700 pesos….but I need 200 for gas for the trip into Mexico. = $500 pesos (or $50 bucks. What’s he going to do?). The middleman says he says it’s OK. But don’t give it too him. I must put the money in my passport so when I hand him the documents he will know where to find it. I must not tell anyone about this. (We are 8 feet from the no bribe sign.) The middleman wants a tip. I give him 20 pesos. Low station – low bribe. If he want to really get his snout in the trough he’s going to have to go to secondary, or prep school, better yet university. Next……Here’s my documents. Very good. STAMP..STAMP. Much thanks, Mister. That you go well.

I was in a perfect victim situation. They knew from the first minute (I had explained that my wife couldn’t physically get into their office from the pickup because she couldn’t walk…. Documents signed by higher Mexican officials to prove it.). If American psychiatrists had only a small proportion of the people skills of a Mexican vendor or government clerk, they could do an accurate analysis in 2 minutes with nothing more than an orange crate on the street for an office.

Some other time:

A government tourist lady comes to our house one day to see if we want to rent a room to tourist for Semana Santa. Blah, blah……Dorothy asks why the handicapped parking spots near the zocalo are most often filled with cars that don’t have handicapped stickers, and there is always a cop standing right in front of those 3 spots…..every day. She says they sell them, nothing she can do. Bad for tourism? Sure. That’s the way it is. Maybe you can call this complaint number. Me? Have the Tourists’ Office call the police Department? NO. It wouldn’t do any good. It would be better if you did it.

My wife mentions the brand new Jaguar sedan that was parked there the other day without a cripple sticker. Not many cripples jump in and out of Jaguars. That smooth white shirt would be one of the first guys sitting in an expensive restaurant to criticize Americans for not having flowery manners - "la respeta"…..a real cultural watchdog. Some types of culture you are better without.

How about the landlord who had me sign a contract that requires me to pay the rent in cash (he owns a hotel that caters to tourists with prepayment by credit card) so he can avoid the 15% tax - former local politician - patriot. Hell of a manners man.

There are a number of abuses the USA has pressed on Mexico since the 1830’s. But this kind of corruption is not one of them – this is self-abuse. There is a great deal of self-abuse in Mexico, and their opportunity time is running out. Korea didn’t wait; and China didn’t wait, so Mexico is loosing its low wage factories. Now India isn’t waiting, it is doing the more valuable mental work – in unaccented English. Meanwhile in the university here in my state, students in gangs are extorting grades from professors with threats. Good grades are very important toward getting a good position, in order to secure a good future for oneself. Understandable! Does Mexico intend to compete with the Arabs????

I hope the men learn to stop pissing on the toilet seats before it is too late. Poor Mexico!

Opps! Did I forget we got some too…..Enron? Hang em. Not one year, not two years. Hang em……before the infection spreads. It’s a terrible disease that feeds off of vulnerable people. And it is extremely contagious. Let their wives’ cry.

“Rank has it’s privileges”……and extreme responsibilities (somebody forgot to write).


TomG

Mar 10, 2004, 7:19 AM

Post #14 of 36 (3226 views)

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Re: [TomG] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Code
Does Mexico intend to compete with the Arabs????



No terrrorist implication intended:

By this I mean that Mexico stumbled in education to compete with the Korean, Chinese, and Indians. Whose left? By default they may end up competing with Arab countries in class stratification and citizen opportunities; and a load of unexamined cultural customs encouraged by the elite. (You should have seen the look on the doctor's [el Presidente del barrio] face last week when he followed his barrio Calendra down our street by a safe distance. "Aren't they quaint, with their custumbres." Like he was herding sheep.)

Gotta go. There is a dog fight out in the street - 'bout 8 of em.


Bubba

Mar 10, 2004, 10:15 AM

Post #15 of 36 (3191 views)

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Re: [TomG] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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TomG:

Good story. I just posted elsewhere under MC a horror story of my own regarding my recent trip to Texas to sell one of my imported cars. I have been in this gulag and fully understand what you are saying. The amazing thing is that Mexicans can be so relaxed about the law but, once Mexican officials sense your vulnerability, you are in a situation that would make even Kafka cringe.


raferguson


Mar 10, 2004, 11:26 AM

Post #16 of 36 (3172 views)

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Re: [TomG] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Tom's story makes it clear what can happen to you if a Mexican official has you over a barrel. I have a couple of stories myself, from years ago, in one case I paid a bribe, in the other I got off with a handshake and no money.

On my first trip to Mexico, many years ago, I lost my tourist visa. I was called into an office, told that this was a serious offense, but that a $10 US fine would cover it. I got no receipt, I figured out later that it was a bribe. (I was young and naive).

Another time, we had a rental car, and had stopped for breakfast on our way to the airport to go home. We walked out, and they had our rental car, with our luggage and a plane tickets in the trunk, on the wrecker! I ran over, and the towtruck driver was not sympathetic. They were clearing the streets for a race, but we did not see any signs. Then a police sergeant came over, and asked if I had my keys, so I could move my car out of the way of the race. I produced them, and he told the driver to drop the car. He frowned, pushed a button and dropped the car about 2 feet in a second! The sergeant shook our hand, we said muchas gracias, and we were gone, drove directly to the airport. So don't assume just because the official has you over a barrel that you will inevitably be asked for a bribe.

I am glad to hear that some North American residents report no bribery. It may be that North Americans don't expect to pay bribes, so don't offer them. Maybe the officials have learned that North Americans don't readily pay bribes, so they don't ask, a kind of a virtuous circle instead of a vicious circle. I think Mexicans are more accustomed to bribes, so they offer them, or are tuned into the subtle hints for a bribe. These hints may go over the head of foreign residents, until someone explains it to them, as in Tom's case.

Interesting discussion, in any event.


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Carron

Mar 10, 2004, 12:20 PM

Post #17 of 36 (3152 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Yes.


Bubba

Mar 10, 2004, 12:21 PM

Post #18 of 36 (3153 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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I don't think that norteanos miss the bribe hint although a bit of naivete may work since most cops out for lunch money don't want to deal with the bumbling tourist.

The bribe system is both good and bad. If one has, indeed, committed an infraction, then the bribe system has it all over the system in the U.S. or France with their ponderous court systems and point accumulutions which, in the long run, are more expensive and draconian. In France and the U.S. , now, you can lose your license or go to jail for infractions that are not considered serious here. Would you rather pay a corrupt cop the equivalent of $20USD and have the matter settled or go through the court system and accumulate penalty points as would be the case in the U.S.? Would you rather live in a country with an attitude problem that sends people to the pen out of vindictiveness or a country where human weakness is recognized as a universal trait? Would you rather live in a country where lawsuits drive up the cost of everything or in a country where, when a bus runs over you you are considered imprudent?

When I am in Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta, I look both ways before stepping into the street because I know I am on my own! Therefore, I take more care in my actions.

The last time I was in Mexico City with my California plated car, I was pulled over by a crooked Mexico City cop and told that I was guilty of an infraction (driving on the wrong day with our license plates) and would have to pay a $4,000Peso fine. I informed him that it was a national holiday. He said, OK but I failed to give a signal at my last lane change. I told him I was not about to pay him $4,000Pesos. He asked me how much I would pay him. I told him $200Pesos. He said, no, $400Pesos.I said, OK (since we were totally lost) as long as you escort us to the autopista to Queretero. So, for $400Pesos, we got an escort to the autopista with red lights blinking and the whole ceremony.

That's life in Mexico. Where else could you pay a cop $40USD for an official escort out of town. I'll tell you all this. If you had been pulled over in Greenville, Alabama in 1952 with Michigan plates and a Cadillac full of African Americans, you would still be in jail. Don't talk to me about corruption unless you have been there.


alex .

Mar 10, 2004, 5:38 PM

Post #19 of 36 (3105 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Queretaro for me as well

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Even though I really wanted to go to Morelia. I didn't get the escort, rather, the officer drove the vehicle. It wasn't a holiday, I was in the wrong, ni modo.
Alex


Moisheh

Mar 10, 2004, 7:11 PM

Post #20 of 36 (3092 views)

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Re: [TomG] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Interesting stories. BUT Tom G cripple is not a term that is used anymore. Wasn't nice then, isn't now It is akin to other derogatory discriminatory words. I am surprised Jennifer did not blow your post away.


jrice

Mar 10, 2004, 7:43 PM

Post #21 of 36 (3082 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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One interesting thing about the recent scandals is that several of them were -- allegedly -- a very Gringo sort of corruption: selling favors for political contributions. Or using political contributions to get sweetheart deals from the government -- a practice that has a long, sordid history in U.S. parties on both sides of the aisle.


jose

Mar 10, 2004, 11:08 PM

Post #22 of 36 (3060 views)

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Re: [jrice] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Very Interesting topic. The first one of this kind that I have seen on this forum. I would like to give my 2 cents. I am Mexican Imigrant living in California for the past 28 years. Half of my family lives in Mexico and we try to visit them as often as possible. When I was younger, my parents did the annual treck of visiting relatives back home in Mexico. We drove in caravans of 3 or 4 cars mainly because we percieved the trip as dangerous. Intrestingly enough the dangerous part was the government involvement. Aduanas, Military personell and Judiciales and just your local police. People were not perceived to be the problem, it was the people of power, of influence who were the problem. We were hassled and conned into paying bribes to officials because we were taking varios items to Mexico. I remember one incident in particular when I was 8 years old. My brother was months old and had to have special milk. We were planning to stay a month and return but at the Aduana were stopped because we had 2 cartons of this special milk. They accused My parents of trying to sell this milk in Mexico. We had a doctors note and everything but it did not matter. You want the milk you pay $$$. It turned out to have been varios times the cost of the milk. Well my parents argued the Aduaneros threatened to confiscate everything and take my parents to jail. Finally they did arrive at a "settlement". There were many stories like this circulating through the Mexican community about who got to pay high fines. Now 25 years later I say Things have definitely gotten a lot better. Now I am not going to say that corruption has been eliminated. No, no , no. There still is a lot of corruption and it may be still rampant but Slowly, slowly things are working for the better. As an annual traveler to Mexico I can feel it and sense it. Over the last 8 years I have driven to Mexico in my vehicle and have traveled a bit. I have been stopped 3 times. (all legitimately) ran a red light (didn't see it) speeding (did not see a posted sign) and parking in a red zone (didn't look red to me) On all three I opted to pay the infraction on the spot. What I did was probably not correct but at the time was the best choice. I did not want the hassle of paying fines at the Delegacion and sidestepping your trip. You commited the crime and the "law" is offering to ammend your punishemnt by contributing to its cause, whatever that might be. Will corruption change in Mexico? Absolutly! I am a optimist who believes that things will only get better. As soon as the public official start to work for the people and not for themselves. The only problem is that the country is too large and the corruption is too inbeded in society that it will definetly takes years for public perception to change and goverment will have to be accountable for its actions. Maybe thats 3 cents worth?


mkdutch

Mar 11, 2004, 7:34 AM

Post #23 of 36 (3025 views)

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Re: [jose] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Well said, Jose, and really puts the issue into perspective. Change always takes time, and not only in Mexico...=^..^=


TomG

Mar 12, 2004, 9:01 AM

Post #24 of 36 (2963 views)

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Re: [jose] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Very good post, Jose. Your perspective is unique and valuable.

I'd love to hear opinions of both sides of your family (Mexico and USA sides) about the wisdom of you immigration in hindsight.

I spoke to an returned Mexican immigrant in Tlacolula, Oaxaca who raised her family in California and returned to Tlacolula this year after they were all reached adulthood. Her brothers who stayed in Tlacolula now all have big houses and live better than she does here in Mexico. I'm sure this is not the usual pattern.


Moisheh

Mar 12, 2004, 10:11 AM

Post #25 of 36 (2951 views)

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Re: [TomG] Corruption in Mexico - Bribetaking on TV

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Another corruption story. Here in Northern Mexico a lot of ladies go on buying expeditions to Guad, Leon, etc. They take orders from the other villagers for all kinds of clothing, even some electronics. Most travel on chartered buses. The bus has a lady who is in charge. The fare is very reasonable and includes a few nites in a no star hotel. They also have to give the Jefa an extra fee. This goes to pay the mordida to various police officials on the trip. If they dont pay the bribe the police board the bus and open every parcel.
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