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Arrests of 2 Former Mexican Governors Fail to Satisfy Anti-Corruption Critics

Jude Webber - The Financial Times
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April 18, 2017
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According to last month's opinion polls, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is not a popular leader (CGTN)

President Enrique Peña Nieto hailed the arrests of two fugitive former governors from Mexico’s ruling party within a week as a “convincing message” about the state’s commitment to fight corruption, which is often seen as a bigger problem for the country than Donald Trump's threatened renegotiation of Nafta.

The detention of Javier Duarte, who is accused of bankrupting the southern state of Veracruz before absconding last year, and of Tomás Yarrington of the northern state of Nuevo León, who enjoyed state-assigned bodyguards for part of his five years on the run from money-laundering and drugs charges, are undeniable advances, analysts say.

But the number of other former senior officials still wanted, and the slow progress in arming a new anti-corruption system with a prosecutor to lead the fight against the country’s endemic graft, suggest a lack of political will to match the rhetoric, critics say.

The contrast with the fight against corruption in Brazil, where dozens of businessmen and senior politicians have been charged with fraud, is also striking.

In addition, the timing of Mexico’s arrests — ahead of a key gubernatorial election in the State of Mexico in June that the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) must win to remain afloat in the July 2018 presidential polls — looks expedient in a country where a corruption scandal over the president’s wife’s house decimated his popularity.

The PRI will be hoping the arrest of two of its own will make it look uncompromising on corruption, a key voter concern. But the manner of Mr Duarte’s detention “gives the impression of some kind of negotiation” that will hamper that task, said Juan Pardinas, head of IMCO, a think-tank.

Read the rest at The Financial Times

Related: Mexicans Are Fed Up with Corrupt, Fugitive Governors Escaping Justice (VICE News)

Related: Mexico Government Corruption: Arrest of Former Governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, Is a Show (Mexico Voices)

Related: Mexico Arrest of Fugitive Ex-Governor Is Result of Politics, Not Ethics (Insight Crime)


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