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After Decades of Impunity, Corruption at a Level of Audacity 'Never Seen in Mexico'

Elisabeth Malkin - The New York Times
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April 20, 2017
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The capture of a fugitive Mexican governor represents a big victory for the country's president, Enrique Pena Nieto (CGTN America)

When the authorities caught up with him at a lakeside hotel in Guatemala this past weekend, Javier Duarte, a fugitive former Mexican governor, went quietly.

Less than a week earlier, the Italian police had surrounded another former Mexican state governor, Tomás Yárrington, as he finished dinner at a restaurant on a Florentine piazza, ending his five years on the run.

At least three other former Mexican state governors are missing, and more than a half-dozen are under investigation or fighting prosecution on corruption charges. Whatever the accusations, the governors in this rogues gallery share at least one trait: All behaved as if they were untouchable.

“The decades of impunity have generated a level of audacity and absurdity that we have never seen in Mexico,” said Max Kaiser, an anticorruption expert at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a research organization.

This excess is more public than ever, pushing Mexicans to a boiling point.

Empowered citizens, transparency laws and a freer media are now exposing the schemes that governors have used to siphon public funds for their private use. But though the scrutiny has produced mounting evidence of misdeeds, the governors have rarely faced justice.

Governors, who like presidents serve one six-year term, control state legislatures, state auditors and state prosecutors — a dominance that gives them the power of a modern potentate.

That leaves it to federal prosecutors to pursue wrongdoing, but the response has been tepid.

Read the rest at The New York Times | Leer en español

Related: Mexico Government Corruption: Javier Duarte and Institutional Ineffectiveness (Mexico Voices)

Related: Javier Duarte and the Freedom to Choose Prison in Guatemala (Prensa Latina)

Related: Mexico Government Corruption: Two Governors Behind Bars Doesn't Equate to Justice (Mexico Voices)


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