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Mexico: Corruption In The US Essay

Corruption in Mexico has permeated several segments of society – political, economic, and social – and has seriously affected the country’s legitimacy, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. The emphasis of this case study will focus on the violence and corruption of Mexico and how it affects political participation. The never-ending corruption, in essence is all circular: the corruption effects participation which in turn creates more violence. However, political participation is necessary to overcome such violence.

How did Mexico become such a weak state? We can start with the Mexican Revolution, it began in 1910, and its purpose was to end dictatorship in Mexico and establish a constitutional republic. The dictatorship was oppressive and the only way to defeat it was to start a war. The violence that continues today was started all those years ago. A new legal framework was established in the Constitution of 1917, which reversed the principle established under Porfirio Diaz. Usually post-revolution is marked by peace; however, the state was unstable.

This is where the (PRI) Partido Revolucionario Institucional takes advantage and takes it upon itself to take power. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) maintained power for 71 years by establishing patronage networks and relying on personal measures. Mexico functioned as a oneparty state with no real political participation. The people in power took/gave bribes and overlooked crime (or committed it themselves) to stay in power. How did this happen? According to the Huffington Post there are 3 main causes behind Mexico’s crisis of corruption and impunity.

The basis behind the article’s argument is the Mexico itself is a weak state (Lomnitz,2014). Economically Mexico is far behind the US, its instability lead it to be easily taken over. Reason number 1 is the informal economy: “between one and two-thirds of Mexico’s population today relies on economic practices that are tolerated, but outside of the law” (Lomnitz, 2014). These generally involve minor infractions, but “informal economies can only be regulated with petty corruption — by police who get bribed to look the other way while controlling the overall volume and flow of operations” (Lomnitz, 2014).

Reason number 2 is no accountability without taxation: Mexico’s tax base has relied disproportionately on the state-owned oil company, Pemex, for its revenue; “such a narrow tax base fosters low levels of accountability” (Lomnitz, 2014). Lastly reason number 3 is drug and gun control policies: this according to the article is the most “destructive factor that must be accounted for to complete the picture: Mexico’s quagmire of impunity has been deeply affected by American drug and gun control policies” (Lomnitz, 2014).

The article ties the US’ need for drugs and guns and Mexico being able to provide it cheaply, this created the drug ring. The now reigning drug war brought by the cartels. The article states that “there is a deep history behind Mexico’s current horrors of crime and impunity that only Mexicans can deal with, but U. S. drug and gun policies are also responsible” (Lomnitz, 2014). Going back to the root of the corruption, is the reign of the PRI. In terms of power, it was second only to the president, who also serves as the party’s effective chief. Until the early 1980s, the PRI’s position in the Mexican political system was hegemonic, with opposition parties posing little or no threat to its power base or its near monopoly of public office” (Mexico – Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI was founded by Calles in 1929 as the National Revolutionary Party (Partido Nacional Revolucionario–PNR), a loose confederation of local political bosses and military strongmen grouped together with labor unions, peasant organizations, and regional political parties.

In its early years, it served primarily as a means of organizing and containing the political competition among the leaders of the various revolutionary factions. Calles, operating through the party organization, was able to undermine much of the strength of peasant and labor organizations that affiliated with the party and to weaken the regional military commanders who had operated with great autonomy throughout the 1920s. By 1934 Calles was in control of Mexican politics and government, even after he left the presidency, largely through his manipulation of the PNR.

This situation changed during the mid-1980s, as opposition parties of the left and right began to seriously challenge PRI candidates for local, state, and national-level offices (Mexico – Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)). The PRI and its predecessors engineered an unprecedented political peace. The “overt political intervention by the military that had characterized the country’s politics throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries largely disappeared when Avila Camacho, the last president who came from a military background, left office in 1946” (Mexico – Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)).

For nearly five decades, there were few episodes of large-scale organized violence and no revolutionary movements that enjoyed widespread support. Despite considerable economic strains between 1968 and 1975 and a difficult period of economic austerity beginning in 1982; this was when “opposition parties of the left and right began to seriously challenge PRI candidates for local, state, and nationallevel offices”, even though there had been stability the was still no public voice (Mexico – Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)).

This is when the serious political participation came into play. The successful transition into democracy lead to massive instability that paved the way for drug lords and the people of Mexico to try and fight back. This following study follows why ordinary citizens do not actively try to fight back: The Criminal Community of Victims and Perpetrators: Cognitive Foundations of Citizen Detachment from Organized Violence in Mexico. “Mexico has experienced an epidemic of organized societal violence known as the drug war that, to date, has caused well ver 100,000 casualties” (Schedler, 2016). Most of this violence has been consigned to oblivion, without proper investigation or prosecution. Victims have been organizing and protesting, yet ordinary citizens have remained quiet because they are afraid. The study is broken up into sections each with the purpose of trying to examine the “logic of political solidarity in epidemics of organized criminal violence that reveal structural failures of both public security and public justice” (Schedler, 2016).

The first section analyzes why people/ordinary citizens do not try to voice their outrage. Some of the main reason is that voice what is wrong can be difficult, it presents too many questions. Why is the corruption wrong, why fix it, how do you fix it, how is it anyone’s business what the government is doing? Schedler sums this section up with the triangle of violence. There are multiple dimensions in analyzing the causes of drug violence and trade. I will focus on the political economy framework for drug violence.

To understand the interaction between the drugs and states, you must first understand that it is more than just business and money. It is to create fear and establish authority. A case done by Angelica Duran-Martinez, To Kill and Tell? State Power, Criminal Competition, and Drug Violence, looks a precisely this. There is balance between state authority and the driving force that is the cartel. There is a need and a market to provide illicit drugs. Her logic is that “in illegal markets, criminals may use violence to solve disputes given the absence of legal mediation.

Violence can also signal toughness: the more violent an organization, the less likely that competitors will try to overpower it or that members of the organization will cheat or defraud. The more visible violence is, the more likely that the toughness and power of the organization will be communicated to the public, which is to the criminals’ advantage. Yet, violence also has drawbacks, such as scaring away nonviolent partners and, especially, attracting police attention”, unless you have the majority of the police force either working for you or are bribed to look the other way Duran-Martinez, 2015). The people and the state are aware of what is going on which leads to the next point of transparency or lack thereof. In both the media there is a lack of transparency, which is why some people would rather not touch the cartels.

Why mess with the one thing the tells the truth (although horrible)? The media can only report so much, there is a lack of free speech. The government itself is partially corrupt. With all of the drug violence at the forefront of the media, the government itself is getting away with lots. Governors from opposing political parties succeeding one another and doing away with the unspoken pact of the PRI years, in which incoming leaders protected departing ones, a system of checks and balances — some have called it political retribution — is emerging. Freedom of information laws, recent legislative overhauls demanding more accountability from state governments and an increasingly technologically engaged society have been more successful at preventing murky finances from going unquestioned” (Zabludovsky, 2013).

Hundreds of thousands of dollars all unaccounted for and not a single eye-brow raised. Inroads in transparency, however, have yet to change the culture and mentality of “El que no tranza, no avanza,” or “He who does not cheat, does not get ahead,” a popular motto here (Zabludovsky, 2013). “And these victories have yet to transform the country’s image abroad: Mexico fell in Transparency International’s corruption perception index to 105th place in 2012 from 57th in 2002, with a lower ranking indicating that the country is seen as more corrupt”. We still don’t have accountability,” said Mr. Cancino, the political analyst, who warned that progress in transparency practices at the federal level would slowly make their way down to the local and state levels. “There are still 32 battles that we have to wage,” he said, referring to Mexico’s 31 states and one federal district (Zabludovsky, 2013). There are many major issues that hold Mexico back from being a major economy and a real-world player. How can a state be successful if there is no trust?

There is no transparency, no beneficial political participation, no real stability. The cartels and violence have a hold on the economy and on the weak state. The only way to overcome that is to try to overcome what is presented. Create a stable economy by changing the taxation platform to something with a higher intake. Clean out the political system, get rid of the corruption. Ask for help from other states. The process will be difficult, but if the citizens know they can be backed up by their state, they will be more apt to fight against the drugs, corruption, and violence.

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