The Challenge of Mexico’s Next President: The Corruption at the Heart of Crime

Enrique Peña Nieto has issued several proposals about battling the plague of narcoterrorism. But he hasn't yet said how he will deal with the a key element of the crisis: the corrupting influence of money

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Enrique Pena Nieto addresses supporters after delivering a victory speech on July 1, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Mexico’s old guard is officially the new guard again. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seven decades with an authoritarian hand, is back after a 12-year hiatus. But can the new face of the party — president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto — deal with a national landscape ravaged by a militarized battle against organized crime, one that has led to comparisons to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Upon election, Peña Nieto stressed that his party’s “old ways” of corruption are just that— old and mistakes that are now in the past. As for the narcotraffickers, he says he will simply not negotiate with criminals. In an essay he wrote for the New York Times and published the day after he claimed victory, he stressed that he plans to expand the federal police by 35,000 officers while consolidating sate and municipal police forces. Peña Nieto also reiterated his plan to establish a national gendarmerie, a militarized force under civilian control, to safeguard the country’s most violent regions. In an interview with PBS Newshour, Peña Nieto also said Mexico should start debating the legalization of some drugs as a way to keep profits out of the hands of organized crime, though he stressed that he is not in favor of legalizing drugs himself. Legislative action, in any case, is likely to be difficult: the Mexican Senate and Congress not only have a reputation as do-nothings, the recent election has left both bodies as divided as ever among an array of political parties.

(READ: How Enrique Peña Nieto Won Himself and His Party the Mexican Presidency)

Fighting crime is one thing. But the president-elect has not specified how he will combat corruption, the stubborn remnant of the PRI’s seven decades of authoritarian rule that is at the heart of the drug lords’ ability to operate in Mexico. “Peña Nieto is certainly not addressing how he is going to control political corruption—a huge problem in Mexico, and one of the two main pillars of crime all over the world,” says Edgardo Buscaglia, a senior law and economics scholar at Columbia University and president of the Mexico-based nonprofit Citizen Action Institute. (The other “pillar” is a dysfunctional justice system, which Mexico also has.) “Mexico has a large number of politicians used to receiving constant flows of money for their campaigns that come from any of the 22 types of economic crimes. This is not being addressed by Peña Nieto in any way.” He should — especially since the U.S. in a recent civil suit accused a high-ranking PRI member, former Tamaulipas state Governor Tomás Yarrington, of laundering drug cartel money. (Yarrington denies the charge.)

Money is at the black heart of a crisis that has seen even subsidiary activities of the drug trade monetized at alarming speed. Outgoing President Felipe Calderón’s aggressive military offensive against organized crime, which started when he took office in 2006, provoked a vicious backlash from Mexico’s proliferating criminal groups. It also led to a kind of metastasis. The crackdown drove up the cost of running drugs and forced the cartels to expand their business model to haul in more cash. The result was lucrative submarkets for kidnapping, extortion, oil theft, and immigrant smuggling.

(READ: Mexico Can Survive a New President)

Kidnapping rates, for example, have tripled since Calderón became president. Forty-nine people are kidnapped every day in Mexico—the highest rate in the world, according to Mexico’s Commission on Human Rights. Kidnappers of migrant workers collected $25 million during a six-month period in 2011, according to the organization, which stresses that figures can be unreliable because an estimated 75% of kidnapping cases go unreported.

With diversification, the Mexican drug cartels take in between $30 billion to $40 billion a year. Today, the Zetas, Mexico’s most violent gang, earn less than half their total revenue from drug trafficking. The brutal cartel, organized by ex-special forces commandos, derives a good deal of its profits not only from kidnapping but also from Mexico’s oil monopoly Pemex by siphoning off more than $1 billion in oil from Pemex storage tanks in the last two years.

Perhaps with an eye to stemming the flow of corrupting cash, Peña Nieto last month named general Oscar Naranjo, former head of the Colombian national police, as his top public security consultant. In Colombia, analysts credit Naranjo with helping to reform Colombia’s police and to freeze the assets of that country’s biggest drug dealers, a tactic that led to the capture of drug capos by making it more difficult for them to bribe officials and meet payments.

(READ: Why Soldiers Make Bad Narco Agents)

Naranjo is in good standing with the United States, which gave Colombia $5 billion in anti-drug aid during the 2000s and has provided helicopters and surveillance aircraft for Mexico to fight its drug wars. Washington is keen to repress the narcotraffickers who, with a massive assist from American drug consumers, have helped make the U.S. the world’s largest market for illegal drugs. Since 2006, the U.S. has funded the $1.6 billion Merida Initiative to support police and judicial reform in Mexico as well as interdiction (although critics say too little of the aid so far has gone to reform). Fixing the court system remains a faraway goal. Of every one hundred crimes in Mexico, only or two ever reach a judicial ruling because of corruption and incompetence.

But observers doubt that Mexico has the same conditons to effect a Colombian-style reduction in violence. Colombia had fallen into a severe crisis before it righted itself: three presidential candidates and more than half of its supreme court were assassinated, in addition to large numbers of top businessmen, before the political elite reached consensus and agreed to control organized crime. The measures resulted in the confiscation of $12 billion from organized crime groups in seven years and the prosecution of 32% of Colombia’s national legislature for corrupt dealings with the drug lords. “It doesn’t matter how many billions of dollars or helicopters the U.S. brings to Mexico,” says Buscaglia. “You will not solve violence in Mexico until the political elite comes to terms with the fact that they have to establish democratic controls. So far, no such political agreement exists.”

MORE: Marisol and the American Dream: One Photographer’s 15-Year Project

10 comments
Aristeo Velarde
Aristeo Velarde

 

Do you even know? More than a thousand videos showing

vote fraud in Mexico. Peña Nieto, the virtual president denies it all! He

simply says, “My opponents set this whole massive thing up, the videos, the

lost ballots, the missingballot-boxes, the Soriana cards (prepaid cars in the

amounts of $100, 500, 1000 pesos), all made up”

 

Media bought, cops bought, priistas (equivalent to US republicans)

bullying anyone trying to vote, cops stopping people from voting, bulling of

people who don’t agree with the results, you get the picture (W. Bush vs All Gore,

Florida like stage in all Mexican states)!

 

See for yourselves, the videos allegedly made by

opponents (some, by trusted media outside México), but Enrique Peña Nieto

insists “all made up”.

 

These are the few videos made for English speakers,

all videos created in just a few days. Pena says: “Actors hired” to make

Enrique Peña (virtual president) look bad? Can someone orchestrate all of it in

a few days, all over Mexican states? You be the judge:

 

1.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

2.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  

 

The videos below are all in Spanish, but you don’ have

to speak Spanish to understand Spanish, just keep this in mind, the first shows

a congresswoman fully identified talking and explaining that the cards were to

incentivize their vote for the PRI. The opponents had already warned the IFE, official

governmental organization which organizes the elections, about it since February

this year :

 

 

3.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

In these other video, the cards shown are the cards (1800,

000); !they exist! Not false as he claims when he speaks in press conferences:

 

4.         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

 

 

5.         Some

of the PRI members are, either very stupid or ignorant; or somebody told them do

whatever it takes to win, you won’t get in trouble; we have everyone in our

pockets. One member of his staff, fully identified, made a video giving away steak,

a stove, or money for votes:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

6.         And this

one shows the places set up under false pretenses such as, free health

checkups, free dental work, etc. You can see not only how they hand over money

(500 pesos bills) for votes, easy to understand, every one fully identified:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

I’d like to hear your comments, after all México is your

neighbor. You should know what they are all about!

 

If you speak Spanish and still don’t believe after

seeing the videos, is evident that you are either a moron or un pendejo

arrastrado. Remember! Thousands of videos have been steadily coming out since,

and before the election started. 

THECHARRONEGRO
THECHARRONEGRO

Atlacomulco PRI Group, candidate of PRI member, they don't have any respect for legal way of governance. They have a lot of histories of corruption and injustice. They are very close for the most powerful mexican cartels. All that guys negotiate with the cartels for money, As the father of Atlacomulco Group (Mr Hank Gonzalez) said: "If you are poor politic, you are a loser politic"

They exploit the mexican nationalism to refuse international interactive in Mexico country, As you Know the monopoly of tortilla Mr Gonzales are very close to the Hank Family. Televisa is the first  powerful network company in spanish, they mede news-commercials. The audience can't know what is a news and which part a commercial. They call in tv argot "infomercials" the politic family pay a lot of money as Peña Nieto do for his publicity and national exposure. (The Guardian news).

The PRI played with the CIA in the Iran-Contras and Mexican  cartels in the 80's. And many of the senators and representatives of the PRI are friends of the cartels heads.

The relationship between Mexico-USA is involve by de CIA and this guys, are not objective in the mexican needs. 

The US can change and help Mexico if the government work to hard the corruption in Mexico as well do in the US.  

Mexico is near to have a massive exodus to USA because the corruption and violence, the new government is a berry bad news for a better relationship. They lie in all terms or topics of the rolls and responsibilities. The US government can't trust in any form or topic with the new PRI or new president of Mexico 

Jillian Mitchell
Jillian Mitchell

What about the corruption at the heart of Mexican politics? Nieto committed serious fraud and did not legally win the election. Why are you not talking about that Time?

Aristeo Velarde
Aristeo Velarde

 

Do you even know? More than a thousand videos showing

vote fraud in Mexico. Peña Nieto, the virtual president denies it all! He

simply says, “My opponents set this whole massive thing up, the videos, the

lost ballots, the missingballot-boxes, the Soriana cards (prepaid cars in the

amounts of $100, 500, 1000 pesos), all made up”

 

Media bought, cops bought, priistas (equivalent to US republicans)

bullying anyone trying to vote, cops stopping people from voting, bulling of

people who don’t agree with the results, you get the picture (W. Bush vs All Gore,

Florida like stage in all Mexican states)!

 

See for yourselves, the videos allegedly made by

opponents (some, by trusted media outside México), but Enrique Peña Nieto

insists “all made up”.

 

These are the few videos made for English speakers,

all videos created in just a few days. Pena says: “Actors hired” to make

Enrique Peña (virtual president) look bad? Can someone orchestrate all of it in

a few days, all over Mexican states? You be the judge:

 

1.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

2.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  

 

The videos below are all in Spanish, but you don’ have

to speak Spanish to understand Spanish, just keep this in mind, the first shows

a congresswoman fully identified talking and explaining that the cards were to

incentivize their vote for the PRI. The opponents had already warned the IFE, official

governmental organization which organizes the elections, about it since February

this year :

 

 

3.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

In these other video, the cards shown are the cards (1800,

000); !they exist! Not false as he claims when he speaks in press conferences:

 

4.         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

 

 

5.         Some

of the PRI members are, either very stupid or ignorant; or somebody told them do

whatever it takes to win, you won’t get in trouble; we have everyone in our

pockets. One member of his staff, fully identified, made a video giving away steak,

a stove, or money for votes:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

6.         And this

one shows the places set up under false pretenses such as, free health

checkups, free dental work, etc. You can see not only how they hand over money

(500 pesos bills) for votes, easy to understand, every one fully identified:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

I’d like to hear your comments, after all México is your

neighbor. You should know what they are all about!

 

If you speak Spanish and still don’t believe after

seeing the videos, is evident that you are either a moron or un pendejo

arrastrado. Remember! Thousands of videos have been steadily coming out since,

and before the election started. 

Vania Acevedo
Vania Acevedo

The author should be more respectful to the mexican people and  the other presidential candidates. Enrique Peña Nieto has not been OFICIALLy  proclaimed as the new president of Mexico. A huge part of the population is against the preliminary election´s results due to the thousand  irregularities which took place before and during the election.

Aristeo Velarde
Aristeo Velarde

 

Do you even know? More than a thousand videos showing

vote fraud in Mexico. Peña Nieto, the virtual president denies it all! He

simply says, “My opponents set this whole massive thing up, the videos, the

lost ballots, the missingballot-boxes, the Soriana cards (prepaid cars in the

amounts of $100, 500, 1000 pesos), all made up”

 

Media bought, cops bought, priistas (equivalent to US republicans)

bullying anyone trying to vote, cops stopping people from voting, bulling of

people who don’t agree with the results, you get the picture (W. Bush vs All Gore,

Florida like stage in all Mexican states)!

 

See for yourselves, the videos allegedly made by

opponents (some, by trusted media outside México), but Enrique Peña Nieto

insists “all made up”.

 

These are the few videos made for English speakers,

all videos created in just a few days. Pena says: “Actors hired” to make

Enrique Peña (virtual president) look bad? Can someone orchestrate all of it in

a few days, all over Mexican states? You be the judge:

 

1.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

2.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  

 

The videos below are all in Spanish, but you don’ have

to speak Spanish to understand Spanish, just keep this in mind, the first shows

a congresswoman fully identified talking and explaining that the cards were to

incentivize their vote for the PRI. The opponents had already warned the IFE, official

governmental organization which organizes the elections, about it since February

this year :

 

 

3.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

In these other video, the cards shown are the cards (1800,

000); !they exist! Not false as he claims when he speaks in press conferences:

 

4.         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

 

 

5.         Some

of the PRI members are, either very stupid or ignorant; or somebody told them do

whatever it takes to win, you won’t get in trouble; we have everyone in our

pockets. One member of his staff, fully identified, made a video giving away steak,

a stove, or money for votes:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

6.         And this

one shows the places set up under false pretenses such as, free health

checkups, free dental work, etc. You can see not only how they hand over money

(500 pesos bills) for votes, easy to understand, every one fully identified:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

I’d like to hear your comments, after all México is your

neighbor. You should know what they are all about!

 

If you speak Spanish and still don’t believe after

seeing the videos, is evident that you are either a moron or un pendejo

arrastrado. Remember! Thousands of videos have been steadily coming out since,

and before the election started. 

DavidA11
DavidA11

NOT OFFICIALLY. The official results will not be disclosed until Sunday. 

Guest
Guest

I believe that our military, businesses, law enforcement community and government are far more corrupt than their counterparts in Mexico, but we're just better at hiding it from the average American Joe The Plumber, so we divide into powerless factions and blame one another while the corruption and manipulation continues.

Wow!!!

Evidently I need a FauxNews-sponsored 'paranoid conservative' bunker also.

Aristeo Velarde
Aristeo Velarde

 

Do you even know? More than a thousand videos showing

vote fraud in Mexico. Peña Nieto, the virtual president denies it all! He

simply says, “My opponents set this whole massive thing up, the videos, the

lost ballots, the missingballot-boxes, the Soriana cards (prepaid cars in the

amounts of $100, 500, 1000 pesos), all made up”

 

Media bought, cops bought, priistas (equivalent to US republicans)

bullying anyone trying to vote, cops stopping people from voting, bulling of

people who don’t agree with the results, you get the picture (W. Bush vs All Gore,

Florida like stage in all Mexican states)!

 

See for yourselves, the videos allegedly made by

opponents (some, by trusted media outside México), but Enrique Peña Nieto

insists “all made up”.

 

These are the few videos made for English speakers,

all videos created in just a few days. Pena says: “Actors hired” to make

Enrique Peña (virtual president) look bad? Can someone orchestrate all of it in

a few days, all over Mexican states? You be the judge:

 

1.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

2.                

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  

 

The videos below are all in Spanish, but you don’ have

to speak Spanish to understand Spanish, just keep this in mind, the first shows

a congresswoman fully identified talking and explaining that the cards were to

incentivize their vote for the PRI. The opponents had already warned the IFE, official

governmental organization which organizes the elections, about it since February

this year :

 

 

3.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

In these other video, the cards shown are the cards (1800,

000); !they exist! Not false as he claims when he speaks in press conferences:

 

4.         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

 

 

5.         Some

of the PRI members are, either very stupid or ignorant; or somebody told them do

whatever it takes to win, you won’t get in trouble; we have everyone in our

pockets. One member of his staff, fully identified, made a video giving away steak,

a stove, or money for votes:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

6.         And this

one shows the places set up under false pretenses such as, free health

checkups, free dental work, etc. You can see not only how they hand over money

(500 pesos bills) for votes, easy to understand, every one fully identified:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

I’d like to hear your comments, after all México is your

neighbor. You should know what they are all about!

 

If you speak Spanish and still don’t believe after

seeing the videos, is evident that you are either a moron or un pendejo

arrastrado. Remember! Thousands of videos have been steadily coming out since,

and before the election started. 

RedGranAK
RedGranAK

Yeah! 

Could be more, but Mexican Politics are not so good in hide evidence amp; People can show and see evidence everywhere... And even the News in Mexico doesn't give an F' for that... neither the "authorities".

A probe of this is all the irregularities post it by people or International News about the recent election... It's like a Joke for the World to be a Mexican, Or like nowadays is known by friends... a "Mexican't"