Bureaucrats and backhanders: The paperwork is dwindling, but bribes persist

December 3, 2012

The Economist, 11/24/2012

Mexico CIty Cathedral Photo by Flickr user worldsurferA Buddhist monk, some neatly dressed Mormon missionaries and a young Guatemalan reading Nietzsche are among those waiting in the offices of the National Institute of Migration for their visas to be issued. Clerks tell visitors to take a seat—a mischievous joke, since there are vastly more people than chairs in the cramped waiting room. The air is thick with boredom and barely stifled rage. Doing business in Mexico can be a frustrating experience, thanks to the country’s affection for trámites, or red tape. Woe betide anyone who seeks a permit without the requisite number of photocopies or a notary’s stamp. Until recently foreigners of both sexes who wanted to live in Mexico had to fill in a form that included questions on their style of moustache (thin, trimmed or bushy?).

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