The Walmart Corruption Scandal: Watershed Moment for Mexico?

Huffington Post, 12/31/2013

CurrencyWhat do children in the final days before Christmas, boyfriends in the first few weeks of a relationship, and bureaucrats undergoing a critical audit have in common? The answer: They all feel the pressure of the watchful eye. In light of the recent Walmart corruption scandal, it is important to realize that developing countries can shield their bureaucracies from corruption’s reach. Monitoring by auditors, the press, or an active citizenry can keep governments honest, but only if those at the top of the political hierarchy demonstrate their political will to fight corruption by holding wrongdoers to account.



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

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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Mexico declares social security agency the king of red tape

The LA Times story features a series of images of the ordeal

Los Angeles Times, 1/9/2009

Mexico stages an unpopularity contest, and its Social Security Institute wins. The point was to search through the government’s benighted bureaucracies to find the most useless process.

The winning entry came from Cecilia Deyanira Velazquez, 34, who complained about the rigors of getting her son’s medication through the Social Security Institute. Velazquez, of Mexico City, said that for four days each month she must stand in line after line to gather the stamps from government clerks required to receive gamma globulin for her 7-year-old son’s immune system disorder. “This tramite goes through eight hands,” Velazquez said during an awards ceremony at Calderon’s residence.

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No stamp of approval for Mexico bureaucrats

Los Angeles Times, 1/2/2009redtape

Mexico is in a league of its own when it comes to red tape. Too often, many Mexicans complain, only bribes seem to get the creaky wheels of government turning.

So it stirred a sense of sweet vengeance when the government of President Felipe Calderon recently offered cash prizes in a contest to identify the country’s “most useless tramite.” An ad campaign depicted a haggard resident, laden with files, standing before a glowering bureaucrat. Venting years of frustration, 20,000 Mexicans poured forth with nominations by Internet, telephone and even the postal system, which enjoys its own place in the nation’s pantheon of inefficient agencies.

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