Mexican business elite speak out against corruption in polite demonstration

The men and women in suits stopped short of calling their presence at the Angel "a protest."
The men and women in suits stopped short of calling their presence at the Angel “a protest.”

By Nathaniel Janowitz / Vice News

The Angel of Independence monument in the heart of Mexico City is often overrun by protesters seeking to highlight the grievances that abound in a country with 50 percent poverty and acute inequality.

The demonstrators who took over the landmark this Thursday came from rather different stock.

Instead of stopping traffic, the men and women in suits walked across the street in groups with the help of a traffic officer. Rather than shouting slogans, they played tranquil elevator music out of a PA system. They didn’t hold signs scrawled with insults in black marker. They did spell out their concern with large gold balloons held by younger staff — also in suits.

The balloons said “MX without corruption.”

“This is the first time that business owners have met up at the Angel of Independence,” said Gustavo de Hoyos Walther, the National President of COPARMEX, a business group that claims to represent more than 30 percent of Mexico’s GDP and nearly 5 million jobs. “We have come to say with one voice that we want to eradicate corruption from Mexico.”

The demonstration came two days after the senate approved a watered down version of an anti-corruption bill that had emerged from an unusual alliance between business owners and usually left-leaning NGOs. The weakened bill is now heading to the lower house for a second reading.

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