Rash of scandals forces Mexico to change tack on corruption

Enrique Peña Nieto is facing a public backlash to a problem he once said was a “cultural phenomenon.”
Enrique Peña Nieto is facing a public backlash to a problem he once said was a “cultural phenomenon.”

By Jude Webber / Financial Times

“It’s always difficult to deal with government,” complains an insurance broker in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey. “Someone always tries to ask you for a bribe.”

Corruption, once dismissed by President Enrique Peña Nieto as simply a cultural phenomenon, has become so commonplace in Mexico that business people are blasé.

One describes making routine political campaign contributions that are far beyond what is allowed: “Everyone has to. It’s expected.”

He adds: “I’ve lost count of the number of times that state officials have come to our plant demanding permits for procedures that we already have permits for. All they want is a bribe, which we don’t pay, because I know the governor. But not every Mexican business has the access that I do.”

While greasing the ever squeaky wheels of Mexican bureaucracy has long been viewed as just the way things work in the country, public patience has snapped in recent months.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e6c326c4-f039-11e4-aee0-00144feab7de.html#axzz3ZMbcQzhP

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