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Confronting corruption: can Guadalajara become a model for transparency?

July 27, 2016
Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro says his administration refuses to communicate with criminal gangs.

Guadalajara Mayor Enrique Alfaro says his administration refuses to communicate with criminal gangs.

When María Guadalupe Aguilar reported the disappearance of her 34-year-old son José Luis Araña on the outskirts of Guadalajara, she was surprised that the police asked her to fund the investigation.

“They told me they needed money to search for him, to cover their petrol costs and to pay for intelligence reports,” she says. “Stupidly, I believed everything at first.”

Aguilar, a retired nurse, eventually paid almost 70,000 pesos (£2,860) to several different police officers in the hope they would help locate her son. They made no progress and she eventually had to sell her house to fund her own ongoing investigation.

“This kind of corruption has become very normal,” Aguilar reflects, five years on from her son’s disappearance. “Unfortunately I now have no house, no money and, mostly importantly, I still don’t have my son.”

The government recently shut down a firm contracted to run Guadalajara's parking meters for cheating the city out of 100 million pesos.

The municipal government recently shut down a firm contracted to run Guadalajara’s parking meters for cheating the city out of 100 million pesos.

But having grown all too accustomed to paying the price for corruption, residents of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest metropolis, have begun to push back against this pervasive culture, with political newcomers, civil society and even local technology firms putting forward fresh ideas to create a more transparently run city.

It is hard to overestimate the impact of corruption in Mexico. It affects almost every aspect of governance and development, from policing and political appointments to public works and private construction projects. Global economics experts estimate that corruption accounts for between 2% and 10% of Mexico’s GDP, while Transparency International ranked Mexico a lowly 95th on the list of the world’s least corrupt countries in 2015, alongside the Philippines and Mali…

Click here to read this feature in full at The Guardian.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. old.frt permalink
    July 27, 2016 15:17

    It’s a start–long overdue!

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