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Mexico falls in anti-corruption index

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Mexico slipped one place on an index on its ability to fight corruption, due to be released on Wednesday that indicates the Mexican government’s efforts to interfere in legislative and judicial matters have undermined transparency and accountability in the country. have make.

The Corruption Fighting Capability Index (CCC), presented annually by the Council of America and which categorizes 15 Latin American countries according to their effectiveness in fighting corruption, revealed that Mexico is at its bottom from 2019 and this year. side continues. It dropped from 11th to 12th place, just ahead of Guatemala, Bolivia and Venezuela.

The report assured that Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador has criticized independent public institutions such as the judiciary and the National Electoral Institute (INE). He also highlighted that the president has announced that he plans to dismantle the executive secretariat of the national anti-corruption system, “which would stifle institutional efforts to combat corruption.”

On the other hand, according to reports, anti-corruption agencies in Mexico have been used for personal gain or for politically motivated appointments, according to some observers.

“It is the anti-corruption speech (by López Obrador) that is positive. The problem is when this discourse is not translated into the tools, mechanisms and budgets to fight corruption, said Alejandra Soto from Control Risk, Global A consulting firm specializing in risks that produces the index with the Council of America.” This daily speech against other powers, and without debate, in favor of the president’s agenda, translates into reducing democratic counterweights. Is.”

The index, presented for the fourth time, takes into account several variables such as the independence of judicial institutions or the resources available to deal with crimes committed by businessmen or government officials. Countries ranked highest on the index – such as Uruguay and Costa Rica – are considered more likely to prosecute corrupt actors.

The report noted that the armed forces in Mexico, which are not subject to the same scrutiny as civilian agencies, “are increasingly participating in critical infrastructure projects.” He also assured that last year López Obrador increased criticism from civil society organizations and the press amid revelations of alleged conflicts of interest and corruption involving his relatives and associates.

Soto said that 80% of the federal government’s contracts are awarded directly rather than through a bidding, which would make corruption easier to identify.

“In Mexico, some components are being weakened to tackle corruption both institutionally and widely,” Soto said.

On the other hand, the Mexican Congress would debate a presidential proposal to replace the Ministry of Public Administration (SFP), a key institution in the fight against corruption, oversight of public contracts and public spending. According to the report, this will have negative consequences, “as the SFP will conduct its own audits rather than autonomous bodies monitoring public spending.”

Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador are at the top of the index followed by Uruguay and Costa Rica.

The report said Brazil fell to 10th place because, among other things, President Jair Bolsonaro has sought to strengthen control over agencies investigating alleged corruption involving his allies.

Guatemala is another country that continues to decline in the index, due to its treatment of anti-corruption agencies. The report said that the Guatemalan Public Ministry, led by Attorney General Consuelo Poros, “interrupted and fired” officials investigating corruption. In 2021, the United States added Porus to a list of corrupt actors and sanctioned high-level Guatemalan officials for alleged acts of corruption.

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