Glos­sa­ry of graft lays ba­re Mexi­co’s lexi­con of cor­rup­ti­on

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

MEXI­CO - The word chay­o­te is a term ori­gi­nal­ly from the Na­hu­atl lan­gu­a­ge which de­no­tes a gree­nish edi­ble gourd. In Mexi­co, it al­so means a pay­ment ma­de by a po­li­ti­ci­an to a jour­na­list in ex­chan­ge for fa­vo­ra­ble co­ver­a­ge.

Cha­pulín sig­ni­fies “gras­shop­per” – but can al­so mean a po­li­ti­ci­an who chan­ges par­ty af­fi­li­a­ti­on in search of fi­nan­ci­al be­ne­fit. Gal­lo means “roos­ter” but in a po­li­ti­cal con­text it stands for a po­li­ti­cal fixer or bag­man. So wel­len­tren­ched is cor­rup­ti­on in Mexi­co’s po­li­ti­cal li­fe, that an en­ti­re lexi­con has evol­ved to de­scri­be its in­tri­ca­cies. Now a group of ac­ti­vists has pu­blis­hed a com­pen­di­um of cor­rup­ti­on terms in an ef­fort to high­light the coun­try’s graft pro­blem. Tho­se be­hind the Cor­rup­ci­o­na­rio Mexi­ca­no – or “Mexi­can Cor­rup­ti­o­na­ry” – ar­gue that cur­bing cor­rup­ti­on starts with chan­ging the way cri­mi­nal be­ha­vi­our is de­scri­bed. “One of the ways of de­n­or­ma­li­sing the­se ac­ti­ons is to call them by na­me and put them on pa­per as we’ve do­ne so that pe­o­p­le stop see­ing as nor­mal so­me­thing that isn’t,” says Ale­jan­dro Le­gor­re­ta, an in­ves­tor and pre­si­dent of the NGO Op­ci­o­na. The new glos­sa­ry in­clu­des do­zens of terms for mal­feasan­ce, but al­so a few other terms. “Jus­ti­ce”, for example is de­fi­ned as “a nonexis­tent so­ci­al con­struct in Mexi­co. Pe­ri­od.” “Chay­o­te” – the pay­ment for a shill – is de­scri­bed as “the main sour­ce of nou­rish­ment for the ‘jour­na­lists’ clo­sest to po­wer. Rich in vi­tamins for its au­thors – but full of junk for rea­ders.” An “avi­a­tor” is “a sta­te wor­ker who is main­tai­ned in their po­si­ti­on thanks to their friends­hip or fa­mi­li­al re­la­ti­ons with so­me hea­vy­weight po­li­ti­ci­an … Their work con­sists of ap­pe­a­ring to work, wit­hout ap­pe­a­ring at work.” The Cor­rup­ti­o­na­ry’s pu­bli­ca­ti­on co­mes as Mexi­can so­ci­e­ty shows an in­cre­a­sing in­to­le­ran­ce for wrong­do­ing in its po­li­ti­cal class – a mood which was crystal­li­zed in elec­ti­ons this sum­mer in which vo­ters threw out the in­cum­bent par­ties in eight of the 12 sta­tes elec­ting gover­nors and can­di­da­tes suc­ces­sful­ly cam­paig­ned on pro­mi­ses of thro­wing their pre­de­ces­sors in­to pri­son. One of tho­se for­mer gover­nors, Ja­vier Duar­te, fled Vera­cruz sta­te and is still on the run af­ter being ac­cu­sed to fun­ne­ling mil­li­ons of dol­lars of pu­blic mo­ney in­to shell com­pa­nies.


A wai­tress ser­ves guest at a res­tau­rant in Pa­ris.(Pho­to: Alar­my)

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