There were grandiose plans. A full anticorruption effort complete with anticorruption prosecutor, 18 judges to hear corruption cases, and all within one year. Here we are, one year later, and the deadline has come and gone. Lawmakers could not agree on who should be the anticorruption prosecutor. The Senate failed to appoint any of the 18 anticorruption judges. And nearly one-half of the 32 Mexican have not passed any of the local regulations that were to also be part of the effort. Juan Montes, “Mexican Antigraft Efforts Falter,” Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2017, p. A18. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexicos-anticorruption-efforts-stall-1500483099
The backdrop for all of this planned, albeit unexecuted activity, is that the U.S. will be demanding anticorruption provisions as part of the renegotiation of NAFTA. And, the fact that graft costs the Mexican economy $50 billion annually in lost output (according to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness) did provide some motivation.
The movement for change started in 2014 when Presidente Pena Nieto had the embarrassing problem of his wife and finance minister purchasing homes on credit from a government contractor, a contractor with a close relationship with el Presidente. Small wonder that 82% of Mexicans believe the current party in charge is corrupt. No one in it is willing to create, implement, or enforce anticorruption laws. There are 352 graft cases, dating back to 2003, awaiting trial in the Senate, and they are taken in chronological order. Former President Javier Duarte, who left office when state auditors found a one-half billion dollar hole in the country’s coffers in 2015, has a long wait for his trial. And without a prosecutor and judges, well, without trials, the corruption might as well just sally forth.