jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

Mexico Politics: A Requiem for Public Control in Mexico (March 14th, 2012. Americas-Mexico Blog)

In the uphill climb that is combating transnational criminal organizations, Mexico faces the need to reform many of its institutions, from the penal system to the banking system, among others. But behind reforms and projects that are aimed at both the drug war and other problems in Mexico, there are political and economic interests jockeying for influence. This opinion piece by Mexico's leading expert on corruption, Irma Erendira Sandoval, outlines an important (and perhaps pernicious) development in how these reforms and projects will come to pass, with a special focus on the omnipotent presence of private business.

La Jornada: By Irma Eréndira Sandoval. "The ominous proposal of the Green Party to privatize jails and prisons has become part of the rentier and predatory logic of public services that has left the national economy in ruin over the last 30 years. The horrible daily reality that is lived in penitentiaries, which was cruelly manifested in the recent prison break and massacre in Apodaca, Nuevo León, isn’t a result of bad public stewardship. Rather, it is the fault of the federal and local governments that have abdicated the administration of these facilities and left them to the control of private actors and powerful factions. It demonstrates that private prisons tend to be more violent and corrupt than public ones and that they are operated with poorly trained personnel with low salaries and a high turnover rate. These factors lead to more abuses of the prisoners’ most basic human rights.

This type of “initiative” has found its utmost expression in the Law of Public-Private Associations (LAPP is its Spanish acronym), signed by Felipe Calderon on January 16th. This law is part of the neoliberal agenda that has governed the country through corrupt and inefficient privatizations— a type of governance that Carlos Salinas used in the 1990s to give power to his friends, monopolize markets, and destroy the competency and competitiveness of the economy. Today the LAPP demonstrates that, beyond any temporary election season disputes, the PRI and PAN have shared an agenda of national mismanagement.

The LAPP constitutes the absolute subordination of the public interest to the directives of financial intermediaries and means the institutionalization of debt, illegality and corruption. The reform establishes long-term contracts (up to 50 years or more) with private national and international companies that...