Fighting on All Fronts

Apr 1, 2002

As Secretary of Mexico?s Ministry of Comptrollership and Administrative Development, Francisco Barrio Terrazas is the country?s anti-corruption czar. His job, and that of his office, is to stamp out deep-rooted government corruption and promote financial transparency and accountability in all public institutions. Here Barrio describes Mexico?s multi-pronged attack on dishonesty and fraud in government, and acknowledges that a prolonged and relentless effort is necessary to alter the course of decades of corruption.

For many years Mexico has had a problem of corruption in its government, which has permeated all areas of life. Deficient accountability standards, limitations in our justice system and the lack of a transparent legal culture opened the door to corruption and affected the very development of the country. There has been a dramatic decrease in long-term direct investments, both foreign and domestic, and lost opportunities to create jobs and to make our economy grow. Corruption and the discretionary application of laws facilitate tax evasion and the growth of black-market commerce by which the country loses resources and the capacity to adequately address the needs of the people. Corruption promotes impunity and limits the capacity of the government to combat it, creating a vicious cycle that must be broken. We all pay the costs of corruption, but the poor are especially affected when their health and education needs...

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