During the Coronavirus pandemic, as the fundamental economic situation for many citizens worldwide has changed drastically for the worse, there has been a renewed interest among good government groups worldwide in ensuring that public servants are not exploiting their positions of power to enrich themselves. In Mexico, President Lopez Obrador made the fight against corruption one of the central tenets of his campaign for the presidency.
And rightfully so, even two years into his term in office, the President continues to express his commitment to root out corruption among those that should be serving the public and holding government positions. But what the Mexican President rightfully called “Mexico’s epidemic” years before getting elected, is now casting a shadow over his own Presidency, as members of his own cabinet are faced with accusations of corruption.
The General Coordinator of Cattle Raising, David Monreal, was the subject of a recent expose by one of Mexico’s most well-regarded broadcasting outlets. In it, the public learned of a failed government loan program that delivered sick cows to farmers in Zacatecas. Producers blamed Monreal for allowing the delivery of stock infested with ticks or sick with brucellosis.
A program that was initially created with the intent to increase the income of Mexico’s impoverished families ended up serving as what seems to be a ruse – with claims of misuse of funding and a consistent series of complaints about the purchase and sale of sick animals. Recently, at a press conference held at the Chamber of Deputies by Rep. Mirna Maldonado, a group of cattle raisers from Oaxaca, a town in Mexico’s impoverished southeast, expressed outrage regarding this alleged misuse. And once again, the name David Monreal emerged within the anger of these farmers, who say they felt deceived.
One of the most important pieces of advice that good government groups provide for citizens who feel deceived by public corruption is to file any charges and complaints within their power on a good-faith basis, against the government officers alleged to have dealy corruptly against their citizens. A few hours after this group of farmers expressed their outrage at the aforementioned press conference, they presented a formal complaint at the Secretariat of the Civil Service against those they allege to be responsible for defrauding them.
Unfortunately for those affected, significant time has passed since the failures of this loan program were made public. But David Monreal, alleged to be the mastermind behind the corruption associated with this program, has not faced any sort of repercussions. Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador even took the important step earlier this year, of instructing his Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development to assess the program due to the irregularities that were found. But unfortunately for the farmers that have borne the brunt of this alleged corruption, no significant advances have been announced since.
For good reason, farmers, citizens, and lawmakers wonder if the fight against corruption that President Lopez Obrador promised will continue as he committed to do during his campaign for the Presidency. Of course, in this case it would mean ensuring members of his own cabinet are not immune from meticulous investigation in an effort to root out any corruption that may exist.
With Mexico’s election in 2021 just around the corner, all eyes remain on the President to see whether he intends to take these courageous steps in the interest of justice.