Mexico’s Porkycracy

Mexicans are increasingly tired of the cynical way in which the rich and powerful commit all kinds of outrages while the law is incapable of touching a hair on their head

Diego Cruz (in red tee shirt), one of the so-called Porkys released by a judge.
Diego Cruz (in red tee shirt), one of the so-called Porkys released by a judge.

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Italian political thinker Michelangelo Bovero came up with the term “kakistocracy,” meaning the government of the worst, to describe the widespread institutional corruption in Italy in the second half of the 20th century. In recent weeks, Mexico has made its own small contribution to political studies following the umpteenth wave of national indignation: the “porkycracy.”

Some readers may not be familiar with the story of four wealthy young men from the southern Mexican state of Veracruz, who, in January 2015 were accused of raping a 17-year-old girl. After charges were eventually brought against the four, who have been dubbed “Los Porkys,” and things started to look difficult, in 2016, with the blessing of their “aristocratic” families and the indifference of the authorities, the accused fled: three to the United States and one to Spain.

One of the four, Gerardo Rodríguez, was caught and then released after investigations supposedly proved that he did not participate in the alleged sexual assault. Of the other three, Jorge Cotaita remains at large, Enrique Capitaine is now under arrest, while Diego Cruz was arrested in Spain and extradited to Mexico.

Last week, a Veracruz judge, Anuar González Hemadi, decided it was a good idea to release Cruz on the grounds that although he had admitted touching the young woman’s private parts, this had been done, according to the judge, without “lascivious intent.” What other reason would there have been for Cruz to touch the victim’s breasts and to insert his fingers into the minor’s vagina while she was in the young men’s car? The judge’s ruling doesn’t explain this.

The decision further fanned the flames of the already widespread indignation the case has caused in Mexico and has now derailed the routine impunity characters such as the four Porkys would normally have expected to enjoy.

The judge has been accused on social networks of taking bribes or simply of being a misogynist, inept and of having overstepped the bounds of his authority and has now asked to be taken off the case. Worryingly, photographs of him and his family, along with personal details, have been posted online. The judicial authorities in Mexico have launched an investigation and Anuar González Hemadi has been suspended in the meantime.

This has done little to calm the waters because Mexicans are increasingly tired of the cynical ways in which the rich and powerful commit all kinds of outrages and the law is incapable of touching a hair on their head. At the same time, there is any number of people prepared to deny that crime in Mexico is a problem: there are no disappeared, no uprisings, no sexual harassment or rape, and instead, to paraphrase the gem uttered in a different context President Enrique Peña Nieto, “it’s all in the mind.”

This is the so-called Porkycracy: the rule of those beyond the law, the absolute impunity of the powerful. The anger that this causes goes beyond the four young men in Veracruz: it is caused by Antonio Tarín, a replacement national deputy in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who last week sought refuge in the National Assembly to avoid arrest in a corruption investigation into former Chihuahua Governor César Duarte, a key ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto and a member of the PRI, on charges of embezzlement. Duarte is believed to have fled to San Antonio, Texas.

Then there is the case of Javier Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz. He deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most corrupt politician in the world, and went into hiding months ago. And lest we forget, there is Alejandra Barrales, the head of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, who failed to declare a million dollar condo in Miami on her tax return.

These are just a few of the most recent cases of corruption to hit the headlines in Mexico in recent weeks.

Left, right and center, politics and life in Mexico are at the mercy of a legion of professional miscreants: a Porkycracy if ever there was one.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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