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How Will An Anti-Corruption Authority Operate In Mexico?

Mexico’s old ruling party, the PRI, is poised to create an anti-corruption authority when incoming president Enrique Peña Nieto takes office in December. I’m waiting with some anticipation to see how such an agency is conceived and how it will compose itself, especially given the context of what’s happening now in the always-fascinating world of Mexican politics.

You see, last week, a fairly high-level arrest was made in Spain. The cousin of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loéra was arrested along with a PRI politician, Rafael Celaya Valenzuela. Celaya was a mainstay figure in Sonora politics. Here he is in a photo he posted to Facebook with Senate PRI leader Emilio Gamboa.

I was also a little surprised to see Manlio Fabio Beltrones leading the charge for an anti-corruption authority. He is the newly appointed leader of the PRI in the lower house now. "It's a demand from society that will, as a priority, have to be a part of the legislative agenda of the parliamentary group of the PRI," he told Reuters last week.


Beltrones is always an interesting man to watch. In the 1990s he was governor of Sonora. Then The New York Times exposed an intelligence dossier that fingered Beltrones as an associate of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the then-leader of the Juárez Cartel. The paper cited DEA intelligence reports that stated Beltrones used his influence to protect Carrillo Fuentes. It was an astonishing allegation that appeared on the front page of the newspaper even as the U.S. was preparing to certify Mexico as a full ally in anti-drug efforts.

Nothing ever came of the intelligence dossier, probably no surprise to readers of this blog. The man went on to become president of the Senate.

It’s entirely possible, of course, that Mexico’s leading party is starting with a clean slate after losing two elections to the conservative PAN. And, to be fair, I don’t know that a politician in a state like Sonora would have any choice but to ally themselves with the country’s powerful drug lords. Pero veremos, mis estimados. Por que, como se dice aqui, la cosa se esta poniendo buena.