In Mexico, there are 300 terms to refer to corruption.
They are compiled in a new book, the “Mexican Corruptionary,” a tongue-in-cheek effort to get Mexicans to own up to their corrupt behaviour, which costs their country’s economy billions of dollars a year and has wrecked social havoc by undermining its institutions. It was put together by Opciona, a civil society group that seeks to improve civility in Mexico under the motto #EmpiezaPorTi or start with you.
Mexicans rank corruption as their second biggest concern after insecurity and crime—which in turn can be linked to corruption via dirty elected officials. (See G, for Góber, short for governor. )
The majority of Mexicans, 89%, believe that abstaining from paying bribes (see under M, for mordida or bite) would help reduce the problem, according to an Opciona survey conducted last month. But it’s a conviction that doesn’t always hold when faced with a hefty fine: 23% respondents “greased the hand” or “got handsome” with an official in the previous month.
It’s a practice that even the head of the anti-corruption Opciona, Alejandro Legorreta, admits being guilty of. “I may not be part of the cartoons in the Mexican Corruptionary because there were few witnesses on that occasion when the officer stopped me months before turning 16, or for other reasons,” he wrote. “Back then it seemed funny, not anymore.”