Why the Garcia Luna case is symptomatic

By Alex Covarrubias, 9 April 2006. Based on the arms by Juan Gabino. - This W3C-unspecified vector image was created with Inkscape.Mexican Government, Public Domain, Link

Mexico is shocked. Their supreme guardian of morals and fighter against organized crime has turned out to be corrupt. However, the indignation about this cannot be shared.

The former security minister in Mexico has been arrested in the USA. He is accused of having worked closely with the “El Chapo” cartel during his time as minister. He has received several million dollars from the clan for his services of turning a blind eye on the clan’s duties. “The accusation, revealed in New York on Tuesday, and the subsequent arrest of Mr. García Luna in Dallas hours later, surprised Mexico. “It was as if Eliot Ness had been an accomplice of Al Capone”, reports Matilda Coleman for Upnewsinfo.com

The current surprise and outrage is astonishing. After all, it is the nature of corruption that criminals make deals with politicians. Also the special importance of the person is quite usual. Of course, criminals always strive to win particularly influential politicians for their intersts. Likewise, everyone in Mexico has known for months and years that Garcia Luna is most probably involved. The German regional newspaper “Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung” reported in November: “Between 2006 and 2012 Guzmán was said to have had a direct line to security minister Genaro García Luna, to whom he delivered opponents and disgraced cooperators and allegedly paid 56 million dollars in bribes. Foreign secret services and experts on organized crime also saw García Luna always operating on both sides of the law. The idea behind this policy was to strengthen the largest cartel in Mexico and at the same time weaken the others in order to reduce the number of territorial fights.”

If this information reaches even the provinces in Europe, it can be assumed that everyone in Mexico knows about it. The shadow economy is a large branch of the domestic economy with many employees. This is the main problem. If corruption is socially acceptable, the transition from orderly and honest people and evil criminals disappears. For foreign actors and businesses this makes it difficult to interact with Mexican counterparts. From the distance it is even more difficult to differentiate one from the other. This leads more or less to a plain hesitant and pre-judging position against Mexican partners. The old principle “in dubio pro reo” does not apply when it comes to decisions whether to invest or to make business in Mexico, or not. In view of this, the current pretended surprise is hypocritical. But even when there are only minor differences between some Mexican politicians and criminals, there is still a difference between Garcia Luna and El Chapo: for the drug boss, people rallied behind him, even on the streets. They certainly won’t do that for their security minister. That is also a signal.