Mexico's president was elected for one very good reason: His promise to end a culture of corruption that has long held Mexico back. But two years in, it increasingly looks like he's unwilling or unable to deliver. wsj.com/articles/mexic… via @WSJ
We have a pretty solid body of evidence building up: He has steadfastly ignored the institutional solutions to corruption. Rather than name a strong, independent anti-corruption prosecutor, he named a party hack. Funding cut for transparency agency and elsewhere.
Mexicans self-report that they are being asked more often for bribes. The government is resorting increasingly to directly assigned projects rather than public bidding. Government agencies are increasingly denying requests for transparency.
When high-profile allies of the president are accused of corruption, he has defended them and cleared them of wrongdoing without real probes. His zest for going after graft seems limited to his rivals.
And now he wants to hold a referendum asking Mexicans if they want to try several ex presidents for corruption, as if rule of law should be a Roman circus.
I strongly believe past administrations were very, very corrupt. His diagnosis was right. One can only hope he sees that the solution, as everywhere, lies in creating strong and independent institutions to systematically punish graft, not leave it up to the whims of one man.

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More from @davidluhnow

5 Sep
Short thread about this story below. We heard from a radio report this week that Mexico was running out of death certificates due to Covid (and a bureaucratic screw up). wsj.com/articles/coron…
We confirmed the story. Then we called the Health Ministry and the coronavirus czar @HLGatell for comment on Thursday morning. They said they were working on it, and would get back to us.
We waited to publish until we heard back. Important for us to hear their side of the story. Then, on Friday evening, @HLGatell talks about the issue at his news conference, essentially scooping us and spinning the issue how he wants.
Read 5 tweets
25 Jun
HILO: Muchos en México han escuchado del brote de Covid en La Central de Abasto, el mercado mas grande de America Latina. Pero lo que tal vez no han escuchado es que, en muchos sentidos, es una historia de éxito. Aquí les va el porque... wsj.com/articles/mexic… via @WSJ
En tiempos de pandemia, el mercado podría ser una pesadilla y convertirse en una catástrofe humanitaria. En días pico llegan hasta medio millón de visitantes y se dispersan por todo el Pais, potencialmente dispersando el virus por toda la parte central del país.
Y eso empezó a suceder a finales de Abril. Pero la ciudad y el mercado, trabajando con expertos en epidemiología, intervinieron. La receta: pruebas, aislamiento de positivos, y rastreo de contactos. La prueba es gratis y el resultado en dos días (vs 7 días a nivel federal).
Read 8 tweets
3 Jun
Quisiera compartir algo personal. Y disculpas por adelantado. Mi trabajo (y pasión) consiste en cubrir América Latina para el WSJ. A veces hay gente que responde a nuestras notas duras o comentarios críticos por Twitter diciendo algo como, “¿Por qué no te preocupas por tu país?”
Nunca respondo, porque sé que la gran mayoría de la gente que lee un diario como el WSJ son cosmopolitas y quieren una perspectiva desde afuera de su país o región - una perspectiva idealmente independiente. No siempre lo logramos, pero hacemos un esfuerzo.
También admito que siento que tengo el derecho de a veces criticar esta región porque también es mía - yo nací y crecí en México. Y aunque me vea 100% gringo, parte de mi alma y carácter también es latino, a pesar de mis faltas de gramática que me apenan. Adoro esta región.
Read 10 tweets
8 May
HILO: Hay mas muertes por Covid de los que dice el gobierno Mexicano? Casi seguro que si. Hoy salieron dos notas importantes sobre el tema en la prensa internacional.
@jmontesWSJ reviso 105 actas de defunción en varios registros civiles de la CDMX. Encontró esto: Solo cuatro personas habían muerto oficialmente por Covid, porque se sometieron a prueba. Pero 52 murieron sospechosos de la enfermedad.
A esos no les hicieron prueba, entonces no entran al conteo oficial. Aunque la muestra nuestra es pequeña, sugiere que para cada caso oficial de muerte a Covid, puede haber muchos, muchos más que no están entrando en la cifra oficial - una cifra negra brutal.
Read 6 tweets
8 May
THREAD: Because Mexico takes a year (!) to publish mortality data, @jmontesWSJ pored over death certificates in Mexico City to see if Mexico was undercounting Covid deaths. The short answer: yes. wsj.com/articles/death… via @WSJ
He obtained 105 death certificates filed over two days. Only four had Covid as the official cause of death. 52 more had "suspected Covid" or similar written next to official cause acute respiratory infection. But those aren't counted as official deaths by the gov't.
It's a small sample size, yes, but it suggests that for every official case of Covid death in Mexico, there could be many, many more unaccounted for. Mexico does very little testing, and is missing testing even of some who die. Hard to gauge real extent of pandemic.
Read 4 tweets
17 Apr
THREAD: Mexico’s coronavirus czar @HLGatell told us some surprising things in an interview this week. Among them: He is not convinced the virus is any more lethal than the flu.
wsj.com/articles/senio… via @WSJ
He also said he expected that while two-thirds of Mexicans will eventually catch the virus, just 0.5% will get sick enough in some way to notice. Of the 0.5% who get sick, eight in ten would be mild cases.
His numbers: 0.5% of 127 million are 635,000 sick, some 95,000 will need hospital care, and an additional 32,000 need intensive care -- over the course of the pandemic.
Read 10 tweets

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