The previous week had a positive outcome for the Federal Government, not only because of President López Obrador’s visit to the United States -even described by his opponents as a successful visit-, but also as a result of César Duarte, the Governor of Chihuahua’s capture, and for Emilio Lozoya’s extradition authorization from Spain, who agreed to collaborate with the Mexican justice system in exchange for a sentence reduction. Consequently, it was revealed that Lozoya offered audio and video recordings showing bribe payments for the energy reform’s approval.
The arrest of both individuals is relevant, not only because they will pay for their crimes, but also to help dismantle the old regime with all the political privileges, in which politicians would commit crimes without consequences. Furthermore, their capture is an opportunity to break the virtuous cycle of corruption, which starts with the most visible political figures, but continues with a large number of public servers.
Along with the arrests, it is necessary to implement other measures that will allow these characters to be only an exception and not a rule of the Mexican political system. Stealing should not be an option while occupying a public position, so investigations must be carried out to the last consequences, since, on repeated occasions, we have seen former government officials who in the worst cases have gotten 4 or 5 years behind bars and when they leave they get to enjoy their large fortunes; and in some occasions, their frozen accounts are returned to them with interests, just as it happened with a well-known character during the previous administration.
In this way, the Secretary of the Public Function’s work is essential, because it is their duty to investigate those who get rich overnight, or those who benefit economically from the information obtained during their service. If we really want to see a change, this institution must be empowered in order to improve its performance. Even through the implementation of permanent audits and penalties to prevent anyone from even trying to steel.
It is also necessary to recover the majority of the stolen assets and to allocate them where they are most needed. After the arrest of the former Governor of Chihuahua, it was revealed that during his tenure he acquired more the 20 properties, and that he even had a ranch that was larger in extension than the city of Chihuahua itself. Imagine how many hospitals could be equipped with the necessary equipment to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economic value of a ranch that size.
Consequently, if the majority of the stolen resources is recovered, they could be used to address the main national problems, such as the public health system or the fight against the organized crime and insecurity. The country needs resources, and the truth is that, if we invested all that stolen money, we would not have as many problems.
* Arturo Ávila Anaya, IBN/B Analitycs President and National Security Expert by Harvard (NIS).