Mexico: Criticizing Wasteful Government Spending

The Mexican federal government recently updated information about its expenses and its budgets on their transparency website called the Governmental Transparency and Access to Public Information Portal [es]. Information can be found for activities by many of the country's public institutions including the amount spent, as well as the respective date. Using this public information, many bloggers have identified expenses for questionable recreational activities that have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pesos.

Photo by Edwin Guerra and used under a Creative Commons license

Photo by Edwin Guerra and used under a Creative Commons license

In the blog Taller de Música Popular El Cántaro [es], the article “On what are they spending our tax money?” selects 10 “absurd” expenses with their respective links to the site. For example, the Secretariat of Revenue and Public Credit spent money on a private family function [es] with the Circus Atayde Brothers [es] at a cost of 315,000 pesos (approximately 21,000 dollars)

This article has been very popular in the Mexican blogosphere and was selected to be republished on other sites that attract many more visitors. For example, the article was posted on the group blog Hazme el Chingado Favor [es], where it received nearly 200 comments. The user Mmm (#39) comments on the post:

se supone que el portal de transparencia es precisamente para que se vea en que se gasta la lana, pero no dice que se debe hacer si estas inconforme osea que nomas nos aguantamos? porque no creo que los legisladores esten atentos a que comentamos para cambiarlo porque no nos gusta

It is assumed that the transparency portal will be used to see where the money is being spent, but it does not say what one should do if you are not in agreement with these expenses, but instead we must just put up with it? I don't think that the legislators are aware of what we are saying in order to change it because we don't like it.

On the published list, others on the Hazme blog continue to look for other expenses on the Transparency list (comment #102), such as this by the state-owned Mexican bank:

Que poca madre!, si solo me llevó unos minutos en el sitio para encontrar más pendejadas de mismo tipo, ejemplo: “ADQUISICION DE QUESO HOLANDES TIPO “BABY EDAM”, PARA INTEGRARLO A LA CANASTA NAVIDEÑA DE BANCOMEXT.” $151,200.00

Hay cosas que el dinero no puede comprar… para todo lo demás está.. Bancomext.

Shameless! It only takes a few minutes on the site to find more ridiculous things, for example: “ACQUISITION OF DUTCH “BABY EDAM” CHEESE FOR CHRISTMAS BASKETS FOR BANCOMEXT” $151,200 (pesos)

There are things that money cannot buy… for the rest there is Bancomext.

Another web campaign is using social media tools like blogs and Twitter to raise awareness of wasteful governmental spending. The blog Gasto Inútil [es] (Useless Expenses) has also been collecting examples of questionable expenses within the government. Its Twitter account @gastointuil interacts with other Mexican citizens to identify some of these examples.

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