Friday, February 19, 2010

Scandal of the Week

It's a repeat offender: Procampo, the agricultural subsidy program that earned ridicule in July of last year for its general ineffectiveness, was back in the news this week when it was discovered that relatives of Chapo Guzmán and Secretary of Agriculture Francisco Javier Mayorga were big-time recipients of the Procampo subsidies. As a result of the uproar, the Procampo coordinator has left his post, but Mayorga is staying put, saying there is nothing illegal nor unethical about his relatives receiving around $800,000 in government subsidies. Assuming the relatives' business properly qualified for the money it received, I'd say he's right. Of course, the Procampo official presumably fell on his sword because of the payments to drug traffickers, and you could argue that if he had to, Mayorga should as well, regardless of his brothers. Another stat that emerged out of all this: 30 percent of all active agriculture in Mexico is dedicated to growing illegal crops, according to the Supreme Agricultural Tribunal. Mayorga denies this, however.

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