Mexican Bishops Lament Corruption in Politics

Episcopate Leader Warns That Voters Might Skip Elections

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MEXICO CITY, MARCH 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Mexican bishops' conference has warned about the risk of non-participation in this year's elections because of widely publicized corruption scandals.



Political leaders have been taped and shown on television receiving money from an Argentine businessman -- Carlos Ahumada Kurtz, now a fugitive from justice -- or planning deals with federal lands in the tourist region of Cancun.

Bishop José Guadalupe Martín Rábago, president of the episcopate, said: "We don't desire it, but we can fear that, in fact, in the face of all this spectacle of corruption there will be generalized non-participation which would be akin to disenchantment with democracy."

"It would be sad, because we should not go back on what we have already achieved in the realm of democracy, but must foster it and move toward even higher goals," the Leon bishop said.

The Party of Democratic Revolution, in particular, has defended itself against accusations of corruption, saying that it is a plot directed against it by the right, by the Mexican and U.S. leadership, and former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, among others.

Consequently, Bishop Martín Rábago appealed to corrupt politicians not to accuse others of their own guilt.

"Let us not mourn as politicians, as intellectuals, as teachers or bureaucrats what we were unable to defend as citizens," he said. "That is our tragedy, always trying to look for solutions to the problem of corruption and morality outside ourselves, and not beginning by the most difficult part, which is oneself."

For his part, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, appealed for an investigation of the problem of political corruption that afflicts the country and warned that new laws are useless to address this phenomenon, which has been undermining Mexico for years.

"Something more is needed than a change of laws, something more is needed than simply the force to change," Archbishop Rivera Carrera said in a press conference. "Evil is very often within the heart, and it is from there that social evils spring."