Friday, September 04, 2015

Linea 1 y Linea 2

With all this talk of corruptos and corruptores we need to be keep an eye on some important distinctions. 

If I am head of state and a businessman pays me a backhander in return for an important contract, the private sector side of this deal could be characterised as the corrupter. But if as head of state, I establish a system whereby businessmen of all sorts can get a discount on duties, I become the primary corrupter.

In the first instance the businessman pays a premium to secure a contract and the politician pockets the premium. Only in certain hybrid cases - such as lake Amatitlán - is there a significant social cost to this sort of graft. 

But when the government itself is set up as a scam, the social cost operates on a multiplier as schools want for books, hospitals lack medicines etc.

Of course there are all sorts of criminals in Guatemala, some very well organised and deeply entrenched in the commercial sector. But there is a very significant category distinction between theft and treason, which is reflected in the criminal penalties which apply. 

Otto acted as a traitor. His actions subverted the rule of law, plundered public resources from the state and led, not-so-indirectly, to actual deaths. 

He was not just the hapless mayordomo of the real capos who have now sacrificed him. He was the head of state. To suggest otherwise is to pander to his own self-serving rhetoric about the corruptores around government. 

What hope can anyone have for improving this society if the chief executive is not on board with the project in both thought and action?

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