Mexico City will have a brand new attraction starting on February 5: the "Corruptour" will bring its passengers in an old school bus to ten places in Mexico's capital that are associated with high-profile corruption scandals.
It is a radically different tour than those usually provided by school or tourist buses. But all ten of the sightseeing spots have one thing in common: corruption.
"It is a firm commitment of ours, so that they do not spread fear to the point where we cannot even raise the issue of corruption and discuss it in society," said Miguel Pulido, one of the organizers.
The tour was first launched in 2016 in Monterrey, the capital city of Nuevo León. In Mexico City, the citizen initiative is spearhead by Claudio X. González, Emilio Álvarez Icaza and María Elena Morera, among others.
This article was translated, edited for clarity and length and published with the permission of Animal Político. It does not necessarily represent the views of InSight Crime. See the Spanish original here.
A list of special guests and media representatives were invited to the tour's premiere on January 29 after a picnic in the Chapultepec park.
The guests were brought to the ten emblematic sightseeing points of the tour: President Enrique Peña Nieto's "White House"; the Pillar of Light (Estela de Luz); the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS for its Spanish acronym); the monument for the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa; the Interior Ministry, the Metro Balderas metro station; the Attorney General's Office; Chapultepec Television; and the Senate.
However, due to last-minute "traffic" and "time" constraints, Peña Nieto's "White House" was only discussed and not actually visited.
Positive and Negative
On top of the actual sightseeing, the Corruptour provides historical information on the chosen buildings and a brief overview of the corrupt acts to which they are linked. Everything is narrated by the voice of two fictional characters from Mexico City: Positive and Negative.
Both voices represent the Mexican people's feelings, combining humor and entertainment with facts and official investigations.
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The tour notes that the construction costs of the Estela de Luz tripled, for example, while describing the building as a "sweet cream biscuit" that "isn't very useful." The tour also notes the millions of Mexican pesos that were lost to corruption in the acquisition of pharmaceutical pills by the IMSS. According to a January 2012 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, corruption accounts for 36 percent of the IMSS' costs in that sector.
"Just because corruption is a dramatic, harsh and severe theme doesn't mean we can't address it in a light and entertaining manner," said Miguel Pulido.
"No More Corruption'
The tour's organizers and volunteers not only serve as hosts and guides. After each of the ten locations, they spark debates among the passengers, and even with surprised pedestrians or drivers that stop by to observe the eccentric convertible bus.
"How many of you have been asked by a child or your kids about corruption?and how many of you answered with a knot in your stomach?" asks the guide, who invites the passengers to speak up and interact with one another.
Pedestrians and car drivers are also interrogated. And like the passengers, all agree that corruption is one of the worst evils afflicting the country. When such an answer is given, all the passengers shout as one: "No more corruption, no more corruption."
The last stop is the Senate, located on Reforma and Insurgentes avenues. It is a strategic final stop, as the cost of the legislative headquarters has recently doubled. It is also the moment when the passengers discuss and reflect the most. The purpose of the tour is to come up with possible solutions to prevent and fight against corruption committed by the country's political and economic elites.
*This article was translated, edited for clarity and length and published with the permission of Animal Político. It does not necessarily represent the views of InSight Crime. See the Spanish original here.