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BRIEF

Mexico Govt Funded Pro-Police Soap Opera

MEXICO / 14 JUL 2011 BY PATRICK CORCORAN EN

A controversial soap opera that showed Mexico's law enforcement in a flattering light was paid for by the government security agency, sparking accusations of misuse of public funds.

As El Universal reported, the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), paid roughly $10 million for the 13 episodes of "El Equipo," (The Team), which ran earlier this year. Opposition politicians have threatened an investigation, arguing that the SSP was not authorized to spend such a sum on propaganda.

The Calderon administration has long expressed frustration with the popular image of Mexico as a violence-ridden wreck of a nation, and particularly with the perception of the nation’s police agencies as a cesspool of corruption. TV shows depicting police officers as heroic are exceedingly rare, and the crooked or bumbling cop is much more common.

SSP boss Genaro Garcia Luna, among the most powerful voices in the administration on security issues, has long been a controversial figure. His agency has previously been accused of staging fake kidnapping rescues for television cameras, and he has been the target of much of the popular frustration with Calderon’s security policies.

Even before the latest revelations, "El Equipo" was widely panned both as a political and a dramatic failure, and its ratings were significantly lower than expected.

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