domingo, 8 de enero de 2012

Mexico has its monument to corruption

"Today we have a monument with which all Mexicans can relate," said the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón at the opening of "The trail of Light," which many have given the name " Monument to Corruption. "

Mexico celebrated the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the struggle for independence from Spain in September 2010. For this reason the federal government under President Felipe Calderon ordered a commission of the celebrations to take charge of such a dignified and honorable work. There were organizational problems from the beginning, so that one of the commissioners was removed from office in exposing this reality.

Finally it was the Secretary of Public Education Alonso Lujambio, in charge of chairing the commission of the celebrations of the bicentennial. Although the Mexican federal government in recent decades has made significant progress in the field of education, like primary education coverage level that is very close to universality, there are egregious challenges to the country's development: the design of educational programs that exploit our comparative advantage to the world through the teaching of English and the efficient use of new technologies, the challenge of dropout that occurs mainly in the transition from primary to secondary education, and between others, the achievement problem that has not translated into greater productivity and therefore higher wages. Perhaps the greatest contribution in education by governments emanating from the PAN (National Action Party, right-wing party to which the President Calderon is member) has been the will to implement a universal test education in primary and secondary level in order to know the size of problem. This is the first step in addressing the enormous challenge of education in Mexico, far from pressing the step seems to be that we've stuck in this step several years with the advance in the world. As if work needs to be done in the SEP (Secretary of Public Education), the person who heads this office was responsible for coordinating and organizing efforts to celebrate the bicentennial of Mexico.

The President commissioned the work to the Secretary of Education Alonso Lujambio, emulating the charge that President Porfirio Diaz did 100 years ago Justo Sierra, Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts to take charge of the celebrations of the centenary of independence, although their results would be very different as the work and functions exercised within their respective secretariats.

Mexico celebrated its bicentennial in September 2010. The size of the actual expenditure by the federal government for the celebration and the way in which they served were the subject of condemnation, protest and outrage by a large segment of Mexican society, which to date remains unhappy with the effort made out by the commission of the celebration. Federal government spent a total of 667 million pesos (48,586,830 USD) in the celebrations of September 15, 2010 as reported by Alonso Lujambio in front of the united committees of the Senate (this amount is equivalent to the annual cost of public education for preschoolers 44.263 in Mexico). This amount exceeds 87 million pesos the original budget, which in July 2010 according to the then coordinator of the celebration, José Manuel Villalpando.

Lujambio described to the Senate that the total budget of 2.838 million pesos (USD 206 730 773) included in the trust for the Bicentennial, eight projects accounted for 75% of spending, including the exhibition highlights Mexico 200 years Building the Nation in the National Palace (168 million), projection of sound and light show on the facade of the National Palace (142 million), Mexico's infrastructure exposure, a stroll through the history of the Expo-Guanajuato (93 million) , and a monument on Paseo de la Reforma (one of the most representative and symbolic avenues of Mexico City) with a budgeted cost of 398 million pesos (28,991,842 USD).

What was thought to be the monument would be an arch to commemorate the bicentennial of Mexico and in June 2009, President Felipe Calderon said he would be ready for the September 15, 2010, eventually became a structure of 104 nine feet tall and wide, covered with quartz plates 704 thousand and built in an area of ​​4 000 662 meters square, the "Estela de Luz", delivered 15 months after the celebration that commemorates and at an additional cost of 800 million pesos (58,275,059 USD).

The delay of 15 months in addition alleged irregularities in the recruitment of the work. On December 12, 2011, the Secretariat of Public Function (SFP) announced that deposed and debarred Agustín Castro Benitez, former director of iii-Services for allowing the participation of an individual in the planning and contracting of the work.

The official was disabled for 12 years to hold any public office. Similarly there is a criminal complaint with the Attorney General's Office (PGR) against three officials, as well as an individual who wore as a public servant.

The criticism of the project for the delay and associated irregularities, which have been present since the absence of budgeted monument, were on the rise and represents a topic of discussion in social networks.

In early 2012 the work was completed and determined that its opening would be late January 8, but criticism and calls for demonstrations by organized society via twitter, pressured President Felipe Calderon decision to bring forward the opening of his late work a day earlier. These criticisms are based on the inefficient allocation of the budget for the work and the way in which it was exercised, resulting in increased cost and delay of 15 months after delivery, which represents not only the federal government's inability to complete public works in time, but the gall to present this as a work that represents the bicentennial of Mexico.

100 years ago was Mexico celebrated independence, as was done 200 years now, the difference is that 100 years ago was re-founded the National University (pillar institution for education and economic development of Mexico), opened the column Independence (the Angel of Independence) and now in the bicentenary Mexicans have a monument that represents corruption and backwardness.

Investment in education and construction of landmarks against inefficient spending and corruption-related works: everything has its opportunity cost, unfortunately this generation of Mexicans was not aware of their own.

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