“The Cloud” vs Mexican Corruption

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Digital economy is literally how we use the internet, globalization and connectivity to boost the exchange of goods and services worldwide. The gate to accomplish this came in the shape (or not really) of “The Cloud”. This imaginary universe where several online tools are available pretty much “on demand”, helps organizations to focus on their core business instead of investing on high cost IT infrastructure.

As my always reliable source says (aye, Wikipedia BRO!), The Cloud has its advantages: high-computing power, cheap cost of services, high performance, scalability, accessibility as well as availability. Therefore, it makes sense that governments shall use this to improve their finances, accounting services, budget planning, projects development and general management. Right?

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It makes sense, however, underdeveloped countries see The Cloud as “risky” and “unreliable” for matters that should (as they say) be managed under internal scrutiny. Arguing that confidential information shouldn’t be put on a “hackeable” platform, countries such as Mexico pretty much underline their biggest fears: transparency and accountability.

According to http://www.transparency.org/, Mexico is ranked 95 out of 168 countries in terms of Corruption Perception, where it scores 35/100 in its Corruption Index (Scores range from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)). As well, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention claims that Mexico does very little to enforce or combat bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

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Javier Duarte, still governor of Veracruz, allegedly committed fraud for MX 60 million in misappropriation of public funds

In terms of controlling corruption, Transparency International published that Mexico ranked bellow average (with a -0.35%, where point estimates range from about -2.5 to 2.5. Higher values correspond to better governance outcomes), meaning that the extent to which public power is exercise for private gain is high.

If Mexico were to adopt the trends that digital economy brings, the availability of public information, budget and infrastructure expenses (as well as public officials salaries and benefits) through The Cloud will clearly reduce Mexico’s perception of being a very corrupt country.

Don’t forget that other technologies such as Data Mining, Mobile Applications and Forensic Tools are helping the international community to fight corruption. To simplify this let me quote a paragraph from a fantastic article written by Lauren Silveira (Weforum, April 18th of 2016):

“Technology is being used to create transparency across organizations by increasing automation, accuracy and frequency across processes. International organizations are at the forefront of this revolution developing innovative software to detect and deter fraud and collusion. As identified by the United Nations, more accessible and better quality data will lead to improved policy decisions and greater accountability and several of their recent reports outline how the data revolution will be incorporated into sustainable development commitments.” – L Silveira 2016

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When The Economist published its article “The Mexican Morass” criticizing Peña Nieto’s administration, its high corruption levels and lack of accountability, they add this incredible statement: They don’t get that they don’t get it. Since then (January 2015), Peña Nieto has done nothing to move public budget, expenses and judicial information into open tools such as The Cloud or Big Data. The solution to fight corruption and federal fraud is right there. It seems that Peña’s resilience to move into that direction implies several conflicts of interests, frauds and lack of federal budget management.

Underdevelopment is a condition most countries experience not due to poor international competitiveness or unfair regional trade agreements, some countries struggle because of greedy and shortsighted leaders, and Mexico is an example of this.

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Mexican Matriarchy and Gender Equality

The following is a social stance regarding gender inequality. 

I was born in a matriarchy, meaning that for the rest of my life women in my family will govern or influence my path. They gave me the illusion of free will and self determination, but, as Mexican women are, they were wisely pulling the strings of my life in order to become a good man.

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As for me, I was taught to look for strong and confident role models. And those role models my family thought were inspiring weren’t those of the stereotypical man obsessed with money and power, or the lad of many women, nor the bloke looking for an alcoholic enraged fight at a local bar.

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My role models were diverse and uncommon, honest and more realistic. As an International Studies graduate, names like Helen Clark (NZ), Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemala), Elena Poniatowska (French-Mexican), Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Vivian Malone Jones (USA), Margaret Thatcher (UK) and more recently, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), come to mind along with the names of other leaders and relevant international figures of modern human history.

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Strong women have been seen as a threat to the Mexican Macho culture, just because women are supposed to be submissive and mere decorative, devoted to her family, solely.

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I remember overhearing conversations where an independent women, or a working mother would be judged and blamed for her husband’s unhappiness, or that her entrepreneurship desires will become a cause of divorce, or the reason her husband went looking for a “better woman” (justifying infidelity seems like a standard in gender unequal societies).

Nowadays, I’m glad to see that many of my female friends have fought and worked for better jobs, better salaries, respect among their peers, and a more balanced family life. As for my male friends, most of them, not lucky enough to been raised in a family like mine, struggle with this “new” dynamic.

I don’t call myself a feminist, I’m more of an Egalitarian, where “equality reflects the nature state of humanity”. Hence, gender equality is something I value, whilst strongly disagreeing with gender roles, objectification of women, or gender discrimination.

Gender-Inequality 2014The point of the above is pretty clear, I’ll do my best to nurture and strengthen a more egalitarian society, while respecting each individual decision to make this place a better place for us and our descendants. Because, in the end, the expenses of living in this planet should be shared by both genders, the responsibility of raising children ought to be of both parents, and the possibilities of professional development must be the same for everyone.

Now, I leave you with the first part of a poem written centuries ago by an important Mexican poet (FYI):

“You Foolish Men” – Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (New Spain), 1651-1695

“You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame…”

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Continue reading here

Ps. Ohhhhh, and Princess Leia (Alderaan)

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“I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain”

 

 

Thunderstruck

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That´s right my friends, this is one of my favourite songs ever, if not the most favourite one. Just listening to the way it begins, the drums, the strings and … the crowd man, the freaking crowd, give me the shivers dude…

“I was caught in the middle of a lighting attack…”

This song is pure adrenaline, emotions, grunts, rhythm and a claim for facing the unknown, the unexpected, the danger, the challenges.

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I mean, mate, just look at their outfits, their moves, and that energy they are eager to share with the crowd… the crowd man, the freaking crowd.

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AC/DC is the band, and you´ve been… Thunderstruck.

Ps. Once I said that if I ever get elected president of Mexico, my entrance to the Chamber of Representatives will be with this song playing on the background. And yes, I will be high fiving everyone on my way to the podium.

Like this mother***ker

Just like this mother***ker

Mexico´s Embarrassing Attendance to Brazil 2014

As you might know, the FIFA World Cup takes place every four years in a new country, the next World Cup will be in Brazil in 2014, and almost all of the 32 countries that will attend are classified already. Mexico, one of the countries where football could be only compared with a nationwide religion, will be the last team invited to the event.

There are a few countries where football is such a big thing, like Argentina, Brazil, England, Spain, and obviously, Mexico. The size of Mexico, its population and somehow steady middle and upper class, are variables that give the Mexican fans the chance to attend the World Cup for almost two weeks, pretty much the three first round matches and a next round match, even if Mexico doesn´t make it to the next phase.

The horrors …

However, the Mexican team struggled to qualify to this World Cup as it ended fourth in their confederation group and had to play against New Zealand for the last ticket to Brazil*.

In the meantime, during the uncertainty of Mexico´s attendance to the FIFA Challenge, journalists, analysts, politicians, and population in general, discussed how terrible for our country would it be if Mexico didn´t make it.

It was even compared to an economic crisis, a sociopolitical debacle, an outrage for our civilization, and obviously, an embarrassment that the United States team is going and Mexico isn´t.

Still, a better love story than Twilight.

Charts and graphics were presented to illustrate how the Mexican economy will shatter if Mexico fails to go to Brazil 2014, and they concluded with some sweet as statistical remarks:

  • Mexico will lose USD$600 million for not attending. 
  • Sponsors will fail to reach their market
  • Telefonica and Adidas have paid USD$45 million for a 4 years contract, losing most of the expected profit if Mexico doesn´t make it.
  • Restaurants, bars and other stores will be heavily affected by this.
  • The not renewal of commercial contracts by brands like Coca Cola, Visa, Ford, Roshfrans, Telefonica and Adidas.

Indeed, we can assume that Brazil 2014 is one of the most important events, not only for sports but for financial reasons, however, I´d like to conclude with something I´ve been thinking for a while, specially since Mexico lost against Costa Rica (damn!):

Any investor or financial analysist knows better when positioning their assets/cash, as one of the rules in economics is to diversify your investments. What I´m seeing here is that several companies and individuals concentrated their efforts towards one intangible active, a football team, and now the uncertainty is killing them. It´s a sure thing to bet on the Mexican soccer team if they go to Brazil, as there´s nothing easier than profit from the Mexican fans, a niche that blindly believes in football as the most important variable to determine the failure or success of Mexico as a strong nation. However, it is not the end of the world, and I´m sure these companies will think twice next time they put all their eggs in one badly built basket.

I can think of other more important reasons to go to Brazil 2014… “Ordem e Progresso” to you too

Ps1. The Mexican football team has shown no realistic project so far, I can say, without question, that Mexico will not make it to the next phase.

Ps2. In Mexico, the football players are seen as heroes or villains according to their performance, certainly the telly broadcasters like Televisa or TvAzteca are to blame, building up the idea that if Mexico doesn´t attend Brazil 2014 we´ve failed as a country.

Ps3. I highly recommend this article written by Leon Krauze on Bloomberg on the matter.

*The match against New Zealand is tomorrow at midnight, however Mexico won 5-1 on the first match, and the Kiwis didn´t show much competition. Mexico is likely to win this set and attend Brazil 2014.

Moctezuma’s Revenge

After living the good life in New Zealand I decided to go back to Mexico, my country. As you know, Mexico is an old country, full of culture, traditions, history and amazing food. I arrived first to Guadalajara, beautiful city, which I’ll talk about more in my next post. After Guadalajara I continued to Monterrey, where my sisters and friends live. The first thing I noticed when I got to this northern city was the heat, it wasn’t just a wee difference, I went from 10 C in Auckland, to 25 C in Guadalajara to a ‘not heavenly at all’ 45 C here in Monterrey.

Finally I reunited with my family, met my newborn nephew (gorgeous) and ate amazing Mexican food. During my first day at Monterrey I had fresh seafood platter, ceviche, tacos, beer, tequila, home made salsa, grill meat, etc, etc. Everything was going excellent until something happened. I might have eaten something bad because around 5pm I started feeling sick (Fever, stomach ache, the shivers, and diarrhea).

I’m still sick and I stayed up all night, went to the toilet every hour, and woke up feeling like crap. It was painful and there’s nothing you can do about it. In Mexico we call that Moctezuma’s revenge ( jocular term for travelers’ diarrhea). This term applies to tourists visiting Mexico. This made me jump to one conclusion, New Zealand diet has weaken my Mexican digestive system.

Food goes bad faster in warmer weathers, keep this in mind when you come to Mexico. Regarding of the recipes and things I’ve seen so far, I’ll be writing about them soon. In the meantime, I’m just eating soup, drinking lots of liquids and staying close to the toilet.

Ps. I blame my mum’s homemade salsa.