“He Doesn’t Steal, But Money Sticks to Him”

Mexico, like many places around the world, has numerous immensely imaginative one-liners to characterize corruption. Here is a sample:

  • “El que no transa, no avanza” (“Whoever doesn’t trick or cheat, gets nowhere”)
  • “No roba, pero se le pega el dinero” (“He doesn’t steal, but money sticks to him”
  • “Fulano de tal es honesto, pero honesto, honesto, honesto, ¿quién sabe?” (“So-and-so is honest; but honest, honest, honest, who knows?”
  • “Político pobre, pobre político” (“A politician in poverty is a poor politician”)
  • “No les pido que me den, sólo que me pongan donde hay” (“I am not asking for money, just to be appointed where I can get some”)
  • “Vivir fuera del presupuesto es vivir en el error” (“To live outside the federal budget is to live in error”)
  • “Amistad que no se refleja en la nómina no es amistad” (“A friendship that is not reflected in the payroll is no friendship at all”)
  • “Con dinero baila el perro, si está amaestrado” (“Properly paid and trained, a dog will dance”)
  • “No les cambies las ideas, cambiales los ingresos” (Don’t bother to change their ideas, just change their incomes”)

Source: Manana Forever?: Mexico and the Mexicans

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Seth Kaplan

About Seth Kaplan

Seth Kaplan is a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. He teaches, writes, and consults on issues related to fragile states, governance, and development. He is the author of Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development (Praeger Security International, 2008) and Betrayed: Politics, Power, and Prosperity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). A Wharton MBA and Palmer scholar, Seth has worked for several large multinationals and founded four companies. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.