The president announced several initiatives to combat corruption and improve transparency, but there will be widespread doubt about how effective they will be. The first problem is that they will have to go through a Congress riddled with conflicts of interest, not least because politicians have to raise piles of unauthorized money to get elected, and lawmakers almost always water down any proposal that threatens their money supply. The second problem is that Mr Peña’s own political ethics have been in question over a house his wife intended to buy from a developer who has won numerous public contracts. That makes it harder for him to lead by example.
Undoubtedly some of the points he mentioned are a step in the direction of law and order, and could complement the economic reforms he has orchestrated in his first two years in office. A few months ago, they might even have been considered bold. Predictably, big business lobbyists quickly put their voice behind them.