Mexico’s blockbuster of a scandal

Mexico’s blockbuster of a scandal

How a movie captured everything wrong with Mexico and its embattled president

David Agren


The most popular movie in Mexico last year was La Dictadura Perfecta (“The Perfect Dictatorship”), about an unscrupulous politician—prone to pummelling or bribing opponents—who hires the media to manipulate public opinion after his appearance in a video with a cartel kingpin. The coverage is so successful that it leads to the protagonist becoming president—soap opera star spouse at his side.

It cuts awfully close to home. The tragicomedy alludes to Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign of 2012 and its allegedly tight ties to the Televisa TV network—something both the president and broadcaster deny as unduly close or improper. The rampant political corruption at the centre of the film also mirrors more recent events: Right after the film’s release in October, 43 teacher trainees were abducted in the city of Iguala. Authorities allege that crooked cops, acting on the orders of the mayor and his wife, detained the students and turned them over to drug cartel toughs, who burned the bodies and tossed the ashes in a river. One student has been identified from a bone fragment. Authorities allege Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, collected $160,000 monthly from the Guerreros Unidos gang.

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