Mexican Walmart, also known as Walmex, is now Mexico’s largest private employer and 20% of all Walmart stores are located south of the border. In order to expedite their rapid expansion, Walmex CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright is alleged to have spearheaded a massive bribery campaign to get local officials to approve new stores.
I for one am shocked that a large company would have to bribe corrupt government officials in a third-world country in order to do business. Wait a minute. No I’m not. I’m not an idiot so I accept that’s how business gets done everywhere outside of here and Western Europe, and if that’s what it takes, than that’s what it takes.
Unfortunately, our government is less realistic, and back in the 1970s the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed. This law forbids the payment of bribes to foreign government officials, and for some unknown reason DOJ has recently stepped up enforcement of it.
I’m still baffled why this is illegal in the U.S. If Mexico wants to prosecute these local officials for corruption, that’s fine. But why are we punishing Walmart for being extorted. Mexico is a country with a barely functioning central government where large swaths of its territory are controlled by drug cartels. I’m sure Walmart would have preferred not to pay millions to corrupt officials, but that’s just the cost of doing business.
Walmart now has to spend millions to conduct an internal investigation, and those costs are going to be passed along to me, which pisses me off. Fighting corruption in Mexico is like fighting sister-banging in West Virginia. You’re never going to win that battle so don’t even waste your time.