The Abuse-o-meter: Creativity in shaming Mexican politicians

Mexico is well known for having a wide gap between the excellent laws on the book and how these laws are enforced (or not as the case may be) in reality.  It’s understandable that the public would be suspicious about whether the President’s impressive reform movement will actually produce changes on the ground.

One man is trying to shame the government into following through with the new education laws. a He has constructed a billboard with an abuse-o-meter, documenting the amount of corruption in Mexican education.  Here is a picture:


Damien Cave of the New York Times had a nice piece on the movement.  The man behind the billboard is Claudio X. González Guajardo, president of Mexicanos Primero.  Cave describes his thinking: “But the abuse meter is an unusually brash and precise critique. With its Times Square-like lights displaying a running tally of money lost to waste and corruption since the first day of school on Aug. 17, the large billboard is a 24/7 stab at populist complaint, using shame to spawn outrage.”

The organization also has a website called Fin al Abuso and has promoted the use of the hashtag #abusometro on Twitter.  As Cave points out, the campaign is an excellent “sign that Mexican civil society is getting more sophisticated. And it also highlights the divide between a growing and digitized middle class — which expects transparency, data-driven decisions and speedy results — and an old guard in government that still relies largely on secrecy and paperwork.”

Who knows whether the tactics will work in this case, but in my opinion this is a very creative response and I hope that it lets politicians know that the old way of doing business will no longer be tolerated.

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