Bribery, every body does it.

Stop right there. What are you, a teenager? The argument that it is okay to do something that it is most assuredly not okay to do because "every body does it," sounds like the reasoning of an adolescent wanting a later curfew.

Really. America I hate to give you any factual information, but no. Everybody does NOT do it. Every US company abroad does not pay bribes abroad to do business. This is reality. I know it, firsthand. Yes, firsthand. I lived it, for almost two decades stints lived abroad in a variety of countries including Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico and Curacao. Presidents were kidnapped by military, rats came out of the toilet at school and home, and cockroaches hid in my trousers--but every US company did NOT bribe to do business.

Steve Chapman's naive, nutty and nauseating Sunday, April 29th opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune questioning whether it is "the duty of the US government to dictate business practices in nations with very different business climates" is akin to asking him about childbirth. He doesn't have the firsthand experience to detail this experience either. What is his Mexican experience? The bottom of a shot glass in Cancun?

Maybe that's what happens when you hang out in an ethically challenged America. You lose your center of gravity. After all, what is the matter is Arkansas is the real question?

Wal-Mart treated bribes like the cost of doing business, with the good people in the Arkansas headquarters doing cartwheels to hush up the story. Gee, what is it about Arkansans ethics? Tyson, headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas also had a slippery history with bribes in Mexico. Do the boys get together after church on Sunday to trade calling cards of whom to bribe?

When I wrote my Canadian friend married to a Canadian banker (from whom I've heard hours on the subject of why Canada did NOT have a mortgage crisis--for Steve Chapman's edification it was the rules), the friend immediately wanted to see Gringo Chapman's article.  See, when you insult one expat you insult all of us. And rules, laws matter.

So much of what he wrote was wrong, except for the spelling, grammar and his name--I won't even begin to go point by point. But his sense that "ordinary Mexicans suffer" when Wal-Mart is blocked--can only be the POV of one who is hoping to join their cheerleading board of directors. Actually one friend did say oh goody, when Wal-Mart came to Teotihuacan. "It is better than the 10 peso store."

What praise.




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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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