“Mexico’s ‘Mordida’: Bribes Are a Way of Life—and Death" - Mike Goodman and Patt Morrison - Los Angeles Times

“Mexico’s ‘Mordida’: Bribes Are a Way of Life—and Death" - Mike Goodman and Patt Morrison - Los Angeles Times

U.S. Families Pay Up to $1,000 to Recover Loved Ones’ Bodies

by: Mike Goodman, Patt Morrison | publication date: February 9, 1977 | Publication: Los Angeles Times | pages: B3

"In America, it is the bribe.

"In Russia, it is the 'vzyatka.'

"And in Mexico, they call it 'mordidia,' the bite -- so much a way of life that even the dead are not beyond the power of a well-placed peso. . . . "

Two [LA] Times reporters went to Tijuana posing as a sister and brother searching for a missing cousin. Their purpose was to investigate complaints by Americans who had been obliged to pay bribes of up to $1,000 to recover the bodies or possessions of loved ones who died in Mexico. They were accompanied by a Spanish-speaking San Diego mortuary employee who pretended to be a hired guard. "Within a few hours, after bribing a state police officer and a mortuary attendant, the two reporters were offered - for a price - the body of their 'cousin,' an unidentified derelict who had lain unclaimed in a mortuary for 29 days."

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