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Mexican Bishop Decries Corruption

November 1, 1999

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico (AP) _ Persistent political corruption in Mexico makes it unlikely that next year’s presidential election will be any less tainted than past contests, the city’s outgoing Roman Catholic bishop said.

``There is a great passion for social change or transformation,″ Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia said in his last Sunday homily as bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, a southern city in the state of Chiapas.

``But what also is evident is the corruption of our system, which exhibits itself through buying people for their votes and every other kind of pressure.″

On Wednesday, his 75th birthday, Ruiz will retire from the post he has held for four decades.

Known among indigenous populations as the ``bishop of the poor,″ Ruiz has been accused of using the church to encourage a rebellion aimed at toppling landowners and the government.

Ruiz said politicians were taking advantage of the poverty of many Mexicans by offering them gifts in return for support.

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