In a recent post about bribes, I mentioned the various names that exist for the process of extracting money from you -- when you don't want to pay up.
In Italy it's "La Bustarella," the little envelope. In West Africa they call it "A bit of dash." Latin America employs the term "La Mordida," the bite.
And it seems to be still going on.
Recently some American tourists, driving around Cancun, were stopped by the police and charged with drunk driving, though they had not been drinking. It was explained that the cops would have to take them to jail unless they came up with three hundred dollars.
They paid up. The N Y Times reports that "The officers' 'mordida,' which translates as 'a little bite,' is standard practice in Mexico."
But one of the women in the car was a state senator from Minnesota; she began a campaign, writing officials and news organizations on both sides of the border. She ultimately received a check for 4,000 pesos, about $300.
So it seems you can still get bitten, but you can also get unbitten.
1 year ago