Thanks Eneas for this funny piece of news. A Mexican congressman affiliated with the Green party applied to participate in the newest edition of Big Brother Mexico.
The incredible and outrageous part of the story is not only that he is going to be absent from his duties for 3 months, but when asked about things that he will do or not do, he said that he will not get naked or have sex with other players for respect of his post dignity but he will probably get drunk because he is human. Just the idea of being there tells you that he is not doing much for his constituents besides circus for the people. I also find revealing of his moral character, the fact that he justifies not having sex on the basis of respect of his position as congressman and not out of respect for his wife (yes he is married!!).
On the other hand I have to admit that given the law creating fever in Latin America, congressmen (as well as executive members) should be severely limited in their functions and maybe even gather not round year but rather for shorts periods of time for absolutely essential matters. In other words the problem of Latin American governments is not the lack of laws but the excess of them and the sheer irrelevance that they bring because law is not simple.
A simple example will tell you the whole story. The US constitution has 7 articles and 27 ammendments. Some latin countries like mine, Ecuador has had 20 constitutions on a period of 174 years of life as an independant Republic. The number of ammendments is incredible if we count all of them together for each constitution. The current constitution has 284 articles that fill out a small book and was signed in 1998. The constitution norms out every possible aspect of life in Ecuador. You have to add to this numbers the incredible amount of laws out there that make impossible for the non-trained citizen to respect it or even know about it. No wonder constitutions are not regarded as important and besides the lawyers nobody knows what they have. The story goes on and on with every other Latin American country. You were asking yourself why Rule of Law does not work in Latin America, go to the laws and see for yourself?
Hernando de Soto did in the early 80's and interesting analysis "The Other Path" of why informality occurs in Peru. He found out that the problem was the excessive regulations that made virtually impossible to be a law abbiding citizen and bussinessmen in Peru. The same applies to every other country that is underdeveloped, see their number of laws and regulations, see their constitutions and you will be able to tell which ones are rich an which ones are poor or on way to become one (That is happening to some rich countries that are becoming increasingly regulated).