Monument to corruption

Known as the Estela de Luz -- the Trail of Light -- this little baby is 341 feet high and weighs 1700 tons. Unveiled last January, more than a year behind schedule, it was supposed to be President Calderon's contribution to the festivities for the 200th anniversary of Mexico's Independence in September of 2010. At the entrance to Chapultepec Park, it's made of steel and quartz that light up in the night, and cost about $78 million US, roughly triple its original budget.

A study by the National Academy of Engineers says that it really cost $37 million, and may have come in at an even cheaper rate due to the use of less expensive materials. Some members of Congress have called for an investigation, although in all likelihood we will never know where the rest of the money disappeared. It has been mentioned that for the same price 150 schools could have been built.

On the eve of the Presidential elections -- notable mostly for the dismal choice of candidates, each of whom has a long history of corrupt and inept associates -- here is a monolith widely known as the Monument to Corruption, rather than its official name. Perhaps it will prove to be more fitting as a totem to what we can expect from the government for the next six years.