Pranksters Renamed Mexico’s Parliament ‘Chamber of Rats’ on Google Maps

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By Nahema Marchal | 7:02 am, January 11, 2017

Fed up with the rampant corruption of Mexico’s political class, some Internet-savvy pranksters renamed Mexico’s Parliament to the “Chamber of Rats” on Google Maps on Tuesday, in the second attack of this kind in the space of two days, Reuters reported.

The name of the lower house of Congress, also called the Chamber of Deputies, was changed to “Cámara de ratas”— the Spanish word for rat, which is also slang for thief in Mexico.

“Our teams are working fast to resolve this incident,” Google said in a statement, explaining that any user can contribute changes to location names on the mapping service.

Following a similar incident over the weekend, Mexican media reported that the presidential residence appeared as the “Official Residence of Corruption” on Google Maps.

Google Mexico later removed it from the map and apologized for “inappropriate content” created by a user.

Mexico has faced turmoil since the start of 2017, with thousands of people demonstrating to demand the resignation of President Enrique Pena Nieto after he failed to backpedal on his government’s unpopular decision to raise fuel prices by up to 20%.

Violent demonstrations and looting over Mexico’s effort to further liberalize its economy left three people dead and more than 1,500 under arrest, the government said on Friday.

Corruption continues to be a severe problem in Mexico. In 2015, Transparency International ranked it the 95th most corrupt country out of 168 countries ranked.

A 2013 Transparency International survey also revealed that some 91% of Mexicans perceived political parties to be corrupt or extremely corrupt, and  83 % thought the same of the legislature.

In 2015, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s credibility was damaged after he failed to overcome alleged conflict of interest and corruption scandals connected to the purchase of luxury homes for himself, his wife, Angélica Rivera, and his finance secretary, from a government contractor.