PODER is a Mexico-based, non-governmental, corporate accountability and human rights organization, founded in 2010, that works nationally and regionally — and increasingly globally — to “advocate for corporate transparency and accountability in Latin American countries from a human rights perspective, and empower civil society actors affected by corporate practices to serve as the main advocates of accountability in the long term.” 

Upon its founding, it was the first organization in Latin America to conceptualize its work as corporate accountability and identify the corporate capture of the State as the root cause it sought to change. Since then, it has endeavored to incubate and support the development of a regional corporate accountability movement.

Per its vision statement, “The main problem we are trying to solve is the capture of the State by economic and political elites that control public decision-making, effectively limiting the development of democratic economies for the rest of society. We believe that these elite actors have taken over politics and national economies for their own benefit and, consequently, the rule of law and incipient democratic mechanisms fail to hold them accountable. As citizens, communities, and civil society organizations we must pressure government and business actors to correct this power imbalance.”

PODER works with local communities affected by non-offshorable industries, including the extractives, infrastructure and transportation, and heavy manufacturing sectors. Additionally, it prioritizes projects in global cities, specifically in the financial, insurance, and real estate sectors, where economic and financial remediation mechanisms have a greater impact on communities.

  • “Conduct corporate research on strategic industries to highlight patterns of State capture and human rights violations by companies. This is done to reduce information asymmetry and refine accountability and access to justice strategies for communities and workers affected by corporate activities.”
  • “Support organizational processes and legal strategies for community organizations whose rights have been affected by corporate misconduct. PODER promotes the strengthening of their capacities to defend their rights so that they can become agents of long-term change.”
  • “Engage with and influence decision-makers, investors, and communities at the national, regional, and international levels to improve regulation and practices within the private sector, as well as to facilitate access to justice and prevent harm.”
  • “Develop platforms and technological tools that promote data openness about the private sector and its interactions with the government. This includes databases, visualizations, and information filtering platforms like Méxicoleaks, Perúleaks, and Chileleaks. Additionally, through journalism and external communication strategies, PODER seeks to explore narratives that effectively and comprehensively expose State capture to a broad audience, thereby exerting pressure on companies, investors, and regulators.”

Regarding corporate capture, which is a transversal part of its programming and a main objectives of its raison d’être, PODER deploys several innovations, as follows:


  • Beneficial ownership:“In the process of defending the territories and human rights of indigenous peoples and original communities, it is essential to know who exercises control and benefits economically from extractive projects. This not only reduces the information gap between companies and society, but also directs efforts to strengthen collective power — against companies and municipal, state, and federal authorities — and influences the integral defense of communities.”

  • Follow the money:“Strategic corporate research also enhances accountability for companies that make up the value chain of a project and allows tracking the misuse of public resources or identifying possible cases of corruption, tax evasion, illegal activities, and money laundering. This, in and of itself, is a fundamental task to increase corporate accountability (…).”

  • Research methodologies:PODER employs three main strategic research tools: 1)power mapping,2) vertical analysis,and 3) horizontal analysis.

Data transparency, analytics, technology, and visualization

PODER created and hosts the largest open data source of businesspeople, companies, and procurement data in Latin America — called Quién es Quién Wiki (QQW) —, including hundreds of thousands of individual and corporate entries and millions of public contracts. This project has been replicated and scaled throughout the region, and it forms the data technology backbone of journalism projects that focus on corporate capture. QQW is the technological adaptation of foundational academic research, conducted between 2009-13, which identified corporate interlock as the primary mechanism by which the business association theMexican Business Council captured and continues to capture the State, since as early as 1959.

Data and investigative journalism

Virtually all of PODER’s and QQW’s journalism projects and spin-offs have a corporate capture focus, including: MujeresEnLaBolsa.org, Red Palta, Torre de Control, TodosLosContratos.mx, and Salud, Dinero y Corrupción.


As the entirety of PODER’s advocacy projects focus on corporate capture, we have selected three that are collaborative and global in nature.

  • EITI:PODER is a co-founder of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Mexico, co-founder and coordinator of the Civil Society Working Group on EITI México, and a global board member of EITI. It has consistently stated that the objective of its EITI participation is to achieve beneficial ownership transparency as an obligation for States and corporations, both in Mexico and globally, as a prerequisite of the kind of transparency needed to expose corporate capture.

  • Mind the Gap:PODER is a co-founder of this CSO coalition, hosted by SOMO, which also includes Conectas and eight other organizations, that deploys research, training, and advocacy to “create a system whereby businesses can no longer avoid responsibility for negative human rights and environmental impacts.” Among other efforts, Mind the Gap submitted a historic submission to theU.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights(UNWG) in 2021 exposing the corporate capture of the UNWG, which opened a Pandora’s Box of criticism by other observers and participants in that process.
  • Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights:In Mexico, PODER coordinates theCivil Society Working Group on Business and Human Rights(Grupo Focal), which advocates vis-a-vis the Mexican Government, regional spaces, and globally, for implementation of obligatory corporate transparency and accountability mechanisms, namely the Binding Treaty. The Grupo Focal pro-actively endeavors to include mechanisms to stop the corporate capture of the State in these processes.

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