Perceptions of corruption in Latin America worsen

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 shows that, despite some progress, Latin America continues to experienceserious difficulties in fighting corruption. Español

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Article originally published in Insight Crime. Read the original article here.

Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
continue to be perceived as some of the most corrupt in the world, according to
Transparency International’s latest edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index, published on February 21.

Using a scale of 0 to 100, in which the highest scores
represent low levels of corruption, the index ranks 180 countries around the
world for their "levels of perception of corruption in the public sector,
according to experts and businessmen".

According to this year’s Index, the perception of corruption has worsened in 14 of the 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The study points out that Venezuela and Haiti are, once again, the two countries
with the highest levels of perception of corruption in the region, while
Uruguay and Barbados stand at the other end of the scale.

According to this year’s Index, the perception of
corruption has worsened in 14 of the 30 countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean where the study was carried out, while it has improved in 11
countries, and remained stable in five.

The study indicates that some progress has been made in the region in terms of laws and
institutions that "promote transparency and accountability". It also
highlights progress in several prominent cases, including the numerous
corruption investigations related to the transnational scandal of the Brazilian
construction company Odebrecht and the investigations of business elites and corrupt politicians carried out by the UN supported International
Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

However, the study reveals that, in general, the
perception of corruption in the region has not changed significantly and
emphasizes that "global policies to address the historical and structural
causes of corruption throughout the region" are still non-existent.

Transparency International’s Index notes that
countries in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to experience serious
difficulties in fighting corruption and that some of the most successful
anti-corruption programs in the region have provoked strong reactions from the

It comes as no surprise that Venezuela, which is getting bad marks since 2014, has been perceived in 2017, once
again, as the country with the highest levels of corruption in Latin America.
As the country’s political, social and economic crises unfold and intensify,
corruption is likely to persist as long as President Nicolás Maduro continues
to turn a blind eye to it and surrounds himself with corrupt elites so
as to keep control of the situation.

The Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador,
Guatemala and Honduras) also score badly in the Index. This is particularly
worrying, given the presence of anti-corruption agencies such as the CICIG in Guatemala
and the Support Mission against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH) in Honduras. The
elites in both countries have done everything in their power to undermine and discourage these commissions’ investigations, and the
International Transparency Index duly registers that the population has
realized and is well aware of this.

It should be noted that a previous report published by
Transparency International in October 2017 pointed out that citizens in the
whole region are convinced that they can have an impact on the fight against widespread corruption, despite the
fact that they believe that corruption, in fact, is getting worse.


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