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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Transparency Expert: Latin America Failing to Fight Corruption

BERLIN – Venezuela and Nicaragua are perceived as the most corrupt countries in Latin America, while Uruguay and Chile are the cleanest, according to a report released on Thursday by Transparency International.

Internationally, Denmark and New Zealand top the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), while Somalia, South Sudan and Syria languish in the bottom spots of a classification in which the German NGO highlights a number of countries that have made little or no improvement.

TI’s regional coordinator for the Americas, Teresita Chavez, told EFE that Latin America has been “stuck” for four years, without any improvements.

“This shows that the region is failing in the fight against corruption,” said the expert, who linked the scourge with protests in Chile and Panama.

The region faces “significant challenges of political leaders who act in their own interests at the expense of citizens,” according to Chavez, who said the problems related to party financing, public consultations on government action and electoral integrity.

Corruption ends up “wearing down” democracy, according to the expert.

She highlighted the Odebrecht scandal as symptomatic of the region and “one of the largest globally,” reaching 10 Latin American countries via “donations” to political campaigns.

Together with Uruguay (ranked No. 21, 71 points) and Chile (No. 26, 67 points), only Costa Rica (56 points) gets the seal of approval among Latin Americans.

Below are Cuba (48), Argentina (45), Ecuador (38), Colombia (37), Panama and Peru (36), Brazil (35), El Salvador (34), Bolivia (31), Mexico (29), the Dominican Republic and Paraguay (28), Guatemala and Honduras (26).

Venezuela (No. 173, 16 points) and Nicaragua (No. 161, 22 points) close the classification.

The regional coordinator flagged the “disappointing” case of Honduras, which closed down the Mission to Support and Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), the “worrying” situation in Brazil, which has made “no progress,” and the sharp fall of Nicaragua and Venezuela in the CPI.

These last two countries have “a lot in common,” she said, including human rights violations, oppression of the opposition, poor public services and government action without citizen consultation.

In Venezuela, the “breakdown of democracy” is close to the point of a “failed state,” she said.

In global terms, the TI report focused on the corrupting role of “big money” in the financing of political parties and highlighted growing frustration with the illegitimate practices of governments and lack of confidence in institutions, which it considers erodes democracy as a whole.

The report highlighted that protests, from Latin America to North Africa, Eastern Europe to Central Asia, have made headlines, with marches in Santiago, Prague, Beirut and elsewhere in which citizens have voiced their frustration.

At the top of the list after Denmark and New Zealand are Finland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.

At the bottom, along with Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, perceived as the most corrupt countries in the world, are Yemen, Venezuela, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Afghanistan, North Korea and Libya.

Among the great powers, the United States is ranked No. 23 (69 points), while China picked up two integers (41) and climbed seven positions to No. 80.

Russia finds itself ranked No. 137 (28 points), barely changing its position.

To tackle corruption, TI recommends strengthening controls between the different powers of the State, protecting electoral processes to ensure transparency, limiting economic influence in politics, avoiding “revolving doors” and encouraging the entire society to contribute to decision-making processes.


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