By Beatrice E. Rangel
Two epidemics blaze in the Americas.
One exhibits a patina shaped by centuries of deployment. Its birth certificate going as far back as Columbus' visit to the Americas.
The other had been dormant for almost a century until it left the African prairies to seek more fertile grounds in South America and the Caribbean.
The first is corruption, the second is Zika.
Both have been the subject of analysis and policy recommendations. In the case of corruption prescriptions seem to be finally working . This past week major breakthroughs were achieved.
In Chile, Natalia Compagnon, daughter in law to President Michelle Bachelet was indicted over corruption charges while her business partner in the firm Caval, Mauricio Valero, was accused of issuing false invoices in an arrangement to avoid paying approximately $165,000 in taxes.
In Brazil prosecutors confirmed the indictment of Andre Esteves for his role in facilitating corrupt payments arising from Petrobras' briberies through his bank BTG-Pactual. And while Mr Esteves' arrest shook Brazil's financial world, analysts are taken by the senselessness of the engagement with Petrobras and the Brazilian government. To be sure, deals with Petrobras did not add to BTG-Factual growth or were even needed to promote its further expansion.
Last and quite significant was the arrest in Spain of Humberto Moreira, former President of PRI, Mexico's ruling party on the grounds of money laundering. It is worthwhile to note that the Spanish judge acted upon notice by foreign law enforcement agencies seeking to uphold the United Nations Convention against Corruption after Mexican courts had acquitted Moreira.
These events seem to indicate the effectiveness of the international regulatory network built to fight corruption and organized crime.
And while the network still is in its germinal stage, it seems as if it will follow the evolution pattern of human rights legislation. Indeed, as the international community became serious about enforcing human rights, an international institutional network was established covering the whole globe and making prosecution of violations global and outside any statute of limitations.
This remarkable development path had its origins in the changing approach to fighting crime fostered in part by technology but also by the development of international financial networks. Long past are the glamourous days where James Bond 007 spent his days jetsetting through upscale resorts, the most alluring casinos and the celebrity travel corridors of the world to give bad guys their comeuppance.
Today organized crime thrives on money and financial products. Once the money well is dried up, gangsters have a hard time getting about business. Thus today's law enforcers basically are herds of computer geeks seated in internet labs following money trails. And when those trails lead to their end, police, detectives and judges have their day.
Development of crime fighting networks are in stark contrast to that of health care.
This fundamental service for human capital formation is the institutional Cinderella in most countries. Except for England and the Scandinavian countries, health care is provided with a medieval vision.
Like Middle Age cities which were governed by the leader who could provide a wall to protect inhabitants from foreign pillaging, health care is today provided through hospitals.
A fortress mentality prevails in most hospitals thereby blocking access to the greatest gift of modernity: connectivity.
Instead of seeing hospitals as the final station in a long journey that starts with prevention, most health care authorities see hospitals as the sole and most significant spring of health care provision.
The result is cluttered hospitals and no prevention. This is blatantly visible in the current ZIKA pandemic.
By 2012 the first cases were spotted in Brazil. But most hospitals treated patients as if they had contracted dengue or chikungunya.
Thus no mosquito eradication plans were deployed; no health alerts issued and no prevention plans to protect pregnant women were set in place.
As the first outbreak took place just months before the World Cup, there was an incentive to treat the problem with a hush hush policy. The result is that mosquitoes have reproduced throughout the hemisphere and the Americas will now face the sad consequence of tens of thousands children born with microcephaly. Maybe this will serve as lightning rod for a reversal of fortune in the region's health care services.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
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