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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes
Former Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel takes us through the successes and failures of the way Latin America is now treating two equally important crises: corruption as money and drugs spread their tentacles and health care as the Zika virus spreads unchecked across the hemisphere.

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.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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