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How is corruption perceived in Latin America?

The results of the Corruption Perception Index showed that the citizens of Latin America do not believe that their governments are struggling to combat the problem.

Inside police shackles tickets.

Inside police shackles tickets. / Photo: Pixabay - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo se percibe la corrupción en América Latina?

The Transparency International organization publishes the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) every year, which measures how the citizens of each country see corruption in relation to politics and power. According to the organization, “the CPI 2019 report highlights the relationship between politics, money, and corruption, by comparing data on transparency in the financing of political campaigns and public access to the processes of making decisions. ”

The study measures perception in 180 countries and uses 13 different evaluation methods that allow us to give a global vision of how global corruption is perceived in the public sector. In general terms, corruption is one of the biggest problems that citizens see in their governments and is perceived as one of the reasons why the country cannot prosper.

In the case of the Latin American region, the index shows low scores in most countries. This year, Haiti and Venezuela were the countries in the region that had the lowest score: Venezuela with 16 and Haiti with 18. These two countries, and Nicaragua, are some of the ones that have worsened their score since 2012, the year since Implements the current methodology. The two worst countries in the region, along with some in the Middle East and Africa, have the worst IPC 2019 scores.

The majority of countries in the region fail to exceed 50 points, with the majority between 30 and 40. This is also a global trend, which showed an average of 43 points. According to the report, the only countries that exceed this score are Uruguay with 71 points and Chile with 67.

These numbers, unlike the countries that have the highest score in the world, which are Nordics with a score of more than 80, represent the large gap in terms of trust in government institutions in Latin American countries.

Despite the low scores in the region, it is in third place with that average, after Western Europe and the European Union, and the Asia Pacific. The reason for this is that in the report they joined all the countries of America, including Canada and the United States that had high scores. In addition to this, regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East have high levels of corruption due to their latent conflicts.

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Given the results, the president of the NGO, Delia Ferreira, said that “the frustration over government corruption and lack of trust in institutions reflects the need for greater political integrity… Governments must urgently face the corrupting role of the great capitals in the financing of political parties and the undue influence exerted on our political systems. ”

As a possible solution, Transparency International published, together with the results, recommendations for governments to try to reduce corruption and to have greater confidence in the public power:

-Control the political financing to prevent the excessive influence of money flows in politics

- Finish with preferential treatment to ensure that the provision of services and the distribution of public resources do not respond to personal connections or are biased towards certain interest groups;

-Manage conflicts of interest and “revolving doors”;

-Regulate lobby activities, through the promotion of transparent and broad access to decision-making processes;

- Strengthen electoral integrity, and prevent and punish deceptive campaigns;

-Empower citizens, and protect activists, informants, and journalists;

- Strengthen control systems and promote the separation of powers.

The US News ranking

Days before the Transparency International report was published, the US News had published another ranking with results that varied against the official.

The ranking of the best countries in 2020 showed a list of 10 countries in which corruption is highest. Of those mentioned, 5 were Latin American countries, which left the region poorly positioned in front of the world.

First, there was Colombia, who was awarded that position due to the recent demonstrations against the government. In the second place, Mexico appeared, which was recognized by the drug cartels that are increasingly acquiring more power. Guatemala appears in fifth place, Brazil in the seventh and Bolivia in the ninth.

Given the results, the Colombian government expressed its rejection because it stated that Colombia is far from being the most corrupt country in the world. Faced with this, the vice president of the republic, Marta Lucía Ramírez, sent a letter to the media requesting the verification of the information. In it, he asks that they receive an answer with the methodology that was used, as well as with the profiles of the interviewees. Finally, the letter extends an invitation for them to know directly the reality of the country.

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