Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

Translations: ES  

Regional analysis by Alejandro Urizar and Luciana Torchiaro

In the last few years, Latin America and the Caribbean made great strides in the fight against corruption. Laws and mechanisms exist to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and citizen anti-corruption movements are growing in many countries across the region. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017, the region continues to score poorly for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?  

Building a foundation for anti-corruption

In recent years, the region experienced solid increase in laws and institutions that promote transparency and accountability in the public sector. For example in 2016, Chile passed a law on public probity that prevents conflicts of interest in the public sector. Similarly, the Bahamas recently passed a law on access to public information and Guyana created transparent mechanisms for public procurement. In addition, in Jamaica, a consolidated anti-corruption agency formed to conduct investigations.

High profile investigations

Progress continues across the region with the investigations of several high profile cases of corruption. For example, the Odebrecht case resulted in sanctions for businessmen and political figures at the highest levels in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru because of their involvement with bribery and illegal funding in exchange for public contracts. In Guatemala, the attorney's office and the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) is currently investigating politicians and businessmen for cases of corruption, including illegal funding by current President Jimmy Morales. In addition, investigations into the former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, also advanced considerably.

Has anti-corruption stagnated?

While progress has been made to combat corruption in several countries, there are still no overarching policies in place to address the historic and structural causes of corruption throughout the region. Countries that prioritise anti-corruption and create national policy through consensus and public and political participation are better positioned to make a significant qualitative leap forward. Conversely, those countries that do not prioritise corruption issues in this way may lose ground from year to year.

Has the region come to a standstill in the fight against corruption? Not definitively, but it is vital to promote an integral approach that tackles key structural issues, including political funding, public procurement and the strengthening of independent, strong, and flexible legal institutions.

A call to action

This is a crucial election year in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Candidates and political parties have an important opportunity to include strong anti-corruption components in their electoral proposals and platforms to promote structural change. To truly improve anti-corruption efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, governments must foster political will and demonstrate a sustained long-term commitment to anti-corruption reforms.

Image: Jaime Spaniol

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Support Us

New Report: Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership

To counter crime and corruption, law enforcement authorities around the world need to be able to swiftly uncover the identities of the real owners of companies. Transparency International argues that public registers of beneficial ownership should be the norm.

هل سيشعل الفساد المستشري فتيل الخريف العربي؟

خلال الشهرين الماضيين، اجتاحت موجة من الاحتجاجات شوارع مصر والعراق ولبنان. وبلغ عدد المحتجين الذين نزلوا إلى الشوارع في لبنان أكثر من مليون شخص ينددون بالظلم، وكان ذلك غالبا في تحدّ للقمع العنيف الذي تمارسه السلطات. وعلى الرغم من اختلاف المطالب التي نادى بها المحتجون في البلدان الثلاثة، بل تختلف حتى فيما بين الحركات في نفس البلد، إلا أن هذا الغضب العارم قام على قاسم مشترك بينها: الفساد وسوء الإدارة المالية للحكومات.

Will rampant corruption spark an Arab Autumn?

A common factor has underpinned mass protests in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon over the past two months: outrage over corruption and financial mismanagement by governments.

Better blending: how the World Bank can promote transparency in financing sustainable development

As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Washington D.C this week, Transparency International is calling for greater transparency, accountability and participation in the World Bank’s contribution to financing the 2030 Agenda.

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”

"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.

Right to information: a tool for people power

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant improvements. On International Right to Know Day, citizens are speaking out around the world to demand greater accountability from government. But are most people even aware of their right to request information in the first place?

Global Corruption Barometer - Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Latin America & Caribbean highlights the disproportionate effect that corruption has on women and a significant lack of political integrity among government leaders.

Mujeres y corrupción en Latinoamérica y el Caribe

A lo largo de la última década, cada vez más mujeres de Latinoamérica y el Caribe han alzado la voz en reclamo de igualdad de derechos para las mujeres y las niñas.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media