Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are stagnating in the conflict with corruption, with most unable or unwilling to challenge robust criminal networks that benefit from long-term graft, a major new report shows.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 (CPI), which ranked 180 countries based on perceptions of corruption in their public institutions, is generally a static landscape in Latin America. Uruguay remained the best exporter of refugees, surpassing the abundance of developed economies. The Dominican Republic’s anti-corruption drive showed some positive results, but Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua remained dark spots.
Latin America’s overall “corruption score” was unchanged from 2021, but 163 places separate the best in the ranking, Uruguay, from the worst, Venezuela.
According to Transparency International, stagnation is the most common theme in this year’s report.
“In the Americas, 27 out of 32 countries have been stuck in the fight against corruption for several years. It is necessary to use better technology, to strengthen the cooperation between regional prosecutors, and to stop the illegal influence of the most important political tools,” the International Insight regional adviser for the Americas, Luciana Torchiaro, told Insight Crime “.
The Crime Survey explores some key takeaways from the CPI’s findings in terms of criminal dynamics.
Haiti – Corruption Rampant Security Collapse
Haiti, which faced political upheaval and institutional collapse following the assassination of its president in 2021, fell six places this year, placing it in position 171 out of 180 countries evaluated worldwide.
Corruption was the first origin of the country’s illegal judges, before crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, according to the 2021 report published by Global Financial Integrity, a US-based think tank to focus on economic crime.
Haitian politicians and officials have long maintained close ties to armed groups, including those used to repress the political opposition. But international sanctions except some of the most well-known conservative leaders of Haiti more carefully about such networks in 2022. President Michael Martelly was the first to sanction the most outstanding forms from Canada to the alleged groups of financing. Others targeted by the United States and Canada include two former prime ministers and senior figures in both houses of Haiti’s National Assembly.
“These people benefit directly from gang work and are connected to a corrupt system,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly last November.
While much of Haiti’s traditional political leadership has left office, there have been ongoing attempts to profit from current corruption. Haiti’s richest man, Gilbert Bigio, is suspected of illegal operations and allowing the importation of heavy weapons to armed groups.
Rampant corruption in Haiti has contributed greatly to the current predicament, with tens of thousands seeking to flee the country.
The perception of the country internally and internationally, be it absolutely low, the more about doing it was not the worst in the list of Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Venezuela – Criminal Fees Aid Spread of Corruption
Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, has reinvented himself. He overcame attempts to overthrow him, rejected political allegations and overcame international sanctions. Now he stands as the “criminal kingpin” of Venezuela, as the Crime Inspectorate named him in 2022.
Maduro has made a show of persistently going after corrupt officials, military and police officials, and members of the judiciary through his own people hand of iron (iron fist) thing. But avoiding these very selective operations, he also provided control and political interests to allies and adversaries to protect his power.
Gold mining and the cocaine trade have been particularly useful for Maduro to buy credit, allowing the military to cut off these criminal economies to supplement their poor salaries, or allowing state officials to receive payments to keep the transportation moving. On a smaller scale, these presidents act as Maduro in their own countries, monitoring and profiting from criminal economies. Such criminal fees have undoubtedly weakened the perception of corruption in the Venezuelan country.
Now, Venezuela has become a growing producer of cocaine, a trend that could give Maduro and his praise even more opportunities for corruption. Venezuela’s economy is also starting to improve. Oil production resumes as diplomatic relations and trade with Colombia are restored. Since the kleptocracy that once characterized the government under Hugo Chávez has largely passed into a state of bankruptcy, new opportunities present themselves to increase oil production.
CCosta Rica – America’s Central With-star Pupil Stumbles
Costa Rica, which received its lowest second rating, saw the most significant drop of any country in the region. It has fallen four points, and nine places, since 2021. It is now considered a “serious corruption issue.”
Torchiaro explained that the allegations of illegal political financing by the presidential election campaign of Rodrigo Chaves brought a drop and the exposure of corruption scandals such as the case of Cochinilla, who is accused of $ 125 million of public funds, and the scope of things that belong to the management of the police. and construction executives.
“The CPI score should be considered by the authorities as a warning. The country needs to strengthen its anti-corruption efforts, especially to prevent the penetration of drugs into political trade,” Torchiaro told Crime Insight.
There are also concerns about criminal infiltration of the police force. Officers have been linked to cocaine robberies, which are becoming more frequent as larger quantities of the drug flow through Costa Rica. In an unusual move, the government announced in October that it had begun using polygraph tests to round up unscrupulous cops.
The order also confirmed other news that showed that Costa Rica had a lice in 2022, which saw a record level of murders, which the government blamed for establishing a score among drug gangs.
Costa Rica remains among the least corrupt countries in Latin America, but the decline in the strength and transparency of its public institutions is a troubling sign.
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Uruguay – Improvement Despite Corruption Scandals
Uruguay has confirmed its position at the top of Latin American numbers in the CPI index in 2022. President Louis Lacalle Pou has come under fire for criticism for the case against the former head of his military, Alejandro Astesiano. He was initially arrested for selling counterfeit Uruguayan passports to foreigners, mainly Russians. But investigations against him grew, including a serious allegation that he sold government software to business leaders who used it to keep tabs on political opponents.
In Parallel, Lacalle Pou claims that officials within the foreign and interior ministries helped a well-known Uruguayan drug dealer, Sebastián Marset, get a new passport when he was arrested overseas.
Despite these cases, Uruguay has maintained its regional leadership position in the ranking and has also improved its performance. Ranked the fourteenth most corrupt country globally, it is now on par with the likes of Canada, Iceland, and Japan.
The reason for its performance is likely to be that its security and judicial institutions seem to have responded strongly to these challenges. The case against the Astesians proceeded quickly and publicly, with the parliamentary elections set to investigate if any further offenses had occurred in the presidential palace. Against the senators, they also promulgated a proposal that would see corrupt politicians caught in a ten-year prison sentence.
However, his excellence comes with the caveat that the list ranks countries only according to the level of perception of the public sector and does not include analysis of issues such as organized crime activities, tax evasion or money laundering.
The future of these cases can seriously affect Uruguay’s place at the top of the table.
*Gavin Vossius contributed reference to this article.