According to a new report, Latin America is now less resistant to corruption due to the coronavirus pandemic. The report shows that more opportunities for corruption have been created by the increased stress on both public and private resources in the region.
These are the findings The 2021 Capacity to Combat Corruption Index This week’s release was made possible by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Control Risks consultancy. This is the third year of the index which measures 15 Latin American countries as well as their effectiveness at preventing corruption.
There was an overall decline in the region’s ability to fight corruption, especially in the Latin America’s two largest countries, Mexico and Brazil.
“Efforts to combat corruption are more needed in 2021 than ever before…With governments under increasing financial strain, and healthcare systems in many countries severely impaired, the pernicious effects of graft on society are amplified,” the report reads.
The report reveals that while governments across the region should focus on urgent spending and allocations of vaccines, it also notes that many of these countries have not had the necessary oversight to ensure that the money is going to the right places.
The index ranked Venezuela and Bolivia as the three most corrupt countries. Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay and Chile are the most effective in fighting corruption.
The index’s results are based on more than a dozen variables including the independence of the judiciary, the strength and availability of anti-corruption agencies, and the amount of resources available for fighting white-collar crime. The index covers 15 major countries, or 95 percent of Latin America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For the third straight year, Brazil’s score has taken a hit. President Jair Bolsonaro’s reshuffling of his staff led to close allies now heading the nation’s police force and the Public Ministry. Bolosnaro also ordered a halt in the Lava Jato probe into the massive corruption scandal that impacted all levels of Brazilian political and corporate leadership.
For the third year in a row, Venezuela scored the lowest marks of all 15 countries. The report noted a decline in independent institutions under President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Maduro and his aides consolidated power through National Assembly at the beginning of the year as the vast majority (and most) of the opposition parties and candidates refused participation in the elections.
“The Maduro dictatorship has had a consistent decline in its legal capacity since 2019, with especially low scores for the independence of the judiciary, anti-corruption agencies and investigators. Reliable public information is not available, and the government has not disclosed budget allocations or international donations to fight COVID-19,” the report reads.
Since 2014, Michael has been covering Latin America as a reporter. He has lived in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico. His work from the region was published in Vice, The Associated Press and The Guardian.