Transparency International has released its Global Corruption Barometer, and – keeping in mind that things in China are so bad they couldn’t even ask – Argentina and Mexico tied for the #1 corruption spot in Latin America, followed by Venezuela,
Seventy-two percent of Argentines and 71 percent of Mexicans think their country’s corruption has grown in the past year. A close third is Venezuela, with 67 percent of population saying corruption runs rampant. It is precisely Venezuela the NGO gives as an example of classic corruption. A 50-year-old woman, Carmela,described the day when a group of policemen burst into her home and arrested her 27-year-old son and would not let him go free until she paid a ransom.
The report pointed out what institutions were the most affected, and results varied in different countries. The police was named the most corrupt entity in Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico and El Salvador. Politicians and political parties shared the top spot in Mexico and Argentina and came just behind legislators as the top corrupt authority in Brazil.
Brazil, a country that has made headlines recently over massive protests targeting corruption, among other things, had a very modest 27 percent of population saying that corruption had increased a lot in the past year. However, 72 percent of respondents said that lawmakers were extremely corrupt. Uruguay and Colombia also pointed at legislators as their most corrupt authority.
You can read the Global Corruption Barometer at the link.
A tale from past decades. I worked with an Argentine who had also worked in Venezuela. He told me that he preferred the way corruption worked in Venezuela compared to Argentina. In Venezuela, he said, a government official was upfront about the bribe: “Give me X Bolivares to solve your problem.” By contrast, he said, when government officials in Argentina expected a bribe, they would never directly ask for one. This put you in a bind: if you offered a bribe to an honest official, you were in legal trouble for trying to bribe a government official. But if you didn’t offer a bribe to an official who wanted one, you wouldn’t get what you wanted.
Well, Gringo, of course! Why be so crass and offer to bribe when you can provide household goods, vacations, luxury items, and school tuitions to your new friends in high places?
Bloguero Encurso says
The problem is not corruption. The issue is impunity. Everybody knows but they can get away with it. In other countries, when suspicion of bribes arises, they start an investigation and if found guilty the corrupt officer ends up in jail.
In Mexico and Argentina this is not the case apparently.