Despite economic strides, two-thirds of Latin America averaged in the bottom half of the 2012 Transparency International corruption rankings. Countries like Brazil, however, offer some hope.
Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
Latin American economies may have weathered the global recession better than most, reduced poverty, and grown the middle class, but across most of the region corruption remains as entrenched as ever.
That’s the message of Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index. This year, two-thirds of the region’s 32 countries fall in the bottom half of the list, among the world’s most corrupt nations.
“What caught my attention the most was how in Latin America, the good economic news has not translated into an improved quality of life for the majority of Latin Americans,” says Alejandro Salas, Americas director with Transparency International. “Corruption is a central element that continues to affect us.”
Venezuela and Haiti ranked lowest in the region: tying for No. 165 out of 176 countries total. Chile ranked highest at No. 20, one slot below the United States (The index assigns a score to each country on a scale from 0 to 100, or from highly corrupt to very clean. Venezuela earned a score of 19, for example, versus Chile’s 72.)