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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Bribery affects the most vulnerable population
Latinamerica Press
10/17/2017
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Corruption is increasing and governments do little to combat it, says Transparency International.

Bribery is the most common experience for many people in Latin America and the Caribbean to have access to basic services to which they are entitled. According to the report “People and corruption: Latin America and the Caribbean,” published on Oct. 9 by Transparency International (TI), healthcare and education are the worst bribery-affected services. Al least one in five people paid bribes in order to get the attention required in both cases.

The report, which is part of the Global Corruption Barometer series, is based on surveys conducted between May and December 2016 with over 22,000 citizens living in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Bribery is a far too common experience for many people in the region who need to access basic services.” TI said. “We estimate that over 90 people had to pay a bribe in the 12 months previous to the survey across the 20 countries surveyed, equivalent to nearly one in three who accessed basic services,” which includes public hospital, public school, ID/voter’s card/permit, police, utilities and courts.

Mexico and the Dominican Republic are the countries where more bribes were paid, followed by Peru, Venezuela and Panama, according to the report.

For José Ugaz, chair of TI, in Latin America and the Caribbean the people “are being let down by their governments, their political class and the leaders of the private sector.”

Ugaz mentioned the Lava Jato case — the million-dollar bribes paid by Brazilian construction companies to senior public officials in Brazil and in many Latin America and Caribbean countries in exchange for the approval of construction megaprojects —, “which caused tremendous impact in the region and showed that corruption is widespread. Bribery represents a way of getting rich for a few and a significant barrier to accessing key public services, particularly to the most vulnerable in society.”

The recommendations to governments made by IT to reduce bribes in public services include ensure that official fees for public services are clearly and publicly displayed, streamline bureaucratic procedures to avoid lengthy and discretionary decision-making processes, invest in e-government platforms to enable applications for services without face-to-face interactions with public officials, and ensure that confidential channels are available for citizens to report on the quality of and their level of satisfaction with public services.

“Reducing corruption is key for a fair and equitable society, and tackling corruption effectively can strengthen development efforts, promote human rights and help eradicate global poverty,” TI stated.
—Latinamerica Press.


LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN

Bribery rates*
 

Country
%
Mexico
51
Dominican Republic
46
Peru
39
Panama
38
Venezuela
38
Honduras
33
El Salvador
31
Colombia
30
Nicaragua
30
Bolivia
28
Ecuador
28
Guatemala
28
Costa Rica
24
Paraguay
23
Chile
22
Uruguay
22
Jamaica
21
Argentina
16
Brazil
11
Trinidad and Tobago
6
*Percent of people who has paid a bribe when accessing basic services.
Source: Transparency International

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