Nearshore Americas

Interactive: The Most Corrupt Countries in Latin America

Latin American countries tend to get a bad rap when it comes to perceptions of levels of corruption; unfortunately, this reputation for high level of corruption has often been justly earned. Drawing on the latest data from Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and Global Financial Integrity’s 2014 release of information about illicit financial flows over time (2003 – 2012), Nearshore Americas examines how Latin American countries measure up in the corruption stakes.

Hover over the countries to see detail of the Corruption Perception Index and over the bubbles in each country for details on illicit financial flows. The higher the value in the CPI, the less corrupt the country is. In the illicit financial flows section, higher values indicate greater levels of illegal activity.

Mexico and Brazil were brought to task by Transparency International’s report, which noted that “these two countries – instead of making positive use of their influence as geopolitical leaders – show signs of stagnation and even backwardness by allowing for the abuse of power and looting of the countries’ resources for the benefit of the few.” Mexico tops the list of Latin American countries in terms of illicit financial flows, and is ranked third in the world. Brazil is placed seventh.

In the CPI, Venezuela sits at the bottom of Latin American countries, with a score equivalent to Haiti’s. It is ranked 25th in the world in terms of illicit financial flows.

On the positive end of the spectrum, Uruguay and Chile score best on the CPI, with scores putting them almost on par with the United States and just below the Americas’ least corrupt country, Canada. Both countries, however, still see large sums of money flowing illicitly out of their borders, according to Global Financial Integrity. The average (2003 – 2012) illicit financial flow for Uruguay was US$846 million; Chile was a staggering US$4,564 million.

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No Latin American country is ranked in the top 10 globally by Transparency International. That dubious honor goes to the likes of Somalia, North Korea, and Sudan.

Bianca Wright

Nearshore Americas Contributing Editor Bianca Wright has been published in a variety of magazines and online publications in the UK, the US and South Africa, including Global Telecoms Business,, SA Computer Magazine, M-Business,, Business Start-ups, Cosmopolitan and ComputorEdge. She holds a MPhil degree in Journalism from the University of Stellenbosch and a DPhil in Media Studies from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

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