The fight against corruption in Latin America has grounded to a halt, says Transparency International, adding that the scourge is undermining democracy and human rights in the region.
While Guyana and Paraguay made noteworthy improvements in the “2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)”, political interference in the judiciary and anti-corruption agencies led Argentina, Nicaragua, and El Salvador to perform poorly on the rankings.
With a score of 73, Uruguay remains the brightest spot in the region, with the country also winning praises for protecting human rights.
The report has accused the governments in Brazil and Guatemala of using intimidation and defamation to silence civil society organizations and journalists, including those fighting corruption.
Fight against corruption was a “campaign rallying cry” for Jair Bolsonaro and Nayib Bukele (President of El Salvador), but both leaders have used repressive measures to silence their critics, the report adds.
The story of Mexico is the same as that of Brazil. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is known for his anti-corruption rhetoric, but “major corruption cases in the country have gone unpunished.”
According to the report, there have been a growing number of scandals involving the close associates of President AMLO.
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office is an autonomous body, but it is not feeling independent any longer.
Transparency International has praised Jamaica for establishing the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as an independent body but has expressed concern at the growing resistance to reforms from some politicians in the country.