Corruption in Latin America? No Way!

Carlo Angeles

As the FIFA World Cup 2014 approaches the world eyes corruption in Latin America, putting it on the global stage for everyone to see.

Everyone has Dirt

Let’s start with my home. In Peru recent investigations have revealed local authorities established a criminal organization in one of Peru’s poorest regions (one of the richest due to the canon of mineral related activities but one of the least developed in education).

This criminal organization was set up by the Regional President of Ancash, Cesar Alvarez. He is currently under investigation for amassing over US$ 300,000,000.

He is accused of having illegally associated with prosecutors, judges, reporters, mayors of Santa and Canta Municipalities, businessmen -and murderers. Among their illegal ties under investigation are his relations with 2 congressmen and the former and recently elected National Prosecutor. Even Peru’s president Mr. Ollanta Humala is under scrutiny as his brother in law was illegally associated with Cesar Alvarez. Even former chief of campaign of Ollanta Humala, Mr. Belaunde Lossio is accused, as he has publicly supported Cesar Alvarez. Belaunde Lossio also has ties with the former Mayor of Lima and Presidential Candidate, Luis Castañeda Lossio. One of the congressmen related to Cesar Alvarez was elected under Castañeda Lossio’s Party National Solidarity.

The criminal organization set up by Alvarez planned the killing of political adversaries and bought the editorial content of several journalists in Ancash. Money from the budget of civil projects and mineral canon was given to businessmen who worked for Alvarez.

Also this week during the trial of former dictator Alberto Fujimori, one key witness reported that he spent $100,000,000 of the public budget for his re-reelection campaign, which he won. Fujimori was impeached on 2000 after a videotape showed how he bought congressmen of opposition through his presidential advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Happiness in Brazil? Think again

Massive public protests are booming as the FIFA World Cup 2014 approaches.

Organizing a World Cup is not cheap. The construction of stadiums alone has cost the Brazilian Government almost 1 billion USD dollars. The problem is that the budgets for these construction projects has significantly increased after initial approvals. The budget increased without authorities reporting they have increased. This has led to massive protests in Brazil against corruption.

Interesting is the fact that the construction companies which have won these construction projects have increased their political “donations” over 500 times for the political parties that are currently governing. This is suspect in the least.

Maduro: It’s not my fault

While Venezuela is under a dictatorship but things are not entirely bad. Extreme poverty has been reduced significantly under the governments of Chavez and his heir Maduro. But what about the rest?

Venezuela is suffering from one of the worst economic recessions in the region. Countries in Latin American are growing economically. This is not the case for Venezuela.

People are tired of the regime. Maduro is experiencing the lowest approval ratings among the 15 years of Venezuelan United Socialist Party government.

Massive protests are held weekly. But the real problem underlies within the Venezuelan United Socialist Party leadership. Hugo Chavez, former president and Venezuelan United Socialist Party founder faced the same problems to the point of even facing an attempted coupé d’état. But his charisma and public support meant he could govern freely.

Maduro is just funny. His metaphors and public speeches are constantly made into a joke by the opposition. He is known internationally (in LatAm) as Maburro which is a mixture of the Spanish word for donkey and his last name.

In Venezuela, the government controls everything from media, debt, investments, currency exchange,and fixed prices. But Maduro constantly maintains; ‘It’s not my fault, ask the Yankees and the right winged political parties’ when asked about the Venezuelan political, social and economic crisis.

How could it not be his fault if the government controls everything? It is a plainly ridiculous answer.

As you can see Latin America is seen with hopeful eyes as the FIFA World Cup approaches, but is it all happiness in Latin America? Not really. Corruption is one of the biggest issues in developing countries. As budget expands for governments of developing countries, control organisms must be empowered and internationally supervised.

We can defeat corruption. It is just a matter of initiative. Elected authorities, public servants and businessmen should take that into consideration. Social service, ethics and corruption control is everyone’s concern and everyone’s work.