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Argentina: How much corruption is enough?

July 21, 2007

Corruption is one of the biggest challenges facing Argentina and other Latin American countries. It’s tougher than military regimes that once ruled these parts and committed outlandish crimes against their countrymen.

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index is an excellent source to measure corruption. Finland, Iceland and New Zealand are the least corrupt with Haiti being at the bottom of the 2006 list.

Of the Latin American countries, Chile (20th) is at the top followed by Uruguay (28th) and El Salvador (57th).  Argentina placed 93rd on the list of 163 coutnries.

It’s pretty incredible to note that after military regimes in Latin America relinquished power to the civilians from the 1980s, there’s one foe that continues to wreak havoc: corruption. It operates more efficiently than any ruthless dictatorship.

In Argentina, most people would agree with you that corruption is one of the main culprits that has kept it from becoming a developed country with strong economic and political institutions.

“Why don’t you denounce the corrupt politician, mayor or policeman?” I asked recently at a party.

“Because we’d end up being harassed by the authorities,” the person said.

If you think of it, the culture of fear that forces you into inaction is the same but different type of terror that military regimes used to rule the country.

Corruption, however, is like an ogre that has fine manners on the surface and walks around in a suit and knows your price.It does not need to shoot you in the head or torture you to get information.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2007 6:09 pm

    corruption becomes systemic because of ignorance and greed with those who can least afford to be involved swept up in it and by it. it truly becomes a way of life…it goes back to what we’d spoken about in another post..education…and also, people willing and able to say: no mas!

  2. nemoo permalink
    July 23, 2007 2:42 am

    You’re right, Savannah. Education is one factor but a very important one is grabbing the problem by the horns and say adamantly “no mas,” no more. If we did that, I think we’d possibly discover that corruption isn’t such a formidable foe after all.

  3. July 29, 2007 1:11 pm

    Finland, Iceland and New Zealand- yes indeed., did you ever try taking the medical profession and other big fish – in Finland – to court. Ha! I have.
    You can win but very little- so much so, it’s not worth it. Is that not another way around corruption when you make it impossible for ordinary people to tackle the system outside the political arena?
    Y:-) Paddy

  4. Tiwaz permalink
    January 9, 2009 6:36 am

    What were you suing them for Paddy? Trying to make money in USA style?

    Perhaps you should have bothered to learn something about Finnish society Paddy. Over here you do not get gazillion euro payment for imagined hurt you suffer.

    Over here you are compensated for what your injury was worth. If it was worth next to nothing, you get next to nothing.

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