The political attempt at fighting corruption can be a relentless cycle. In countries with high rates of corruption it can be especially difficult to address the issue.
Last month, former president of Peru Alan García was denied his plea for asylum at the Uruguayan embassy, which stated that as “the three branches of the state function freely” in Peru, García did not have a case for asylum. The president, who has been banned from leaving the country since November, will go on trial for accusation that he took bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht during his second term in office from 2006 to 2011 (BBC News 2018).
Last week it was reported that the former vice president of Guatemala, Roxana Baldetti, had been formally sentenced to 15 years in prison following her involvement in what is being called the “Magic Water” scandal. Baldetti was found guilty of participating in and directing a criminal network in the multimillion-dollar scheme, which redirected state funds intended to clean the contaminated Lake Amatitlan (Al Jazeera 2018).
This article was written as part of the course “Latin American Economic Development” offered by Professor Marla Ripoll, Department of Economic, University of Pittsburgh.
According to a 2017 IMF report, corruption in Latin America is one of the biggest hindrances
on the economy. Corruption can impede prospects for delivering sustainable and effective
growth. Many corruption cases go undocumented due to the fact that in many cases it is illegal
and very well hidden. This makes it difficult to obtain clear data for research. However, with
Brazil’s former President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has been in the media’s spotlight for quite some time. President for two terms, from January 1, 2001 to 2011, he was once one of Brazil’s most popular presidents. Coming from a humble background, Lula was born into poverty. He trained to be a metal worker outside of São Paulo and became involved in activism through work with the trade union. After being elected leader of the metal workers’ trade union, it was only a short time until he helped to create Brazil’s first major socialist party, the Worker’s Party.
Just this week, leftist leaders in Peru have begun to band together in a movement to impeach sitting president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on grounds of a ‘moral incapacity’ to lead the country, in part due to his alleged ties to Odebrecht. This effort to oust Kuczynski, better known by the nickname ‘PPK’, comes just a few months after his highly controversial decision to pardon former dictator Alberto Fujimori.
After nearly two weeks of deliberation, vote counting, and recounting, Honduras still has yet to declare an official winner in its highly contested 2017 Presidential election.
In the latest development in a seemingly endless string of corruption discoveries and charges, Ecuador’s Vice President, Jorge Glas, has been placed by the Supreme Court into pre-trial detention while he is under investigation for his role in the vast Odebrecht scandal.
The President of Brazil, Michel Temer, once again faces the possibility of trial for corruption charges and even possibly impeachment for the second time since he came into office in August of 2016.
Members of the Guatemalan Congress ruled in a sweeping vote on Monday, September 11, against the request from the CICIG to lift President Jimmy Morales’s immunity amid allegations of corruption and illegal campaign financing in the 2015 election.