The war against corruption in Latin America is in trouble

It goes on and on and on. In Mexico, Rosario Robles, a former minister, was jailed last month while under investigation regarding the siphoning off of some $250m. Emilio Lozoya, the former boss of Pemex, the state oil company, is on the run in Europe from corruption charges. In Peru, Susana Villarán, who was the mayor of Lima, is accused of taking illicit campaign money from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction firm. Her jail mates include Keiko Fujimori, the leader of the opposition, who faces a similar accusation. All deny wrongdoing.

Corruption has rarely before been an issue of such burning public concern in Latin America. In a survey of more than 17,000 people in 18 of the region’s countries published this week by Transparency International (ti), a Berlin-based watchdog, 85% said that government corruption was “a big problem” in their country, 53% think it is getting worse and 57% said it is not being tackled well. Broadening the scope of the question to include legislatures, police, judiciaries and business as well as executives, more Latin Americans see blanket corruption than in ti’s equivalent poll in Africa.

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