A secure Internet site designed to facilitate anonymous complaints of corruption and damage to the environment in Latin America was launched Wednesday by three non-governmental organisations.
The aim of LtamLeaks.lat is to "encourage complaints as a key tool for more fair societies" and guarantee "the protection of people who sound the alarm in all of Latin America, whose rights and lives are now in danger,"¨the three NGOs behind the project said in a statement.
The website was created by two civil society groups - Chile's Ciudadania Inteligente and Proyecto PODER which is based in the United States - and Spain's International Baltasar Garzon Foundation, a human rights organisation named after a former crusading Spanish judge who made an international reputation by pursuing Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1990s.
"Latin America loses over US$220 billion per year due to corruption and the inefficient use of public funds," the statement added, citing figures from a 2018 report from the Inter-American Development Bank.
The platform intends to bring together those which already exist in the region to make complaints "anonymously and safely" such as Chileleaks, Peruleaks, Mexicoleaks and Guatemalaleaks, and help counties that do not have such tools, Bruno Galizzi of the Baltazar Garzon Foundation told AFP.
LatamLeaks.lat will also be used to agree on "best practices" and to "train 'whistleblowers'," in a region where human rights activist and environmental campaigners often suffer retaliation, he added.
The platform will use an internet privacy tool called Tor, which hides the user's location and scrambles information before sending it over the Web, to ensure whistle-blowers who use it remain anonymous.
The NGOs recalled that several political and financial scandals have recently shaken up Latin America thanks to people who raised the alarm "about these frauds and crimes", citing as an example the Odebrecht scandal, named after a Brazilian engineering firm which is believed to have paid more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in bribes in countries across the region to secure state infrastructure contracts.