Argentina maintained the same transparency score of 38 out of 100 in the Corruption Perceptions Index between 2021 and 2022, ranking 94th out of 180 countries in the annual report by Transparency International (TI).
Since 1995, TI's annual Corruption Perceptions Index has ranked 180 countries and territories on a scale from zero (very corrupt) to 100 (very clean) using data from sources such as the World Bank and private consulting firms. According to the organisation, the index released on Tuesday “shows that most countries are failing to stop corruption.”
With a transparency score of 38, Argentina joins a group of countries including Brazil, Ethiopia, Morocco and Tanzania with the same moderately low score. While Argentina received a sub-50 rating, some of its neighbours scored much higher, with Uruguay achieving 74 and Chile 67.
Across Latin America, TI showed high levels of corruption and highlighted the absence of measures to combat it. The organisation warned in its report these levels of corruption help the spread of criminal networks and exacerbate violence in a region with already high homicide rates,
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A visual testament to this, the interactive map on TI’s website assigns a colour to each country placed according to their position in the ranking; In Latin America, the map is almost completely red, with the exception of Chile and Uruguay.
The rest of the Latin American countries have scores below 50, including Cuba (45), Colombia (39), Argentina (38), Brazil (38), Ecuador (36), Guatemala (24), Peru (36), El Salvador (33), Dominican Republic (33), Bolivia and Mexico (31) and Paraguay (28).
Venezuela (14), Haiti (17), Nicaragua (19) and Honduras (23) have the worst scores in Latin America, where the lines between public institutions and criminal networks have blurred, TI notes. The index for the latter three has dropped significantly since 2017.
The lack of progress in the fight against corruption "has led in the region to a weakening of democratic institutions, an increase in violence and an advance of organised crime in public institutions," Luciana Torchuaro, TI's regional adviser for Latin America, told the AFP news agency in an interview.
"Fragile governments are failing to curb criminal networks, social conflict and violence," Delia Ferreira Rubio, the organisation's president, said in a statement.
In its analysis, TI cites the instability in Peru, with six changes of government in six years and five former presidents under investigation for corruption, including Pedro Castillo. The crackdown on demonstrations sparked by his ouster in December has left more than 50 people dead so far.
In other countries across Latin America, she warns, public bodies have been co-opted by "elites and organised crime" and law enforcement authorities turn a blind eye to illegal activities or human rights abuses in exchange for money.
In Venezuela, which has the worst score in Latin America, criminal groups maintain their activities in the mining sector in exchange for irregular payments to the military, reports TI. Illegal economic activities accounted for 21 percent of its gross domestic product in 2021.
The report also mentions Guatemala and Honduras, where "there is evidence to suggest" the influence of organised crime in politics. In Guatemala, this situation affects journalists, activists and prosecutors, some of whom have been forced into exile.
Transparency across the world
Denmark (90), Finland (87) and New Zealand (87) repeat their high scores as the least corrupt nations in the world, while Somalia (12), Syria (13) and South Sudan (12) have the highest corruption perception indices.
Among the steepest decliners was Qatar, which faced European bribery allegations and complaints about poor working conditions as hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It dropped nine spots to 40th place.
Notably, Britain dropped seven places to rank 18th, with scandals ranging from lobbying to ministerial misconduct “highlighting woeful inadequacies in the country’s political integrity systems,” the Berlin-based watchdog said.
––TIMES with agencies