Guatemala case reveals how corruption perpetuates itself in Central America

Eric L. Olson writes on the Univision News website about the ongoing attempts, by members of the Guatemala Congress, as well as the country’s business elite, to corrupt the judiciary. 

Central America’s Northern Triangle Countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have become notorious for chronic corruption. This has been especially true during the coronavirus pandemic where reports of price gauging for ventilators and protective equipment, and millions spent on non-existent emergency portable hospitals have filled the front pages. 

And these examples are simply in addition to a long history of corruption scandals where millions are stolen from healthcare systems, two former presidents are in detention, another fled, and a sitting president is an unindicted co-conspirator in a drug trafficking investigation in New York’s Southern District. 

This level of corruption has directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Central Americans even before the pandemic. People feel desperate because they cannot get the help they need in times of crisis, they have no hope their government is looking out for their health, economic, and security needs believing with ample justification that corruption has made their government part of the problem not a solution. 

This is not a small versus large government argument. This is about public trust in the government and their capacity to respond in times of crisis. 

How does this keep happening? Why is this a recurring saga or nightmare in Central America? The events unfolding now in Guatemala are a colorful illustration of how systemic corruption is baked into the system and cripples efforts to strengthen the rule of law, ensure accountability in government, and fight corruption. 

You can read the full piece, here, on the Univision website. 

Categories: Human Rights, Justice, Legal, Poverty, Solidarity in Action

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