The 2020 Capacity to Combat Corruption in Latin America Report ( CCC ) Index

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Assessing Latin America’s ability to detect, punish and prevent corruption amid covid-19

Covid-19 is posing unprecedented challenges to Latin America, including its efforts to combat corruption. All countries in the region have been forced to swiftly mobilize massive resources to

fight the virus and to mitigate its economic fallout. Governments have been scrambling to import ventilators from around the globe, expand ICU capacity, roll out enormous financial stimulus packages, help large swathes of the private sector to stay afloat, and more. In this environment of emergency spending, relaxed controls and remote working, the risk of corruption and mismanagement of funds has increased.

The timing of the pandemic is also particularly troubling. covid-19 is hitting Latin America at a moment when the region-wide anti-corruption wave of recent years is losing force and, in some places, is dangerously receding.

Corruption has historically been a hurdle for Latin America, undermining growth, democracy and governance, and violating the rights of millions. But starting around 2015, we began witnessing something new: from Brazil’s Lava Jato to Guatemala’s La Línea, anti-corruption operations targeted members of political and business elites previously treated as untouchables. These major investigations emerged at the same time not by coincidence, but because they were the result of common, deep and systemic changes. Key Latin American countries developed an environment conducive, for

the first time, to better tackling corruption. This environment was based on a variety of elements: from more independent and efficient courts and law enforcement agencies to stronger democratic systems and better investigative journalism. Progress was driven by parallel and long-term improvements in government, business and civil society.

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