Latin American Politics still grappling with sleaze : As corruption goes in Latin America, it amounted to small beans, but the excess that ended the Uruguayan vice-president's career this month shows-

The region's politics are still locked in a cycle of sleaze.

Despite increased public awareness of political corruption, tougher laws and smarter investigative journalism, Latin American politics are tainted by the culture of the backhander, analysts say.

''Unfortunately, corruption has been part of the political DNA of Latin America for many years,'' said Chilean corruption analyst Raul Ferro.

Vice President Raul Sendic's alleged misappropriation of public funds amounted to just a few thousand dollars spent over a five-year period. But the controversy raged for months in Uruguay before he was finally forced to step down on September 9.

He allegedly used a company credit card to buy jewelry, electronics and even a pair of swimming shorts while he was chairman of Uruguay's state oil company ANCAP.

Revered leftist ex-President Jose Mujica downplayed the controversy, pointing to what he called major league sleaze in Uruguay's neighbors Brazil and Argentina.

''Now, look, in Brazil they have bags of cash, next door nuns are throwing around bags of money, and meanwhile we are discussing boxer shorts? Have some perspective, please.

Mujica's reference to nuns comes from a 2016 scandal in neighboring Argentina, when a former minister was arrested after throwing dozens of bags of cash, containing almost $9 million over the wall of a Buenos Aires convent.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!