Biden at an IDB Central America forum. (AP)

Biden at an IDB Central America forum. (AP)


Central America and the Crisis of Corruption

By Eric Farnsworth

"By broadening its policy focus, Washington has a significant opportunity to shift incentives to address corruption more effectively," writes AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth in Univision.

Once again the Pandora Papers, like the Panama Papers before them, show the lengths people will go to shield assets, both legally and not, from government authorities. Corruption is real, a debilitating, corrosive influence on societies worldwide.

The Biden Administration has made the fight against corruption a centerpiece of its Latin America strategy, arguing that migration from Central America stems from corruption and a predatory private sector.

Only a fool would deny the obvious: corruption rewards the politically and economically connected at others’ expense, reduces investment activity and stifles innovation, starves governments of resources, and generally shifts incentives toward manipulating government institutions for private gain thereby undermining rule of law and corroding public faith in democracy itself.

Corruption is a drag on economic development and effective democratic governance. But the reality is that corruption is also baked into human nature, and unless one believes that Latin America is uniquely corrupted compared to, say, Asia, there must be other things going on…

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