I am afraid of privilege, of ease, of entitlement.
September 12, 2017 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Despite “Car Wash” and other investigations, many Latin American elites have continued their corrupt habits.
Equality before the law is probably forever unattainable. It is a noble ideal, but it can never be realized, for what men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
Odebrecht: the largest corruption network in Latin America.
As corruption scandals spread through Latin America, its new middle class is fighting back. The scandals involving presidents are indeed serious, but drug cartels today penetrate the lower echelons of government, sawing the foundations of the state and the rule of law.
posted by adamvasco (4 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend that last link, which ends with a bit of hope:
Having said so, the scandal involving Latin American presidents and leaders has some good signs. First, there is movement within civil society that has its epicenter in Brazil denouncing generalized corruption. It is likely to spread out to other countries in the area. The demonstrations in Venezuela are not only against the tyranny of the regime but also against its corruption. In Guatemala, the government of Otto Perez Molina collapsed after a UN commission working in Guatemala disclosed mass protests over the president’s corruption. In Honduras, social protests led the government to agree to a similar international commission under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS). In Mexico, a citizens’ movement collected signatures in a petition that brought about new legislation to fight corruption more effectively. In Brazil, the judges that carried out the investigations and were not afraid of sending high level politicians to jail, and they are the heroes that helped unleashed what we expect will be the beginning of a change. This is going to be a long and bumpy road but the only one possible.
posted by languagehat at 12:08 PM on September 12, 2017 [6 favorites]

[Couple of comments deleted; let's stick to Latin America in here, rather than steering back toward US politics which already has plenty of discussion. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

Good read, thank you. I really hope this bit is right:
In the past, Latin Americans often failed to make the connection between graft and shoddy government services. Provided politicians were effective administrators, electorates often tolerated – and sometimes even expected – that they would be on the take, an attitude summed up by the cynical Spanish refrain: "Roba pero hace obras" (He robs but he carries out public works).

"Now, when people see a politician who earns $2,000 a month but has a yacht, they are making a direct connection with their own quality of life," says Salas. "Corruption is like passive smoking. People are at long last aware of the cost."
It sort of boggles me that people don't always catch that, but my upbringing was a lot more politically active than most. I'm glad people are coming around, and I hope it's as widespread as that author seems to think.
posted by mordax at 4:48 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Briefly mentioned was how social media and alternative news sources are slowly exposing the blatent thievery by those who think they are so priviliged that they are above justice.
Much of Latin America has a mainstream media very much geared to protecting these priviliged elites. Much more so than the sycophantic N. America media.
Reporting agencies like Pro Publica and others are financing some incredible investigative journalism which is getting the stories out there, albeit slowly.
However the overall level of education is low and the police forces are highly oppressive of those who wish to give voice. The mobile phone camera helps prevent some of the gravest miscarriages of justice but it is an uphill battle to mobilise and activate people and move them out of their comfort zone (those that have any comfort that is. Millions don't). The mimimi's just blame the masses for being poor and / or black.
posted by adamvasco at 2:23 PM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

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