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MEASURING THE IMPACT OF ANTI-CORRUPTION PROGRAMS

The United States invests millions of dollars in anti-corruption and anti-money laundering efforts in Latin America. Measuring the impact of these expenses is essential to the fight against corruption. Civil society, universities, and other non-governmental organizations must be given the necessary resources to hold their governments accountable.

CORRUPTION

 

Corruption refers to the abuse of power to obtain improper personal advantage, often through dishonest practices such as bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, or any form of fraudulent conduct for the purpose of obtaining illicit benefits. Corruption can undermine the integrity of institutions, political and economic systems, and the social and economic development of a society.

IMPUNITY

 

Impunity refers to the lack of punishment or legal consequences for those who have committed crimes or transgressions. In a broader context, impunity implies the absence of responsibility or accountability for illegal or unjust actions. When impunity prevails, perpetrators of crimes can evade the justice system and avoid prosecution or punishment, which undermines confidence in the rule of law and can contribute to a cycle of criminal behavior without consequences.

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NCSC PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

INTERNATIONAL FORUM

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AFTER ODEBRECHT

In December 2023, the NCSC will host a regional forum to review the results of foreign assistance in combating justice sector corruption and money laundering in the Western Hemisphere between 2017 and 2022. The forum and events in parallel will examine the results of assistance to the justice sector in the five years following the Odebrecht scandal, which put corruption under a microscope throughout the region. Through INL's Western Hemisphere Anti-Corruption Research Initiative, NCSC examined anti-corruption results in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Uruguay.

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Costa Rica

In the continuing fight against corruption in Costa Rica, the judiciary faces significant challenges. The Estado de la Justicia, a comprehensive report, assesses the performance of the judicial system and offers recommendations to improve the fight against corruption. However, the report lacks support from the international community, making it difficult to regularly update data and evaluate the effectiveness of corruption-related investigations. Additionally, fiscal restrictions at the Costa Rican Drug Institute, the Financial Information Unit, and the Supreme Court hamper efforts to strengthen capacity in the fight against corruption. Although the creation of a specialized prosecutor's office and the implementation of reforms have served as an example for others in the region, addressing these key issues is crucial to improving Costa Rica's overall integrity and efficiency in the fight against corruption.

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Ecuador

According to the 2022 Transparency International study, with a score of 36 out of 100, corruption in Ecuador remains a key problem. Ecuador has experienced several notable corruption scandals stemming from changes made to the political financing system in 2008, which allowed criminal groups to begin financing politics and determining electoral results. Although there have been improvements in recent years, the lack of stable policies has hampered Ecuador's ability to achieve significant results. According to the civil society organizations interviewed, the fight against corruption begins with fighting the root of the problem: organized crime.

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El Salvador

El Salvador faces a complex corruption environment that has intensified significantly since political changes in 2019. This environment presents challenges for transparency, accountability, and the preservation of information about corruption, impacting democratic institutions. The current state of emergency in El Salvador has led to the suspension of fundamental rights, creating an environment conducive to corruption and abuse of power. Transparency challenges arise from withholding information, limiting access to open data, and fostering an environment where corruption can flourish unchecked. In the fight for justice, El Salvador faces a crucial moment that requires international cooperation and institutional reforms to guarantee transparency, combat corruption, and maintain the principles of a just and accountable society.

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The Dominican Republic

Corruption in the Dominican Republic remains a persistent challenge, affecting economic development and political stability despite legislative reforms and anti-corruption initiatives. Ranked 123 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, the country faces significant obstacles to curbing corruption, with public institutions perceived as highly corrupt. Despite these challenges, there is evidence of progress, with 4% annual progress in the 2023 Capacity to Combat Corruption Index, indicating improvements in legal capacity and anti-corruption assessments. In the Dominican Republic, ongoing reforms signal a commitment to transparency and accountability, marking a crucial moment in the country's fight against corruption.

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OTHER RESOURCES

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ECUADORIAN OBSERVATORY ON ORGANIZED CRIME

The OECS developed by the Pan American Development Foundation aims to analyze the illicit dynamics of transnational organized crime in Ecuador.

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THE ACTION PLAN

The Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance emphasizes the integration of judicial commitments in National Action Plans, highlighting the need for transparency, public participation, and collaboration with civil society.

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THE AGENDA FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The Regional Agenda for Digital Transformation provides a comprehensive roadmap and outlines 44 commitments in the key areas of digital ecosystems, connectivity, cybersecurity, and economic growth. 

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PRINCIPLES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OPEN JUSTICE

The Inter-American Action Plan on Democratic Governance emphasizes the integration of judicial commitments in National Action Plans, highlighting the need for transparency, public participation, and collaboration with civil society.

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