By Patrick Vanderpool
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
CARACAS, Venezuela – According to a report published by Transparency International, a global anti-corruption civil society organization, Venezuela is the most corrupt country in the Western Hemisphere, edging out Haiti for the top spot.
Transparency International publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index which measures the “unfairness of the public sector” of countries around the world.
In terms of the complete list, Venezuela was the 164th most corrupt country out of the 178 nations that were included. The annual ranking measures the perceptions of public-sector corruption by aggregating 13 independent surveys.
The news for Venezuela comes on the heels of President Hugo Chavez’s most recent efforts to make Venezuela a completely Socialist country. Recently, President Chavez announced that the government was taking over the local subsidiary of Owens-Illinois, a U.S.-based glass container manufacturer. In recent history, Venezuela has nationalized key industries within the country, including the steel and oil industries.
Chavez’s rule as President has been marred with accusations of corrupt government action and human rights abuses. In a recent election, the Chavez regime is accused of silencing independent media, intimidating voters, arresting dissidents, and gerrymandering electoral districts in order to stave off legitimate competition from other parties.
Under Chavez’s watch, crime and inflation have skyrocketed. According to news reports, many Venezuelan citizens cannot gain access to the basic necessities that they need, such as food, unless they shop at a government-controlled market. The country has also been stricken by water and electricity shortages, which have affected even the capital city.
The next Presidential election is set to be held in 2012 and many political analysts think that Venezuelan citizens are growing increasingly disenfranchised with the current political regime. Although ousting Chavez will not be an easy task because he has essentially gained control of Venezuelan commerce and media, analysts think that it could be likely for other political factions to unite against the embattled leader.
For more information, please see:
Miami Herald – Hemisphere Loser: Venezuela – 27 October 2010
El Universal – Venezuela is Considered One of the World’s Most Corrupt Countries – 26 October 2010
New America – Corrupt Venezuela Election Still a Blow to Regime – 3 October 2010