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Latin American Program in the News: Latin America: The Corruption Problem

Cindy Arnson

How can corruption in Latin America be reduced, if not eliminated? Several experts respond to this critical question including our Director Cynthia Arnson.


For change to occur, at the micro level, citizens have to feel that if they denounce even petty instances of corruption—say, for example, paying a bribe to get the street lights fixed—there will be consequences for those demanding bribes, argues Cynthia J. Arnson, Director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Nagle is encouraged by the success in getting former Brazilian senator Luiz Estevão to pay back the stolen funds. He was impeached in 2000 after public audits of his construction firm. “The seizure of assets was achieved due to the persistence and vision of the lawyers in the attorney general’s office who created ways to fight corruption to preserve democracy and strengthened good public governance,” she points out. “Fighting for the public good goes a long way to improving peoples’ faith in the rule of law and in their government institutions.”


This article appeared here, but since a subscription is required to read the full version, it is attached here as a pdf called “The Corruption Problem.”

About the Author

Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Director, Latin American Program
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more