A Country Without Corruption?

 

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Have you ever wondered if it is possible that a country could exist without impunity? With people who are not willing to be corrupted? We know that corruption is like an evil tattoo on the globe’s skin, but perhaps in a “distant nation” that could live without bribes, no crooked acts would be able to “bite”.

To my knowledge, this nation today exists only in our imagination. However, there are thousands of people around the world who struggle to build a culture of accountability and anticorruption in their countries, and many of them were gathered at the 15th Conference of Anti-Corruption in Brasilia this month. From that conference, here are the most important points of the final declaration of the event, with related comments from Eduardo Bohorquez, director of the Mexico chapter of Transparency International Mexico, and some other experts (continued below photo).

 

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the 15th IACC in Brasilia.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the 15th IACC in Brasilia.

“Citizens, acting in coordination, can more effectively challenge governments, corporations, financial institutions, sports bodies or international organisations that neglect their duty towards them.”

“The secret is not the act of individuals alone, but empowering institutions,” said Barry O’Keefe, chairman of the 15th IACC in the plenary. He also mentioned that in order to happen a significant change in society, it must be through existing agencies, who must be at the service of civil society.

Bohorquez from TI Mexico added the importance of specialized media, that one focused on investigative journalism working with anticorruption issues in a local perspective.

 

“Secrecy in the world of money has meant trillions lost by developing countries. To restore their trust, transparency and accountability must be rooted in the financial system.”

The world’s financial system today allows easy international money movements. Similarly, individuals and institutions acting corruptly can hide and evade the law by these means.

Manfredo Marroquin, Acción Ciudadana AC president, said that the main problem in Latin America is that corruption is a tradition in the region: “In Latin America there is a historical dissociation between transparency and security. We have never combined both, there is a culture of secrecy “. As an example put the illegal financing of political parties, where there is no clear accountability in his country, Guatemala.

Moreover Bohorquez says the Mexican financial system is hurt by the “everyday corruption”, the one that affects most all families: “While searching the vast corruption control, you have to learn what hurts people, petty corruption, if you have less than a minimum wage, you spend 30% of your earnings in corruption, for drinking water, for roads, bribes so your child enters to the school you want … ”

 

“Empowerment of civil society to review the distribution of aid and the extraction of minerals is a key element.”

Manish Bampna, from the World Resources Institute , spoke on the importance of taking new technologies to combat corruption in the energy sector and in the environment: “In the near future I want to see that access to information extraction natural resources is a reality. ”

Furthermore, Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said that we are still far from reaching a treaty that will ensure sustainable development parallel to mankind’s current lifestyle. Referring to the outcome document of Rio +20, he was skeptical, “however, this is what we have and we should work with it” he said.

Bohorquez said that there are many complaints from the public services and the distribution of resources but few are those who wonder why it does not work. “Companies get bribes so they give concessions to friends, those who own certain companies”.

 

“In the realm of sports, fans and sponsors, players and athletes need power over the bodies that run their sport. These bodies should be encouraged to lead by example by upholding basic principles of integrity.”

Sports were discussed several times during the conference, especially because in less than two years Brazil will host the World Cup. To fight corruption in sports in Brazil, the  National Secretary for Football, Luis Antonio Paulino, announced that an Agency for Combating Corruption for Sport will be created.

The objective of this project is not only to stop corruption during the World Cup, but to set an example for the following tournaments. We will see how it goes.

 

(Andrea Arzaba, November 2012)

¿Cómo sería un país sin corrupción?

 

IN ENGLISH CLICK HERE

¿Se han preguntado si es posible que exista un país sin impunidad? ¿Con habitantes que no esten dispuestos a corromperse? Sabemos que la corrupción es un mal tatuado en la piel del mundo entero pero quizás, en una nación “lejana y ejemplar” se podría convivir sin sobornos, sin actos chuecos y sin “mordidas”.

Por lo que sabemos, hoy en día esta nación vive solamente en nuestra imaginación. Sin embargo, existen miles de personas en todo el mundo que luchan por formar una cultura de rendición de cuentas y de anticorrupción en sus países, y muchas de ellas se reunieron en la 15ava Conferencia de Anticorrupción en Brasilia este mes. Ahora les presento los puntos más importantes de la declaratoria final del evento relacionados con comentarios de Eduardo Bohórquez, director del capítulo de Transparency International Mexico (Transparencia Mexicana), y de algunos otros expertos en el tema (continua abajo de la foto).

 

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the 15th IACC in Brasilia.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during the 15th IACC in Brasilia.

“La reducción de la impunidad también exige judiciales independientes y bien dotados de recursos, que se hagan responsables ante las personas a las que sirven.”

La impunidad es uno de los problemas con los que México tiene que trabajar con más urgencia. En las palabras de Bohórquez: “Podemos tener buenas leyes de acceso a la información pública pero el problema viene cuando están rodeadas de mucha impunidad. Los datos están ahí pero nadie se hace responsable del caso de corrupción, por ejemplo, el caso de Wal-Mart, en donde todos sabíamos lo que pasaba pero nadie es responsable, nadie es llevado a sanción”.

El presidente de Transparencia Mexicana asegura que la impunidad es la principal razón por la que México se encuentra en los números rojos que esta en los rankings internacionales de corrupción. “Se saben las cosas y no pasa nada. Ese no pasa nada es nuestro reto más grande en materia de corrupción. Que empiecen a pasar cosas, que hayan responsables en lo administrativo y lo penal. Que las empresas expliquen lo que hacen, que Wal-Mart y HSBC le rindan cuentas al publico”, concluyó el politólogo mexicano.

“Los ciudadanos, actuando de manera coordinada, pueden impugnar más efectivamente a los gobiernos, corporaciones, instituciones financieras, organismos deportivos u organizaciones internacionales que descuidan su compromiso con ellos”.

“El secreto no es el actuar de los individuos solos, sino el empoderar a las instituciones”, dijo Barry O’Keefe, presidente del consejo de la 15 IACC en la plenaria. Él mismo aseguró que para que exista un cambio significativo en la sociedad, este debe de darse a través de los organismos ya existentes, quienes deben de estar al servicio de la sociedad civil.

Bohorquéz mencionó la importancia incluir a los medios de comunicación especializados, aquellos enfocados periodismo de investigación que tratan temas de anticorrupción de manera local.

“Para restaurar la confianza de la gente, la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas debe aplicarse al sistema financiero.”

El sistema financiero del mundo de hoy permite que el movimiento de dinero sea mucho más fácil. De la misma manera, individuos e instituciones que actúan de manera corrupta pueden ocultar fondos y evadir la ley.

Manfredo Marroquín, de la Acción Ciudadana AC, asegura que el problema principal de América Latina es que la corrupción es una tradición de la región: “En AL hay una disociación histórica entre transparencia y seguridad. Nunca lo hemos combinado en la historia, hay una cultura de secretismo”. Como ejemplo puso el financiamiento ilegal de los partidos políticos, en donde no existe una clara rendición de cuentas en su país, Guatemala.

Por otro lado el mexicano Bohorquéz asegura que además del sistema financiero es la corrupción pequeña, la del día a día, aquella que también se debe atacar con precisión: “Al tiempo que buscas controlar la gran corrupción, tienes que aprender lo que le duele a la gente, la pequeña corrupción, si tu tienes menos de un salario mínimo gastas el 30% de tus ganancias en corrupción, para tener agua potable, para componer carreteras, para que tu hijo entre a cierta escuela…”

“El empoderamiento de la sociedad civil para revisar la distribución de la ayuda y la extracción de minerales es un elemento clave”.

Manish Bampna, del Instituto Mundial sobre Recursos – WRI, habló de la importancia de ocupar las nuevas tecnologías para combatir la corrupción en el sector de energía y medio ambiente: “En un futuro cercano quiero ver que el acceso a la información de la extracción de recursos naturales sea una realidad”.

Por otro lado, Kumi Naidoo, Director Ejecutivo de Greenpeace International, aseguró que aún nos encontramos lejos de llegar “a un resultado grande” en materia de un tratado que asegure el desarrollo sustentable paralelo al modo de vida actual. Al referirse al documento final de RIO+20 se mostró escéptico, “sin embargo, es lo que tenemos y es sobre lo que tenemos que trabajar”, concluyó.

Bohorquéz comenta que hay muchas quejas de los servicios públicos y la distribución de recursos pero pocos son los que se preguntan el porque no funcionan. “Se contratan a empresas ineficaces o corruptas, hay sobornos para obtener ciertas concesiones de trabajo. Nosotros (Transparencia Mexicana) trabajamos en eso”, explica el mexicano.

“En el ámbito de los deportes, los aficionados y los patrocinadores, los jugadores y los atletas necesitan ser escuchados por los organismos que ejecutan su deporte. Estos órganos deben ser alentados a dar el ejemplo al defender los principios básicos de integridad.”

El tema del deporte fue retomado varias veces durante la conferencia, sobre todo porque en menos de dos años Brasil será sede de la tan esperada copa mundial. Para luchar contra la corrupción en el deporte en Brasil, el secretario nacional del futbol y la defensa de los derechos de los aficionados Luis Antonio Paulino anunció que se creará una Agencia de Lucha contra la Corrupción para el Deporte.

El objetivo de este proyecto es terminar contra la corrupción en el deporte durante la copa mundial, y no solo aquella del 2014, sino convertirse en un ejemplo para los torneos siguientes.

 

(Andrea Arzaba, Noviembre 2012)

Brasilia: a tale of two corruption events

Brazil’s Supreme Court has just delivered what many observers see as one of the most significant verdicts against corruption in the country’s history. José Dirceu, chief of staff of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was jailed for 10 years and 10 months on Monday over the so-called mensalão scheme to buy votes in Congress.

The affair – which has seen about two dozen other officials of the ruling Workers’ Party also convicted – was “a crime aimed at inflicting grave injury to our democracy”, according to Joaquim Barbosa, lead judge in the case. > Read full story

Categories: Corruption

Resilience in Kabul: Afghans Take on Corruption to Rebuild their Country

“I have a life in Kabul,” insisted Seema Ghani, Executive Director of the Monitoring Evaluation Committee (MEC), a joint Afghan and international body dedicated to transparency and accountability in Afghanistan. Ms. Ghani explained that, despite the many challenges that Afghans face, significant progress has been made towards stabilizing parts of the country. She argued that Westerners forget that people are trying and, in her experience, succeeding in getting on with their lives.

On Friday at the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasilia, representatives from government, civil society, and the military held a press conference on the achievements and challenges of fighting corruption in Afghanistan. Panelists shared their unexpected success stories in dealing with the Afghan government as well as their concerns about the politics at home and abroad.

“I admit that I was considering resigning until March of this year,” reflected Ms. Ghani. “But then I started to see the progress with my own eyes. I decided to continue and since I’ve seen 98% of our benchmarks implemented.”

> Read full story

Garzón, the last exile from spanish dictatorship

When newspapers in your host country only mention Spain to talk about its crisis, its evictions, cuts and corruption of its politicians, seeing an audience of 140 nationalities cheering Baltasar Garzon was like a reconciliation with my country.

The judge answered questions raised by the public, received books, had his picture taken and answered dozens of reporters- even while having a broken voice due to a virus. In Spain, however, he cannot practice his profession and although for a large segment of society he is a hero, the rest think of him as a villain.

His order to wiretap leaders of the largest network of corruption linked to a political party ended his career. Garzón does not fear saying that the dismissal process was “arbitrary, unfair” and “irregular” and said he will take Spain to the European Court of Human Rights after the Constitutional Court rejected his appeal for protection.

Baltasar Garzón

The judge also criticized Spain for the barriers imposed while he was preparing to investigate the offshore accounts of over a hundred other participants. The diversion of money to offshore territories was one of the claims of his speech. “It is unacceptable that after 10 years of discussion within the European Union, there has been no agreement on such systems. Perhaps the explanation is that, in one way or another, the European Union countries are the most related to transactions and operations in tax heavens.”

Among his claims, he proposed an amendment to laws in order to better facilitate the fight against corruption by the judiciary. Garzón said that corruption is not configured as a crime, but the crime lies in behavior relating to it. Thus arose the need for corruption to be considered a crime under international jurisdiction.

“It is increasingly clear linking corruption and transnational serious facts within the jurisdiction of the international court,” he said. “Genocide crimes, drug trafficking, piracy …. In all of them there are elements of corruption and any judge of any country should have an obligation to investigate.”

“Corruption is itself a major crime category and therefore should have no difficulty to contemplate corruption within the international jurisdiction but there is lack of political intention,” he said.

Garzón, who is representing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, now begins a series of trips through Latin America. He had to leave Spain (he describes himself as the “last exile from Franco) but his corruption lessons now resonate in the rest of the world.

Photo: © http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

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