PRAYER ALERT on recent corruption scandals. On April 13-14, 33 active OAS members gathered for the eighth Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru. They knew that corruption would be the elephant in the room. Earlier this month, Brazilian presidential candidate and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva started serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. Two years ago Brazil’s Senate impeached recent president Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws.
Corruption in Brazil has extended to at least 11 other Latin American countries. The Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht confessed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to gain contracts in those countries. The bribe-takers included the would-be host of the Summit, Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. He stepped down from the presidency in March. Specifically, Kuczynski allegedly gained more than a million dollars from Odebrecht before becoming president.
Corruption scandals also recently brought down the former president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina. Moreover, corruption figured in the December trial of former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner which charged her with high treason. Also, former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur was caught money-laundering his campaign donations. Other heads of OAS states, such as Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, have recently left office under a cloud of corruption allegations.
The farthest-reaching scandal of all is the 2016 Panama Papers leak of 11.5 million documents taken from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. It has implicated public figures with high political connections in a large majority of the world’s countries on all six inhabited continents.
So OAS’ first Summit of the Americas since 2015 had to reckon with much recent sordid history. Accoordingly it did so by putting forth the Lima Commitment. This agreement recognizes that “the prevention and fight against corruption are fundamental for the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law”….
DailyInsight. The more complicated a government, the more “experts” can hide corruption behind the complications (see 2 Pet. 2:19).
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