The CCC Index released for the first time in 2019 is calculated both with the use of publicly accessible data of international organisations and the findings of an in-house survey. It assesses the effectiveness of anti-corruption reforms and the anti-corruption capacities in 15 countries of the region (except for the first-year ranking that covered only nine countries).
Since the ranking was launched most Latin American countries have consistently demonstrated progress in adopting anti-corruption measures. This year, however, it is for the first time that the regional average has decreased amounting only to 4.77 points out of ten, and general deterioration of situation in two-thirds of countries is registered.
Like last year, the first lines of the ranking are occupied by Uruguay (score of 6.99), Costa Rica (6.76) and Chile (6.67). However, even the leaders of the ranking have suffered a setback if compared to 2022: Uruguay has lost 0.43, Costa Rica 0.35 and Chile 0.21.
The bottom lines of the CCC Index are occupied by Venezuela (1.46), Bolivia (2.56), Guatemala (2.86), Mexico (3.87) and Paraguay (4.61). What is more, the scores of Venezuela (-0.17), Mexico (-0.18) and Guatemala (-0.52) have further deteriorated if compared to the last year, while the negative trend in Guatemala and Mexico has been registered ever since the CCC Index was released for the first time.
Conversely, certain countries demonstrate a positive trend: Panama (+0.43), Dominican Republic (+0.23) and Paraguay (+0.16) have been improving their score for the third year in a row.
The AS/COA and Control Risks experts highlight that the general negative trend of the ranking reflects the inevitable reaching of the limit of anti-corruption effort made by the countries of the region. At the same time, the researchers are concerned about the causes of stagnation of this effort, including the pressure on democratic institutions.
In particular, against the backdrop of the presidential elections in Venezuela and the selection of the members of the Supreme, Constitutional and Agro-Environmental Courts and the Judicial Council in Bolivia the risks of persecution of activists, trade union leaders and opposition politicians have grown; last year in Guatemala, the imprisonment of famous anti-corruption investigative journalist Jose Rubén Zamora made dozens of independent judges and prosecutors leave the country out of fear of similar retaliation; in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in conflict with the Supreme Court, cuts resources for the National Electoral Institute and severely criticises journalists and anti-corruption not-for-profit organisations.
Other countries have seen the fight against corruption fading into the background due to other more urgent challenges. In Chile, for instance, the public agenda is focused on violent crime and immigration; the citizens of Argentina are more concerned about the growing inflation; Uruguay has decided to reduce the funding of the main anti-corruption agency to redistribute the released funds to other needs.
At the same time, some countries still have the potential to enjoy a considerable positive effect produced by the adopted anti-corruption measures, including the ongoing investigations into large-scale bribery schemes in Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica (the Cochinilla case), Panama and Colombia (Odebrecht).