How serious is corruption in Latin America?Within the region, Peru had the largest share of respondents who thought corruption was one of their country's main problems in 2022. At around 38 percent of adult respondents, Colombia followed in a distant second place. According to the corruption perception index, however, both Colombia and Peru ranked fairly near the regional median, while Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti were rated as the Latin American or Caribbean states where corruption is perceived as most rampant.
Between 2013 and 2021, Venezuela's corruption perception score significantly worsened, correlating with the escalation of the humanitarian crisis. Though abuse of power is a major cause of the country's political turmoil and economic havoc, comparatively few respondents in Venezuela cited corruption as the nation's main issue. In recent years, the Venezuelan population has faced staggering poverty rates, severe shortages of medication, and disrupted access to basic utilities.
In a public opinion survey, the police was named as the main social and political group involved in corruption in Venezuela, only second to the President and his staff. In the rest of Latin America, the president and his or her staff, as well as members of Congress were most widely considered the central figures of corruption. Even so, involvement in corruption cases also extends to local officials and law enforcement, with roughly two out of ten Latin American respondents reporting that they had been asked or forced to pay a bribe in the previous 12 months in 2021.