go to top
Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, listens to Vice President German Vargas Lleras present an annual report in Bogota, March 14, 2017 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

The Odebrecht Scandal Reveals Latin America’s Changing Attitudes on Corruption

Thursday, March 23, 2017

That high-level corruption is a serious problem in much of the world is no surprise. But when the Odebrecht case—a massive corruption scandal, possibly even the largest ever uncovered anywhere—burst onto the front pages of newspapers in nearly a dozen Latin American countries, it raised an important question: Is the uncovering and prosecution of major cases of graft a good sign or a bad one? Is it evidence that corruption is even more widespread than anyone knew and becoming worse? Or is it proof that the age of endemic corruption is coming to an end?

The wrongdoing at Odebrecht, a Brazil-based engineering conglomerate that builds large-scale infrastructure projects, first came to the attention of Brazilian prosecutors back in 2014, as part of the investigation into corruption at Petrobras in the now infamous “Lava Jato,” or car wash, case. Details emerged gradually, but the scandal soon took on gargantuan proportions, until the company itself approached the U.S. Department of Justice seeking to work out a global plea deal. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.