Corruption is the highest tax paid by a country’s citizens and the greatest threat to democratic institutions. It is also the most important issue for the millions who will go to the polls in Latin America during 2018. Voters are tired of both corruption and the impunity that gives the corrupt a complete pass.
So how do countries once and forever alter corrupt behavior? In my opinion, the key is changing the cost-benefit analysis. Instead of building big bank accounts, the corrupt must be tried and, if convicted, go to prison as well as lose the spoils of their corrupt practices. Examples must be set to show that no one is above the law.
But to force people to reconsider engaging in corrupt practices, much must change. Countries need credible leadership that is truly committed to eliminating corruption. Additionally, there must be a strong, credible and independent legal system that is willing to take on the corrupt in a timely manner, no matter how powerful.
This is the path to eliminate corruption and change the direction of Latin America forever.
Segal is the president and CEO of AS/COA