Venezuela ranks once again as the most corrupt country in Latin America, and becomes the second most corrupt country in the world, a new study shows. AFP

Global corruption is thriving now more than ever, and most Latin American countries are leading the way in this emerging trend, a new study by Transparency International concluded. Venezuela, which has continuously ranked in the lowest positions in regards to global freedom and democracy, ranked second-to-last in this list, remaining the most corrupt country in Latin America.

The 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) study has been showing a global decline in justice and the rule of law since 2016. In fact, most countries are largely failing to stop corruption, Transparency International argues.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public-sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. It relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

In the past year, the study showed, corruption remained a challenge that directly or indirectly harmed most people, with over 80% of the world's population living in countries with CPI scores below the global average of 43.

Weakened justice systems, under-resourcing of justice institutions and extensive impunity are a few of the reasons cited by the organization as responsible for this trend. In these instances, those abusing power are able to escape accountability due to justice systems being "unable or unwilling" to pursue them.

In the Americas, only two countries have improved their scores over the past decade. Guyana, with a CPI score of 40, took the 87th spot in the global ranking. The Dominican Republic, with a CPI score of 35, ranked at the 108th spot. All other countries in the region either stagnated or significantly worsened their scores.

With a score of 73, Uruguay is the Latin American country at the top of the regional ranking, making it the 16th least corrupt country in the world. Uruguay's checks and balances are cited by the organization as the main reason for its scores.

Meanwhile, Venezuela with a score of 13 and a ranking of 177, was the lowest ranked country in Latin America, and the second-to-last in the world. The payment of bribes and the co-optation of judges and prosecutors at all levels of the justice system are just some of the major threats to democracy and the main propellers of corruption in the country, the organization said.

A more robust and independent judiciary are some of the remedies for these trends across the continent, according to Transparency International.

"Embracing strong, independent judiciaries in the Americas will foster hope for a fairer society, ending impunity for wrongdoers and serving the common good," TI said in its report.

Here is a full list of Latin American countries, with their CPI score and their global ranking.

  • Argentina: score 37, rank 98
  • Bolivia: score 29, rank 133
  • Brazil: score 36, rank 104
  • Chile: score 66, rank 29
  • Colombia: score 40, rank 87
  • Costa Rica: score 55, rank 45
  • Cuba: score 42, rank 76
  • Dominican Republic: score 35, rank 108
  • Ecuador: score 34, rank 115
  • El Salvador: score 31, rank 126
  • Guyana: score 40, rank 87
  • Guatemala: score 23, rank 154
  • Haiti: score 17, rank 172
  • Honduras: score 23, rank 154
  • Mexico: score 31, rank 126
  • Nicaragua: score 17, rank 172
  • Panama: score 35, rank 108
  • Paraguay: score 28, rank 136
  • Peru: score 33, rank 121
  • Uruguay: score 73, rank 16
  • Venezuela: score 13, rank 177

For more information on the corruption perceptions index, click here.

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