Not much change in ranking of Tico corruption in index

The latest corruption perception index shows little change for Costa Rica. The country shared 48th place with Lithuania, below Hungary and one notch above Rwanda.

Last year Costa Rica ranked 50th of the 176 nations surveyed, but the creator of the Index, Transparency International said that the methodology changed for this year, so some fluctuation was expected.

The way the index is created does not measure corruption, just the public perception of it. So the results are limited. Says Transparency:

“The CPI is limited in scope, capturing perceptions of the extent of corruption in the public sector, from the perspective of business people and country experts. Complementing this viewpoint and capturing different aspects of corruption, Transparency International produces a range of both qualitative and quantitative research on corruption, both at the global level from its secretariat and at the national level through Transparency International’s network of National Chapters based in over 90 countries around the world. This body of research provides a comprehensive picture of the scale, spread and dynamics of corruption around the world. It also serves to mobilize and support evidence-based, effectively-tailored policy reform.”

That serves to explain why Costa Rica, mired in several corruption investigations now, has not changed much in the index.

Various political parties are on the carpet for why they used public funds, and dozens of officials are undergoing investigation over the catastrophic results of an effort to construct a roadway along the country’s northern border.

The index ratings range from 0 to 100, which would be a perfect score. Costa Rica achieved a score of 55 to place in the 48th spot. The highest-ranking Latin countries were Uruguay and Chile tied in the 20th spot with a score of 72 each.

Chile and Uruguay received the highest scores out of the 19 Latin American countries in the index. Three countries — Denmark, Finland and New Zealand — topped the list with scores of 90. Costa Rica is the only other Latin American country to rank higher than 50.

The global anti-corruption watchdog group has ranked Venezuela near the bottom of its list of 176 countries.

Transparency gave Venezuela a score of 19 on the scale of 0 to 100.

In a news conference Wednesday, Transparency International’s Huguette Labelle was asked what accounted for the country’s low score.

“The issue of openness within the country and outside the country is a big issue in Venezuela,” said Ms. Labelle.

Venezuela scored the same as three other countries: Haiti, Chad and Burundi.

Other Latin American countries that ranked near the bottom were Paraguay, with a score of 25, Honduras at 28, Nicaragua at 29, and Ecuador at 32.

Transparency International says no country received a perfect score and any score below 50 indicates a “serious corruption problem.”

Brazil, one of the region’s most populous countries, received a score of 43, but Ms. Labelle said the country had made significant improvements in recent years.

Cuba received a score of 48 while Mexico received a score of 34. The United States, at 73, ranked just behind the United Kingdom.

The study incorporates data from sources including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

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