For some states in Latin America, corruption is not simply an industry, but rather it is part of the political system. This collection studies the nature of corruption and its recent trends through expert contributions from scholars from the region who have diverse scholarly backgrounds, theoretical orientations, and methodologies. Through case studies of countries throughout the Americas, the contributors analyze the links between corruption and organized crime, the main actors involved in corruption, governmental responses to corruption, and the impact that corruption has on governmental institutions and people’s faith in them.
Jonathan D. Rosen is assistant professor of criminal justice at Holy Family University.
Hanna S. Kassab is teaching assistant professor at East Carolina University.
Chapter One: A Little Lower than the Angels: Problems of Corruption and Obligation: A Conceptual Review
Bradford R. McGuinn
Chapter Two: Corruption, Violence, and State Fragility in Mexico: An Examination of the Recent Challenges and Opportunities
Roberto Zepeda and Jonathan D. Rosen
Chapter Three: Guatemala, a Captured State
Chapter Four: Corruption in Colombia
Fernando Cepeda Ulloa
Chapter Five: Corruption in Peru in the Twenty-First Century: A Tsunami of Scandals, A Tsunami of Prosecution
Chapter Six: “The Police are Involved in Everything”: Corruption and the Corrupt in Bolivia
Chapter Seven: Organized Crime and the State in Brazil
Michael Jerome Wolff
This deceptively brief collection provides an overview of the impact of corruption in Latin America with essays on six different countries. After an introduction and a "conceptual review," individual chapters consider the issue in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Each chapter addresses the question from a different perspective. The introduction and first chapter consider public perception and review useful concepts for approaching the issue. The chapter on Mexico also centers survey data to examine links between corruption, weak institutions, and organized crime. The chapter on Guatemala addresses the issue with a narrative focused on the rise and fall of the International Commission against Impunity. That on Colombia has a similar structure, though it is less centered on a single institution, reflecting the fractured nature of political conflict and non-state actors involved. The examination of Peru, "A Tsunami of Scandals," lays out that dizzying national history, followed by a chapter on Bolivia shaped by the author’s experience. The chapter on Brazil eschews discussion of the Odebrecht scandal and the Lava Jato investigation to examine questions of organized crime and the state. Without providing a synthetic overview, the collection demonstrates the complexity of studying and understanding corruption. Summing Up: Recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty.
Jonathan D. Rosen and Hanna S. Kassab’s edited volume has assembled top scholars and think tank researchers to produce a wide-ranging look at corruption in Latin America. With chapters on democratization, state fragility, and corruption in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, and Colombia, no other volume is as comprehensive an assessment of corruption in the region. As Latin America reels from pandemic and widespread criminal violence, the question of corruption is one policymakers and scholars will need to grapple with. This volume will light the way.
From Mexico to Brazil, corruption remains deeply entrenched throughout the Americas. Rosen and Kassab have put together a valuable, up-to-date collection of case-studies to help us make sense of the corruption of politics and the politics of corruption in the region.