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Nicolás Maduro, the controversial Venezuelan leader, has claimed he is willing to – no matter who goes down – start a tireless fight against corruption. From there, it seems appropriate to replicate some recommendations published by local political expert Gustavo Coronel in his blog LasArmasdeCoronel. Coronel describes “three parallel tracks” there with different timelines to tackle corruption in an efficient way:
All three approaches have a common quality: Perseverance.
- In the short term, case by case.
- In the mid-term, systemic corruption.
- In the long term, education.
The starting point of the case by case approach is that corruption does not exist in a vacuum. It does exist because who commits acts of corruption, he/she does them from a position of authority that gives them opportunities and expectations for impunity. Their motivation is usually to make money, to enhance their political power or to maintain a bureaucratic position (money does not have to be involved, even though this will be the case most of the times). In his article, Coronel quotes 10 people out of at least a 100 publicly accused. Among them, he mentions the deceased leader, Hugo Chávez, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, and other top officials such as Rafael Ramírez (the current energy minister and head of PDVSA), Alejandro Andrade (a Chávez’s trustee), Tobías Nóbrega (a former finance minister), Wilmer Ruperti (a Government-biased entrepreneur), Diosdado Cabello (the head of Congress), Jorge Giordani (the current planning minister), Jorge Rodríguez (mayor of the Caracas Libertador municipality), and Pedro Carreño (a congressman for Chávez’s party PSUV).
In the systemic approach, the individual is “damaged” most of the times due to a system that allows, or even promotes, him/her to become a corrupt person. He points out that the prevailing systemic corruption in Venezuela owes to a local traditional belief that the mishandling of public funds is no crime at all. He claims that those currently in command, those who felt excluded from the possibility of an access to public funds, are now convinced it is their “last turn at bat” and that they are doing nothing objectionable when bending the rules to remain at power and/or abusing of the national assets for their personal and family use or tribal benefit. He claims that to fight against systemic corruption is necessary to take the entire system down, which will take longer to do so, and must be done on par with the case by case approach.
The education approach points out that it takes citizens to take corruption to a minimum level, not only inhabitants. A citizen is a contributory member of society, not a parasite, and is in acquaintance of the rights of everyone. A country with a critical mass of citizens allows building and maintaining a system of controls and institutional balances, it makes corruption practices difficult, because whoever commits them will have to pay a high price in terms of direct legal punishment and/or moral censorship. This approach indicates that forming citizens is a plausible and feasible project in the long term, that is worth embarking on since it has been already demonstrated that societies comprised by citizens yield minimum corruption.
The question that then arises is if decision-making people in Venezuela are the same as those immersed in corruption, would it be possible that the rhetoric to fight against it is a principled struggle and not an electoral strategy?
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VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by Veneconomy , on july 18, 2013. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.
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Petroleumworld News 07/22/2013
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