Brazil improves corruption 'score' despite scandals


Source: O Globo, 26/09/2007

At the moment when the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva faces a series of allegations of corruption, the organization Transparency International (TI) released a report that improves the country's rating in relation to combating the problem.

From 3,3 last year - the worst historical level in Brazil - the country's score rose to 3,5 this year, in the NGO's annual measurement, which ranges from zero to ten.

In the general ranking, Brazil fell from 70th to 72nd position, but this change reflects the entry of new countries in the survey.

It was the first time that the note went up in the Lula government, although the research was done before episodes such as the decision to sue the accused for the monthly allowance and the acquittal of Senator Renan Calheiros in the National Congress.

In addition, Transparency International spokesman in Brazil, Bruno Speck, stressed that the change is just a 'step aside' in the public perception of the fight against corruption, since it is within the research margin of error - 0,2 , XNUMX percentage points up or down.

The levels of the current administration are below those registered at the end of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, which improved from beginning to end, reaching 4,1 in 1999 despite complaints of vote purchases in the National Congress for approval of the amendment that allows reelection of the President of the Republic (see box).

“The trend in the FHC and Lula government is reversed”, speck acknowledges, “but both went through ups and downs”.

“You can't say that Brazil has changed significantly for the better or for the worse. And this confirms the perception of those who live in the country and experience facts that point in opposite directions. ”

Two recent contradictory examples, he said, are the decision of the Federal Supreme Court to prosecute the accused in the monthly case - a “positive sign” - and the acquittal of Senator Renan Calheiros in the impeachment process.

Regarding Mensalão, Speck stated: “Never has the Judiciary touched the upper echelons of politics in such a forceful way as it is doing now. Although he did not judge the case, he accepted the complaint ”.

"However, two weeks later, there is the acquittal of (senator) Renan Calheiros, which was a signal to the other side."

"There is a perception that some things are bringing hope for improvement, and others that highlight Brazil as the country of impunity."

For the analyst, Brazil can improve its performance by attacking "specific demands in each branch".

“The Judiciary has to become more transparent and more agile The issue of transparency has improved with the creation of external councils. But there is no access to basic data, such as how many processes of active and passive corruption exist in Brazil. ”

“In the Executive Branch, it is necessary to facilitate citizens' access to the State, and to reduce intermediaries in the provision of public services. Projects like Poupatempo, in São Paulo, and similar ones, are positive in this regard. ”

In the general ranking, Brazil fell from 70th to 72nd position - there are 180 countries - but this drop is explained by the entry of 17 new countries in this year's ranking, compared to last year.

For Transparency International, the 'watershed' is score 5, below which are countries with the most serious problems of corruption.

In South America, only Chile (7,0) and Uruguay (6,7) are in the group of countries with the best performance.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand (note 9,4) share the top of the ranking. Somalia and Myanmar (1,4), Iraq (1,5) and Haiti (1,6) - which many qualify as “failed states” - are on the opposite spectrum.

"Corruption (in the worst performing countries) remains a huge drain on resources that are so necessary for education, health and infrastructure," Transparency International President Huguette Labelle said in a press release.

"Governments of countries divided by conflict pay a high price on their ability to govern."

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