Corruption is one of the principal problems in Latin America, especially in countries like Honduras and Haiti. A good source for analysis of the issue world wide is Transparency International.
Thus an economic analysis of Latin America and the Caribbean has to include at least a brief note on the problem. Paragraph 70 notes that corruption is not limited to the public sector but can also be found in the private sector. Drug-trafficking and money laundering are often connected to this corruption,
Likewise alarming is the level of corruption in economies, involving the public and private sector alike, compounded by a notable lack of transparency and accountability to the citizenry. Corruption is often connected to the scourge of drug trafficking or drug financed businesses which is indeed destroying the social and economic fabric in entire regions.
Concern about corruption is not a new theme in Catholic Social Thought.
Pope Francis spoke strongly against corruption. Before his election, Cardinal Bergoglio published a small booklet, Corruption and Sin: Reflections on the Theme of Corruption, in 2005, in which he stated:
A sinner expects forgiveness. The corrupt, on the contrary, don’t because they don’t feel they have sinned. They have prevailed.
In the 1999 World Peace Day Message, Pope John Paul II also referred to corruption as a threat to the right to participate.
All citizens have the right to participate in the life of their community: this is a conviction which is generally shared today. But this right means nothing when the democratic process breaks down because of corruption and favoritism, which not only obstruct legitimate sharing in the exercise of power but also prevent people from benefitting equally from community assets and services, to which everyone has a right. Even elections can be manipulated in order to ensure the victory of certain parties or persons. This is an affront to democracy and has serious consequences, because citizens have not only the right but also the responsibility to participate: when they are prevented from exercising this responsibility, they lose hope of playing any effective role and succumb to an attitude of passive indifference. The development of a sound democratic system then becomes practically impossible.
The Aparecida document will return to the problem of corruption in paragraphs 77, 425, and 507.