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As it does every year, Transparency International released the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which revealed that the fight against corruption is stagnant worldwide, with little or no progress in the last 10 years. This grim scenario was exacerbated by the pandemic, which led to relaxing controls and increasing procurement via direct deals. Countries such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti are among the Latin American countries with the worst rankings for corruption-perception issues.

This is alarming news for U.S. corporations with subsidiaries in Latin America. It is a matter of concern for corporate leaders and board members of these organizations because when the fight against corruption does not gain ground, employees face more exposure to bad practices that can cause severe corporate damage, both in terms of reputation (because of media exposure) and finances (because of fines and litigation).

The solution, which is usually the responsibility of the senior management of the company, is to invest in comprehensive preventative measures that apply to every member of the company and go beyond a plan written on a piece of paper. In my 12 years of monitoring compliance programs for companies with operations in Latin America, I have seen multinationals struggle to implement their compliance programs.

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