Nearly 30 percent of Latin American and Caribbean citizens paid a bribe when using key public services such as schools, utility providers, and courts over the last 12 months, according to global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI). A TI report, People and Corruption: Latin American and the Caribbean, equates this percentage to 90 million individuals in the 20 countries polled.
Despite recent anti-corruption protests across much of the region, almost two-thirds of the 22,000 citizens surveyed say corruption has increased in their country. Only 10 percent say corruption has declined. "Bribery represents a means for enrichment of the few, and a significant barrier to accessing key public services, particularly for the most vulnerable in society," says Jose Ugaz, TI chair.
Almost half of respondents say most or all police and politicians in their country are corrupt--higher than any other institution. Fifty-three percent say their government is doing a poor job of fighting corruption; 35 percent say it's handled well.