Mexico has worst bribery problem in Latin America: survey

Photo: Luis Pérez de Acha

The payment of bribes to access basic public services is more common in Mexico than any other country in the region, according to a new report on corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Completed by global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International, the report concluded that Mexico is the worst offender among the 20 countries it surveyed, and it also fared poorly on other corruption indicators.

More than 20,000 people across the region were polled for the report, entitled People and Corruption: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Photo: Luis Pérez de Acha

Fifty-one per cent of Mexicans surveyed said when accessing public services over the previous 12 months they had to pay a bribe. That figure placed the country ahead of the Dominican Republic, which came in second worst at 46%, while most other countries in the region recorded rates between 20 and 40%.

In the region as a whole approximately one out of every three people surveyed had paid a bribe to access government services in the past year although the figure went as low as 6% in Trinidad and Tobago and 11% in Brazil.

The services Mexicans most frequently pay bribes for are related to schools, health care, personal documentation and utilities, the report said. Between 21 and 30% of Mexican respondents also said that they had paid bribes to the police while between 1 and 10% said they had done so in court-related matters.

Both the rich and the poor paid bribes, the report said, but those of limited economic means did so at a slightly higher rate and it had a much greater impact on their finances.

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