A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Corruption in Venezuela in which I used the Corruption Perception Index from Transparency International to show the different trends, and I commented that I was waiting for this year's numbers to see the 'progress' of the Chavez regime. Well, as Daniel and Alek, have already reported, the 2005 indices are out (I have been a bit busy and doing some traveling lately, pardon my tardiness). So, here is an updated graph that includes the 2005 indices.
Let me start with the punch-line: Venezuela's index did not change, it's still 2.3 for this year. So let me put this in context. From my previous choice of countries Zimbabwe and Colombia improved to 2.6 and 4.0 respectively, while Brazil worsened to 3.7, which is not surprising given the recent corruption scandals around the governing party (remember that this is a perception index). That is, our 'model country,' Zimbabwe, improved by 0.3 while we stayed in the same level, which leaves Venezuela slightly above Iraq (2.2), and just above Paraguay (2.1) and Haiti (1.8) in the whole of the Americas. The next American countries in the list are: Guyana, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Bolivia all with an index of 2.5. So, I have to say that to me the biggest surprise in the index is the improvement of Zimbabwe.
Of course, the CPM™, has already tried to discredit Transparency International using words like "obscure methods" and the like, which are only obscure if you don't even try to read their web site, and pointing to previous ties to the "opposition," which is not only ad-hominem but ties into what I have said about the government use of the opposition tag before. As if an internationally recognized institute with more than 14 years of history had nothing better to do than to risk its reputation by attacking a petty dictator.
But there is a couple of points in TI's methodology that are worth mentioning. The Venezuela study used 10 different corruption studies (of a total of 16 different studies from 10 independent organizations that conduct these studies around the world) putting it in the high bracket for the number of studies used in any country. In the 2005 time period, the range of the studies' results has reduced to 0.2 (from 0.3 the previous year). That is, of all those 10 studies the 2.3 value assigned to the index is more solid this year than it was last year (and even more relevant, to the index assigned in the 1998 electoral year when the range was of 0.8). It is half the range of Brazil, and very small when compared to the 0.9 of Zimbabwe. Put in other words, discrediting Transparency international on this, is also discrediting the 10 different independent organizations that serve as the basis for the report.
So if I were to characterize this with a one-liner: No matter how you measure it, Venezuela is now more solidly corrupt under Chavez.
"Venezuela ahora es de Choros" means "Venezuela now belongs to thieves and thugs" which as reported in Daniel's article is the signature of one of Noticiero Digital's contributors, but the image has been around the e-mail circles for some time.