Corruption Perception in Central America

In 2017, the perception of corruption in public institutions increased in all of the countries in the region, with the exception of Guatemala and Nicaragua, where it remained the same as in 2016, and in Costa Rica, where it decreased slightly.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The public sector still perceives Nicaragua to be the most corrupt country (transparency level 26 on a scale from 0 to 100), followed by Guatemala (28), Honduras (29), El Salvador (33), Panama (37) and Costa Rica (59).

See: "Corruption as a habit"

In its annual report "Corruption Perception Index 2017", the organization Transparency International highlights that "... in recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean have made great strides in the fight against corruption. There are laws and mechanisms to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and anti-corruption movements led by citizens are growing in many countries in the region. However, according to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017, the region still has a bad rating for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?"

See also: "What Central America is Losing Due to Corruption"

"... In Guatemala, the lawyer's office and the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) are investigating politicians and businessmen in cases of corruption, including the illegal financing of current President Jimmy Morales. In addition, investigations on the former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, have also made considerable progress."

"...Has the region stalled in the fight against corruption? Not definitively, but it is vital that a a holistic approach be promoted that addresses key structural issues, including political financing, public procurement and the strengthening of independent, strong and flexible legal institutions."

More on this topic

Central America and the Perception of Corruption

January 2017

The public sector felt to be the most corrupt is still Nicaragua (transparency level 26 on a scale from 0 to 100), followed by Guatemala (28), Honduras (30), El Salvador (36), Panama (38) and Costa Rica (58).

In 2016 the perception of corruption in public institutions increased in all Central American countries except Guatemala, where it remained as in 2015 and in Costa Rica, where it fell.

Corruption Perception Index 2014

December 2014

In Central America, the public sector perceives Nicaragua as the most corrupt country (transparency level 28 on a scale of 0-100), followed by Honduras (29), Guatemala (32), Panama (37), El Salvador (39), and Costa Rica (54).

"... When leaders and senior officials abuse their power by using public funds for personal gain, economic growth is undermined ... "- Transparency International

Corruption: In the Land of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King

December 2013

The corruption of government officials and its negative influence on the competitiveness of economies will not stop as long as there rulers who celebrate being "a bit corrupt."


The 2013 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International has reconfirmed that all of the Central American countries are seriously "sick with corruption."

The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index

November 2009

Costa Rica shows an index of 5.3, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama with 3.4, Honduras y Nicaragua with 2.5.

The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys. The 2009 edition scores 180 countries, the same number as the 2008 CPI.

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