Progress Reported in Americas in Fight Against Corruption
United States offering training in good governance for Latin Americans
By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- Countries in the Americas have made progress in fighting corruption, as evidenced by the adoption of election
reforms in the region, says José Miguel Insulza, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS).
In a July 14 statement, Insulza said the advances in electoral reforms -- as seen in a number of elections held since
December 2005 -- show an effort by governments in the Western Hemisphere to increase citizen confidence in democratic
Speaking at an international seminar in Cartagena, Colombia, on "transparency against corruption," Insulza said "it is a
reality that democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean is being strengthened."
However, Insulza cautioned "there is a certain degree of uncertainty over the shape and future of its strengthening -- not
because there is fear of an institutional breakdown or a takeover by armed groups, but because the fear has to do with the
conditions in place for governance." He said “people worry about whether democracy is capable of giving them the real
benefits to which they aspire and to which they have a right."
Insulza, the OAS leader, said that "an absence of transparency fosters corruption, and corruption erodes the credibility of
democratic institutions." That is why, he said, "without solid and trustworthy institutions it will be very difficult to resolve
people's problems, and we have already seen that dissatisfaction has led to the fall of numerous leaders in our countries
who were elected democratically."
His comments came after international electoral observation missions issued positive reports about elections held recently in
Peru, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia. (See related article.)
Regarding Peru, the international observers reported July 12 that Alan Garcia won the presidential election in a vote that
was "transparent, credible, and legitimate."
The White House announced July 17 that the U.S. delegation to the Garcia inauguration will be headed by Commerce
Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Accompanying Gutierrez to the July 28 inauguration will be James Struble, U.S. ambassador to
TRANSPARENCY CONFERENCE, GOOD GOVERNANCE TRAINING
Bill Owens, governor of the U.S. state of Colorado, and Donald Klingner, vice president of the Washington-based American
Society for Public Administration, are among the scheduled speakers at a July 17-20 international conference in Monterrey,
Mexico, on "Transparency for Better Governance."
The conference organizers, the Mexican Institute of Public Administration, said the event will examine the "theoretical
advances, practical experiences, challenges and consequences which governments face, in order to promote a better
transparency in all their actions and daily contacts with the citizens, which are demanding more open, accessible and
The U.S. Commerce Department's "Good Governance Program" works in cooperation with foreign governments and the private
sector (both foreign and domestic) to develop joint projects and programs to stamp out bribery and fight corruption around
the world. Six Latin American countries are in the program -- El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and
In that regard, the Commerce Department said it is offering a July 16-August 6 "Train the Trainer Program" which will give
selected participants from those six countries' private sectors the "skills, knowledge, and resource tools to develop
effective programs and alliances that promote business ethics and responsible business practices in their organizations and
to train others to do the same."
Additional information about the Monterrey conference is available on the Web site of the Mexican Institute of Public
More information about the training program is available on the Commerce Department Web site.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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