Corruption Scandal hits the Western Hemisphere

Last Monday, a dozen officials and politicians from the Dominican Republic were arrested on suspicion of involvement with a $92 million bribe. Demonstrations and protests have erupted in several parts of Latin America and the Caribbean in response to a corruption scandal linked with Odebrecht – a Brazilian construction company that secured around 100 projects in 12 countries through years of bribery. Protesters in Guatemala and Brazil are calling for their President’s resignation.

Odebrecht has confessed to bribing political parties across the three continents, and the firm’s CEO Marcelo Odebrecht is serving a 19-year prison sentence for paying more than $30 million in bribes to executives of Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras.

LGBTI leaders in Latin America have been at the forefront of the fight against corruption.  During Victory Institute’s 3rd Annual Meeting of LGBTI Political Leadership, LGBTI elected officials and activists from Belize, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guatemala and Colombia discussed the role of progressive leaders and movements in combating corruption. LGBTI elected officials and leaders, including Rosmit Mantilla, Congressman from Venezuela, and Sandra Moran, Congresswoman from Guatemala, discussed the importance of citizen movements that can expose corruption, and are becoming leaders in the area.  Victory Institute is working with these leaders and training them to run for office in several Latin American countries affected by these issues, including the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru and Honduras.