On the day former Education Minister Milton Ribeiro was arrested on suspicion of corruption, malfeasance, and influence peddling, an annual survey that analyzes the institutional environment of Latin American countries showed that Brazil has fallen four positions in the ranking measuring states’ ability to fight corruption.
The ranking, produced since 2019 by the Americas Society/Council of Americas (AS/COA) in partnership with consultancy firm Control Risks, shows that Brazil has dropped from sixth to tenth position this year.
“The setbacks of the last three years” did not fully reverse the “decades of strengthening” of Brazilian institutions, stated the companies in the report. However, they did laud the continued independence of the Supreme Court and Superior Electoral Court “despite an escalation in public criticism leveled at them by President Jair Bolsonaro.” Besides that, scores for civil society and media remained stable, “even with high political polarization.”
However, the variable that assesses the independence and efficiency of anti-corruption agencies dropped by almost 19 percent, “as [Mr.] Bolsonaro sought to consolidate control over the bodies that investigate alleged cases of corruption involving his allies.”
According to Mario Braga, a senior analyst at Control Risks, Brazil’s ability to fight corruption has been declining due to the way the current government operates. Supported from the beginning by an anti-corruption platform, Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration has accumulated graft accusations and investigations involving cabinet ministers and important government agencies.