Corruption in Venezuela

Corruption in Venezuela
Author’s Name
Institutional Affiliation
Table of Contents
Summary: The Venezuelan Corruption Crisis ................................................................................ 3
Answer to the question (is the government of Venezuela implementing effective policies to curb
corruption and ensure good governance). ....................................................................................... 5
Background information on the causes and State of corruption in Venezuela ............................... 6
Argument supporting the claim that Venezuela is not implementing effective policies to curb
corruption and ensure good governance. ........................................................................................ 7
Argument against the claim that Venezuela is not implementing effective policies to curb
corruption and ensure good governance ......................................................................................... 9
Contradictions or Inconsistencies in implementing policies geared towards curbing corruption
and ensuring good governance in Venezuela................................................................................ 10
Policy recommendations on curbing corruption and promoting good governance ...................... 11
Conclusion and personal opinion on the state of corruption and governance in Venezuela ........ 12
References ..................................................................................................................................... 13
Summary: The Venezuelan Corruption Crisis
Venezuela is a federal presidential republic in South America with an estimated
population of 31 million people. Despite the vast resources harbored in the country including oil,
the state continues to lag behind in growth and development. The cause of the slow growth can
be summed up to persistent financial and political corruption. In fact, it is imperative to observe
that Venezuela was ranked by transparency international at 169/ 180 with a low score of 18/100
in the form of corruption fight (Transparency International, 2018). This essay will demystify the
factors that provide a thriving environment for corruption in the country, the successes, and
failures of the government in combating graft as well as give possible recommendations that may
eliminate the vice from Venezuela.
It is imperative to note that corruption is criminalized in Venezuela, besides, there exists
a legal framework meant to prosecute corrupt individuals within the country, and nevertheless
such legal structures have proven ineffective. Corruption in Venezuela is extensive; it ranges
from extortion, active and passive bribery, and abuse of office. Combating corruption in the
country has proven to be an uphill task mainly because of lack of political goodwill and
determination to fight it. Notably, top ranking government officials within the government are
among the leading beneficiaries of corruption that they gain through dubious deals with
foreigners and corporations (Venezuela Corruption Report, 2016).
The judicial system in Venezuela, which is supposed to prosecute corrupt individual has
been under political attack with its independence being eroded. For instance, the legal
institutions in Venezuela ruled in favor of the government in 94% cases involving the
government and politicians. Similarly, the courts are occupied by loyalist judges appointed by
the state and thus owe their judicial powers to the politicians and not fidelity to the constitution.
Other sectors affected by extreme corruption include the police where the institution is
ineffective and always serves on behalf of the highest bidder. Public service in Venezuela lacks
transparency. Appointments to public offices are often riddled with irregularities and regalities.
Inspections on the other hand by various departments meant to ensure the safety standards of
goods and services are at par are marred with bribery and inefficiency. Briefly, qualities services
and especially from the government in Venezuela are only accessible to those willing to pay for
Answer to the question (is the government of Venezuela implementing effective policies to
curb corruption and ensure good governance).
No, the government of Venezuela is making no efforts or implementing policies to curb
pollution. It is sagacious to observe that all efforts towards reducing corruption would have to
include arrests and prosecution of corrupt individuals in the country. To achieve this a
government would have to put in place measures that strengthen the law enforcement agencies,
but this is not the case in Venezuela. While people remain hopeful when electing their leaders
with the belief that they would solve the Venezuelan crisis o corruption; these elected leaders
only turn out to be self-centered power seeking individual is thus furthering corruption in a bid to
consolidate their power and authority.
Political goodwill and determination mean that the government would be harsh to corrupt
officials and thus facilitate their arrest and prosecution. Political goodwill would also imply that
the government would not be willing to work with corrupt individuals. If such measures were
enforced, the police officers and judicial offices would be motivated to ensure diligence and the
rule of law. In contrast, there is a mass abuse of the executive power. The president uses his
authority to place loyal individuals in all vital office positions including the judicially, tax
parastatals and government-owned oil companies. Ultimately, the rule of law should be
paramount to ensure corruption is eliminated, however; corruption has grown stronger than the
laws governing the country. For instance, bureaucrats no longer follow due diligence in
exporting products or during government procurements.
Background information on the causes and State of corruption in Venezuela
The cultivation of a culture of impunity by previous political regimes is the cause of the
current corruption crisis. Administrations in Venezuela have been characterized by the culture of
rewarding and crowning political loyalists with government appointments and public resources.
From Juan Vicente Gomez government in 1922 and Marcos Perez Jimenez from 1948- 1958
Venezuela has been plagued with corruption. While presidents Romulo Betancourt, Raul Leoni
and Rafael Caldera ushered a period of prudent management of public resources, this period as
not to last as public accountability deteriorated in the mid-1970s. This period of political
authoritarianism and lack of accountability led to the fall of industries and increased in the
countries national debt. The election of Chavez to the president in the 1998 elections led to the
growth of authoritarian and dictatorship rule in which the president assumed absolute power by
actively being involved in judicial affairs and the legislature (Coronel, 2006). For instance,
President Hugo Chavez fired the Supreme Court judges, the attorney general among other judges
in the court these actions crippled the fight against corruptions as law enforcement institutions
became weak serving at the pleasure of the president.
Argument supporting the claim that Venezuela is not implementing effective policies to
curb corruption and ensure good governance.
Several factors have led to my belief that the Venezuelan government is not determined
to implement radical changes that will culminate in the elimination of the country ranked among
the most corrupt in the world. First is the failure by the government he increasing rate of
inequality between the rich and the poor. Notably, over the past few decades, Venezuela has
developed a widening gap between the rich who own over 80% of the countries resources and
the poor who lack the very basic needs including medical supplies. Wealthy individuals in
Venezuela drive posh cars and expensive airplanes at the expense of ordinary citizens. Money
intended to be invested in manufacturing plans and boosting the economy are diverted to
personal and private accounts belonging to government and corporate executives.
Secondly is the disregard for the rule of law and lack of accountability. While the
government takes bold steps in combating crime including the firing of state officers and heads
corporations, litigation procedures, and graft cases are never finalized, and no perpetrators are
sent to prison nor are there any funds recovered. Venezuela has never been short of anti-
corruption laws including but is not limited to The Venezuelan Anti-Corruption Law that
criminalizes graft, i.e., money laundering, bribery, abuse of office and extortion punishable by
prison time of three to 10 years. Despite these stringent laws, public officials openly receive gifts
with the intent of giving extreme privilege to the host in future.
Notably, the executive arm of the government in Venezuela disregard and lack of fidelity
to the constitution is also evident with president Maduro’s call for a constitutional overhaul.
Similarly, the executive has been actively advocating for a weak judiciary. In 2017, for example
after the opposition, the party elected new supreme court and high court Judges in a bid to
advance the war on graft and the rule of law, President Nicolas Maduro threatened to jail and
their property confiscated by the government. Such threats are meant to intimidate the judiciary
to give government friendly rulings with disregard to the rule of law and the constitution (VOA
News, 2017). Lastly is the crushing and neutralization of the civil societies in Venezuela.
Freedoms of speech, assembly, and press are guaranteed in the Venezuelan constitution.
However, the government has continued to suppress the rights through intimidation and threats.
The media in Venezuela is therefore shy of reporting press releases that seem to target the
government including corruption scandals.
Argument against the claim that Venezuela is not implementing effective policies to curb
corruption and ensure good governance
Nevertheless, while the Venezuelan government may appear unconcerned with the
skyrocketing rate of corruption and lack of accountability in public administration it is sagacious
that I acknowledge the few efforts made by the successive regime in the country. One of the
initiatives launched is the creation of a National Anti-Corruption Body a special secret police
force tasked with fighting corruption in the country. The task force member’s anonymity was
maintained to ensure their integrity is not compromised through bribery and intimidation
(Robertson, 2014).
Secondly is the replacement of the country’s largest notes with coins. Currency
smuggling is a common form of corruption in Venezuela. Notably, currency notes are the most
common forms of currencies used for transactions in Venezuela. Similarly, currency notes make
it easier for money launderers, drug traffickers among other corrupt individuals to smuggle
illegally acquired money out of the country. This policy is meant to make currencies more bulky
and detectable by the authorities when transported in bulk to facilitate arrests and prosecutions.
Contradictions or Inconsistencies in implementing policies geared towards curbing
corruption and ensuring good governance in Venezuela.
While the administration has made efforts to curb corruption in Venezuela, specific
actions have been inconsistent leading to questions about President's ulterior motives For
instance, the contradictions between promise and reality. When President Nicolas Maduro came
to power, he promised citizens that it was a new dawn for Venezuela, as he would make the fight
against graft his topmost priority. He assured Venezuelan that his government would ensure
there is a prudent use of national resources and all officials would be accountable in their
positions. However, this reality never came to be; corruption has become more rampant and with
no accountability. Similarly, the president has been at loggerheads with the judiciary the only
institution capable of enforcing laws on graft through threats of arrest. The President Maduro’s
government has also depicted blatant disregard of the constitutions where rules are no longer
implemented, drug traffickers, money launderers are allowed to transact business in the country
including being contracted for government tenders. The president has also been accused of
harassing and cracking down on rivals under the pretext of fighting graft while with ulterior
motives of consolidating power, gaining popularity and legitimacy among the Venezuelan
citizens (Woody, 2017).
Policy recommendations on curbing corruption and promoting good governance
There are several measures would reduce and ultimately eliminate corruption in
Venezuela. First is ensuring that there is a separation of powers within the government. All arms
of government in Venezuela should exercise independence. For instance, the executive should
focus on policy formulation and implementation while the judiciary should focus on interpreting
and ensuring the constitution adheres to the latter. The legislature, on the other hand, should also
focus on the formulation of plausible laws to be enforced against graft perpetrators.
Independence of the three arms provides checks and balances of power where each arm plays an
oversight role to ensure the other arms of government does not abuse their power. Secondly, the
Venezuelan government should observe fidelity to the constitution since disregarding the
constitution provides a healthy ground for anarchy. In addition, the rights and freedoms of
citizens including the press, speech, and assembly should be upheld. Citizens through human
rights groups and the media should be allowed to air their views and opinions since they might
give rise to policies beneficial to the country. Ultimately, accountability and transparency should
be observed, arraigning, prosecuting, and imprisoning corrupt officials in the government would
enforce this.
Conclusion and personal opinion on the state of corruption and governance in Venezuela
In summing-up, I would like to point out that the stability of a country is dependent on
the political climate in the country. Similarly, for the success of any policy, political goodwill
from all the stakeholders in a country is essential. The corruption crisis in Venezuela has
persisted due to continued attacks on the countries democracy. Successive regimes have built a
culture of dictatorship and impunity. The Venezuelan government should be alive to the fact that
fighting against democracy amounts to fighting transparency, which breeds corruption. It is
therefore meticulous that the government restores justice where the citizens are free to chart their
political and economic future without intimidation. The opposition should be viewed as opinion
shapers who keep the government accountable and not as rival or rebels who should be crushed.
Besides Venezuelans should acknowledge the fact that they have a responsibility to uphold and
respect the rule of law, all their endeavors and activities should, therefore, be geared towards this
Coronel, G. (2006, November 27th). Corruption, Mismanagement, and Abuse of Power in Hugo
Chávez’s Venezuela. Retrieved February 28th, 2018, from Cato Institute:
Robertson, E. (2014, December 2014). Secret Anti-Corruption Force Created in Venezuela.
Retrieved February 28th, 2018, from Venezuela Analysis:
Transparency International. (2018). Venezuelal. Retrieved February 28th, 2018, from
Venezuela Corruption Report. (2016, May 28th). Retrieved February 28, 2018, from
VOA News. (2017, July 23). Venezuela's President Threatens to Imprison Supreme Court
Judges. Retrieved February 28th, 2018, from VOA News:
Woody, C. (2017, December 1st). Nicolas Maduro is cracking down on rivals, and Venezuela's
oil industry could take a big hit. Retrieved February 28th, 2018, from Busiess Insider:

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