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  • Talking Corruption

    Talking Corruption
    Spotlight Interview

    As Brazil prepares to host the world’s most prominent international sporting events, the Fifa World Cup 2014 and Olympic Games 2016, do you think hosting these events will trigger any cultural change for the people of Brazil?

    Yes. These big events are matter of everyday talk amongst the Brazilian people. There are discussions as to whether we will be adequately prepared, if the installations will be ready, if we will treat the visitors well and so on. Brazil remained relatively isolated for a long period of time, and people are not used to such exposure to the world so this experience will bring a lot of cultural change to the people.

    How is Brazil catering for the kind of infrastructure needed to host such large scale events?

    We feel we are running late in building the needed infrastructure, mainly airports and mass transportation systems. Cities like São Paulo are jammed with traffic, and the underground system is very limited. There is a lot of public pressure for the Government make decisions. The public sector doesn’t have the capacity to build all the needed infrastructure, so the private sector should be called into the project, but decisions have been slow. There is a lot of concern about corruption due to the amount of money being deployed and the need for quick decisions on contracting. The Government is reassuring us that everything will be on time, and they probably have better information to show this level of confidence, and we hope that is the case.

    With billions of dollars being injected into the economy, what efforts are being made to ensure transparency, accountability and to curb corruption?

    There are a few initiatives being launched by organizations fighting corruption, like the JOGOS LIMPOS, a coalition of several organizations like Ethos, AMARRIBO, CREA, and several others to establish methods for accountability and transparency standards, and to report on the money being spent in the organization of these events.

    Brazil has a score of 3.7 on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) in the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). What efforts will be made by the Dilma Rousseff administration to reduce corruption?

    There has been some improvement in the legal framework in Brazil in the last few years, and this is shown in the recent evaluation of Brazil’s compliance with the OAS anti-corruption convention. But there are a few projects in Congress, and one of them, the criminalization of illicit enrichment depends on the political environment in order for it to be placed on the Congress agenda. Bringing the 15th IACC to Brazil in 2012 reveals a decision to bring corruption to the political agenda. I think President Dilma sincerely wants to do something meaningful about corruption, but she also has to face the corruption culture that prevails in the country. This is an educational issue – it’s not only a question of more laws and stronger enforcement. Brazilian society must understand that corruption is bad, and this need more participation from the private sector, entrepreneurs, and all the leadership in the country to unite in condemning corruption and taking action against it. The business sector in Brazil is reluctant to engage in the fight against corruption because they think it could trigger problems for their companies. They do not want to be exposed. Business in Brazil is very dependent on Government bureaucracy, and politicians and bureaucrats can cause huge losses to a business if they want to. This is why the business community will not engage in the fight against corruption.

    In your opinion, what’s next for Brazil?

    For many years Brazil has been dubbed the country of the future. It looks like the future has arrived overnight. We now need to overcome our infrastructure limitations, and to improve education levels at a faster pace. The country is lacking good quality education, and manpower is already a limitation to economic and social growth. If the Dilma Government has a clear understanding of these needs, there will be a historical chance to create positive change in Brazil.

    This interview took place with Josmar Verillo, President of the board of directors of AMARRIBO.

    Learn more about AMARRIBO? Click here
    Learn more about JOGOS LIMPOS? Click here

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