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Fecha de la publicación: 
Martes, 26 Septiembre, 2017

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Corruption: Its Paths and Impact on Society and an Agenda for Combat It in the Northern Triangle of Central America

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As this text is written (September 2017), Guatemala is experiencing a major crisis triggered by scandals of corruption; Honduras is debating the re-election of its President, in open contradiction to its Political Constitution while facing indications of corruption and related scandals. Tension is growing in El Salvador in light of legislative and municipal elections scheduled for 2018, also in the midst of scandals of corruption that exacerbates the well-known polarization of Salvadoran society. Consequently, this juncture seems to confirm the perception that the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America (TNCA, Spanish acronym) is in a constant state of crisis.

Perhaps this perception has intensified in recent years because scandals of corruption are no longer an <<open secret>>. In past decades, was there anyone in those countries who had not heard of or suffered from corruption in customs, state purchasing of medications, in campaign financing and in state contracting? Recently, these acts are starting to come to light. They are no longer rumors, but part of criminal investigations, and prosecution in the form of accusations substantiated by evidence and in trials. It’s only natural then, that the confirmation of yesterday’s suspicions and <<open secrets>> is scandalous.

That is why, in this book, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEFI, Spanish acronym) resists the <<temptation>> to be overwhelmed by the juncture marked by each corruption scandal, no matter how daunting this constant state of crisis in CORRUPTION: Its Paths and I 2 mpact on Society and an Agenda for Combat It in the Northern Triangle of Central America the TNCA may be. It delves into the phenomenon of corruption from a structural viewpoint. First, because an in depth understanding of the phenomenon is necessary intellectually, as a very delicate premise to attempt to propose solutions. But in addition, because the citizens of the TNCA hope to defeat corruption and impunity, as an indispensable step towards developing an agenda and solving the numerous problems and deprivations that assail them.

Moreover, as a specialized regional Central American entity on fiscal policy, ICEFI strengthens its awareness that comprehensive reform will increase the tax load and social public spending to attain fiscal justice in the region, and face opposition and resistance based on the argument regarding the severity of the problem of corruption. The Institute reiterates that although this will never be a valid excuse not to undertake the urgent reform needed for democratic inclusive development of the region, it is a valid complaint that every legitimate attempt for fiscal reform must bear in mind. It insists that whenever there is the intention to govern legitimately, this must be considered not only in Central America but in any part of the world, because corruption halts democratic development by undermining trust that citizens have in their authorities and weakening the capacity of the State to meet its responsibilities. For ICEFI, corruption is such a serious matter, because it is a wall that impedes the democratic transformation of the fiscal system.