Venezuela, already known as the most corrupt country in Latin America, added to the dubious distinction last year, entering the list of the world’s top five most corrupt nations, according to Transparency International’s 2019 report.
The organization, which keeps tabs on corruption across the globe, reported that Venezuela’s corrupt practices increased last year to reach the fifth place for the first time, being surpassed only by Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The ranking is based on a point system, where zero represents the worst performance in a country’s anti-corruption practice and 100 is reserved for the best.
Venezuela, which for years has been gradually tumbling down corruption’s slippery slope, only managed to obtain 16 points, the organization said in a press release.
That score shoved Venezuela to the top five most corrupt countries from the 12th place ranking it held in 2018.
Corruption has become increasingly more frequent in Venezuela in tandem with the Nicolás Maduro regime’s efforts to solidify its totalitarian control of the country, doing away with the checks and balances system installed during the democratic years.
But the 2019 numbers are also the byproduct of the country’s political crisis, the report said.
Transparency International President Delia Ferreira Rubio said when presenting the report that countries must do more to combat corruption because it threatens the population’s faith in democracy.
“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” she said. “Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”