US embassy cable - 02TEGUCIGALPA2556

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL RATES HONDURAS AMONG THE MOST CORRUPT IN THE REGION

Identifier: 02TEGUCIGALPA2556
Wikileaks: View 02TEGUCIGALPA2556 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tegucigalpa
Created: 2002-09-11 21:33:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: KJUS KDEM PGOV ECON PHUM HO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 002556 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
WHA/CEN, DRL, AND EB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KJUS, KDEM, PGOV, ECON, PHUM, HO 
SUBJECT: TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL RATES HONDURAS AMONG 
THE MOST CORRUPT IN THE REGION 
 
REF: TEGUCIGALPA 01927 
 
1.  (U) SUMMARY:  On August 29, Transparency International 
released its 2002 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking 
Honduras 71 of 102 countries analyzed.  Honduras scored 2.7 
on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being a perfect score) - the 
same score it received in 2001.  The CPI highlighted the fact 
that Honduras is the third most corrupt country in Central 
America, trailing Nicaragua and Guatemala.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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THE INDEX 
--------- 
 
2.  (U) Transparency International (TI) is the world,s 
leading non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting 
corruption.  It is an international organization based in 
Germany, which has more than 80 independent national chapters 
around the world.  First initiated in 1995, the 2002 CPI 
draws on 14 different surveys that derive information from 
both residents and expatriates - including business people, 
academia and risk analysts.  The CPI does not measure the 
prevalence of actual corruption, but rather measures the 
degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public 
officials and politicians.  The index provides a snapshot of 
the views decision-makers who make key decisions on 
investment and trade.  The purpose of the CPI is to build 
public awareness about corruption and to increase pressure on 
governments to directly address the issue. 
 
3.  (U) TI defines corruption as the abuse of public office 
for private gain.  TI considers a variety of factors, 
including the tendency of a country to receive international 
bribes, the illicit enrichment of public officials, national 
codes of conduct, the capability to identify cronyism, 
transparency in the government acquisition system and public 
access to information. 
 
-------------------------- 
HONDURAS RECEIVES BAD MARK 
-------------------------- 
 
4.  (U) On August 29, TI released its 2002 CPI that ranked 
Honduras number 71 out of a total of 102 countries analyzed. 
Honduras received a score of 2.7 on a scale of 1 to 10 - 10 
indicating the lowest level of corruption, or a "perfect" 
score.  This is the same score Honduras received in the 2001 
CPI.  According to the CPI Honduras is the third most corrupt 
country in Central America, trailing only Nicaragua and 
Guatemala (both with a score of 2.5).  Costa Rica led the 
Central American countries with a score of 4.5, while Chile 
received the highest mark in all of Latin America with a 
score of 7.5. 
 
5.  (U) German Espinal, coordinator of the technical agency 
for the Honduran National Anticorruption Commission, said 
that Honduras,s ranking in the CPI reflects deterioration of 
the country,s democratic credibility, and signals the 
challenge the government faces in trying to gain public 
confidence. 
 
---------------------------- 
BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE 
---------------------------- 
 
6.  (U) President of TI Peter Eigen underscored the fact that 
there have been a number of setbacks "to the credibility of 
democratic rule" in Latin America in the past year. 
Argentina joined Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, 
Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti and Paraguay with a score 
of 3 or less in the CPI 2002.  Peru, Colombia, Mexico, El 
Salvador, Panama, Argentina, Guatemala, Venezuela and Ecuador 
all received lower scores in 2002 than in 2001.  With scores 
plunging in many Latin American countries, some observers 
opine that Honduras,s score is not so bad. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7.  (SBU) Reftel outlines recent anticorruption efforts in 
Honduras and provides a summary of the strides that have been 
made.  There is no question that corruption is still 
pervasive in Honduras, but there has been some measurable 
progress.  However, the positive developments that have 
occurred have not been enough to adequately address the 
problem, and as reflected in the CPI, the public confidence 
of Hondurans has not improved. 
 
PIERCE 

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