Latin Americans are protesting — and throwing out — corrupt regimes. Why now?
An anti-corruption wave is sweeping Latin America. Last week, former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli stopped fighting extradition from the United States back to Panama, where he faces several criminal charges, including corruption. But that’s just the most recent example.
This anti-corruption wave is new in the region. It comes after more than a decade and a half — 2000-2016 — in which Latin American corruption was widespread and steady. My research finds that the reason is clear: Executives weren’t being checked by the legislative and judicial branches. In the past months, those branches have stepped up and begun to do their jobs, after citizens commenced to demand accountability in face of major corruption scandals. That could change the region.