Transparency is the new political currency and it’s being cynically exploited by those in power to pay lip service to fighting corruption while maintaining the impunity elected representatives who need to be brought to justice.
We are moving towards a less corrupt world. We use technology for open data platforms, portals, and apps to monitor government and make public procurement transparent. Governments have co-operated with these innovations mostly to win the applause of international institutions who praise them on the global stage. But politicians know very well that transparency means nothing without accountability.
Corruption is rampant across Latin America. In my home country of Paraguay we have undergone a constitutional and political crisis over the failure to address palpable corruption. In Brazil, the Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash) investigation continues to expose venality at the highest levels of government. In Argentina, a police probe into money-laundering and corruption has seen charges levelled against a former President and Vice-President. Either due to their Right to Information Laws or the tech innovations they have put to the service of transparency and openness, these countries pride themselves on their open government credentials.
Granted, greater transparency might initially lead to higher number of corruption scandals brought to light. Nevertheless, it is when the open secret of corruption becomes a public truth, but impunity remains unchecked, that we see how transparency becomes another buzzword. Thus, transparency reforms become a political currency with no other value but a façade of accountability.