Global Politics

Surveying corruption in some hot spots

DM: Somalia is now recognized to be Africa's most corrupt country. this may seem a bit unfair with no central government since 1991. Somalia is also ranked as a leading failed state. Food aid is one such example: the World Food Program has paid thousands of dollars in bribe each day to local militias to get food aid delivered. On average one U.N. truckload will have to clear 13 militia checkpoints paying a total of $500 dollars in bribes. The country is suffering its worst drought in a decade and 30 civilians were killed on Monday in fighting adding to the 8,000 deaths there last year. Perhaps corruption isn't that big of a deal compared to those figures.

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QL: When told that Afghanistan was rated as the second most corrupt country in Asia, most Afghans felt it could be worse. The Kabul Customs Office is a good example as customs officials help navigate through red tape with bribes. This officer said everyone knows a bribe helps things move faster. This student has been trying to register his car for two months. One wealthy businessman says he stopped doing any business with the government. The Taliban insurgency is gaining steam now and many Afghans say corruption is a main reason people switch allegiances from the government to the insurgency.

GH: Bulgaria holds the dubious honor of most corrupt country in Europe, an act it was supposed to clean up when it joined the European Union. The EU Commissioner said Bulgaria still has a long way to go especially with law enforcement. Case in point: these brothers who were first famous wrestlers and then gangsters. Police arrested them in 2005 for murder and money laundering as proof that the country was serious about cleaning house, but it was learned this summer that the brothers spent this summer partying on the Black Sea. But Bulgaria has made some progress says this analyst especially in public administration. Yet a more recent study revealed that most Bulgarians perceive corruption to be a normal part of daily life. The analyst says that's because of high profile cases of corruption. The EU has frozen aid assets to Bulgaria until it is convinced that tackling corruption is a priority for Bulgaria.

JI: oil rich Venezuela just beats out Haiti as the Western hemisphere's most corrupt country, which is a damning indictment for a country undergoing such huge social and political change, change which was meant to offer a bright, new future under a socialist government. For many, corruption is a part of daily life. Many are suspicious that corruption goes right to the central government. This kind of corruption is part of the culture and it seems nothing much here will change.

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