The resignation of the now ex-president of Peru Pedro Kuczynski, has been one more chapter in the complex network of corruption built between the Brazilian company Odebrecht and his companions of misdeeds of the public and private sector in Latin America. The judicial outcome of this case, made visible by media coverage, has aroused the indignation of a large part of the region’s population, and has projected a negative image of Latin American governments before the world.
It is very good that the populations are indignant because of corruption, because this way we can advance in the construction of another type of society, but that will happen when the populations have complete information about what is happening in their countries and in the world; not only the biased version of the media, which are part of the Great Planetary Corruption, together with sectors of politics and the Judiciary, frontmen of the Grand Corruptor, the International Financial Power.
It is estimated that Odebrecht paid bribes of around 200 million euros through the tax haven of Andorra, distributed among some 150 officials from at least 8 Latin American countries. It is not a smaller number, but it would be insignificant if we compare it with the 5 billion dollars that are hidden in tax havens, shady business products and tax evasion of much of the business world (including the media that tear their garments before corruption).
However, after the filtering of the Panama Papers, there has been little progress in the legal cases and media condemnation of the white-collar criminals. If we go back to the great scam of subprime mortgages that triggered the 2008 financial crisis and generated billionaire losses, we are still waiting for bankers and financiers to be judged, instead of rewarding them with public money. Not to mention the astronomical figures that are handled in the indebtedness of the countries, which end up being hostages of financial power, thanks to corrupt officials who never go to jail.
Some define the term “corruption” as “human action that transgresses legal norms and ethical principles.” The problem is that when the sense of ethics is socially relativized and media biased; when the legal norms are written by the corrupt in their white gloves, and when those who must apply the law are part of that framework; then the blindfold falls out of the eyes and the balance is unbalanced.
For a sample, a button is enough. In Argentina, after it became public (Panama Papers), that President Mauricio Macri had offshore companies, the justice system looked the other way and Congress passed a money laundering law. And when the opposition managed to include an article that prohibited momey laundering by public officials and their families, Macri modified the law by decree, allowing family members to launder, and this was how his brother managed to enter the laundered money of about 40 million dollars. For the family business.
When a journalist asked the president about the issue, he replied: “That my brother has been cleared is a right that the law gave him, he did it within the law.” Of course, such cynicism went unnoticed by the mainstream media, which was highly focused on the corruption cases of the previous government.
In times of post-truth the media have managed to impose a story favourable to their interests and those of their partners, to the point that sometimes they do not even need to lie, it is enough to install a context that induces the people themselves to draw the wrong conclusions. For example, there are many people convinced that Dilma Rousseff was dismissed because she was linked to corruption cases of Odebrecht, when in reality she could never be accused of illicit enrichment; she was impeached for “accounting issues” in the public budget, almost a minor and quite common issue.
And we could continue with many examples of the manipulation that is done through the media, working in tandem with part of the Judiciary to make visible and punish the corruption of some and ignore others. It is no coincidence that the greatest cruelty is with the corruption (true or post-truth) of progressive governments, since some of them have challenged economic power and it will never forgive them. But in reality what is sought is to discipline all politicians, so that it is known who is in charge.
Let’s not be fooled. We must fight against the corruption of every sign, but in that struggle people are alone; by no means the media and judges are reliable allies. Because they also, like traditional politicians, respond to the power of money. Money as a new deity is everywhere, and its ways are inscrutable. Because the same populations are often corrupted, by supporting rulers who promise economic welfare and consumerism, in exchange for wars, environmental degradation, or social injustice.
There are many who naturalize tax evasion, justifying it in that the State is corrupt, without realizing that this is creating a new ethical consensus for which the chicken thief is a dangerous criminal, and those who launder money to Tax Havens are respectable gentlemen.
And in a society where money is the central value, it is naturalized that the real power is the economic power, which submits to its will the other powers of the state. Politicians respond to the interests of lobbyists directly proportionally to their power; Judges can only try to respect the principle of equality before the law while the interests of real power are not at stake. Even those who try to confront the system from politics, interpret that they can not go very far if they do not accumulate their own economic power, and often end up organizing corruption mechanisms to finance the policy.
Those who genuinely wish to change the system without negotiating with economic power, or building their own, are seen as naive and credulous, without a vocation for power; and in a materialistic society nobody bets for a loser. It is a common phrase in the investigation of crimes that “you have to follow the money…”; that’s what they did with Mexico’s drug money, and they arrived to HSBC, and went nowhere. And if we follow the money route of the financial negotiations and the flight of capital, we will always find tax havens, and behind them the powers that protect them, and behind the rulers of those powers, the financial power managing the threads of the puppets.
The ways of Lord Money are inscrutable, but they will always take us to the same place. We do not believe that justice is now dealing with the facts of corruption, because it will always do so selectively, as the executioner of unruly politicians, or as a hit man in the struggle between economic mafias. As things stand in society and in the world of power, with money as a central value, we know that wherever they want to point their finger they will find corruption; but the arbitrariness to decide where to point the finger and where to look the other way, speaks of the corruption of one’s own justice system. Corruption will end when there is a Real Democracy in which the population elects by direct vote the judges, but also has mechanisms of permanent control of officials of all branches of the state. But for the population to be willing to take charge of their own destiny, an ethical revolution will be necessary that puts the human being as a central value, displacing money to a mere instrumental role.