From the Document: "Corruption of public office holders remains an issue for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and an increasing area of focus for U.S. foreign policy and congressional interest. The region is struggling to overcome governance challenges that have worsened over the past two years, as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented new opportunities for corruption and has frustrated efforts to combat it. The annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of the nongovernmental organization Transparency International compares perceived public sector corruption among 180 countries; the 2021 CPI notes, 'countries of the Americas have ground to a halt in the fight against corruption.' Of the 30 nations surveyed in LAC, 18 (shown in 'Figure 1') have stayed in roughly the same relative order for the past five years. The CPI measures 'perceived' rather than 'actual' corruption; actual corruption is difficult to measure because of its opaque nature and different definitions for the phenomena. However, numerous U.S. and global agencies use the CPI as a benchmark and diagnostic tool for comparing relative levels of transparency."
CRS In Focus, IF12031
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/