Paraguay is ranked as the third most corrupt country in the western world according to a new study by the World Bank (Haiti and Venezuela are ranked first and second respectively). Corruption ruins lives, folks. This past weekend my brother-in-law, who lives in Asuncion, had his truck stolen in front of his work. He received a call the next day from someone who claimed that he had his truck and that for $1,000 he could have it back. However, if he made any contact with the police, he would be in great danger. He scrounged up the money and they arranged for him to send the money via western union to a random spot in the interior of the country and they would wait for the truck to be at a big supermarket in the capital city. Well, they sent the money on Monday morning to hold their end of the bargain and to their great dismay, their vehicle never arrived at the agreed location. So, they were robbed twice. Then, once my bil reported the entire situation to the police, he received more contacts from other policemen telling him that for more money they would help him recover his truck. Don't get me wrong here, but I thought fighting crime was what policemen are paid to do! So, it almost makes you wonder who ISN'T involved in the corruption mafia. The worst part is that my bil suspects that even the people in the insurance company may be involved because only a week ago he changed his insurance from complete coverage (including robbery) to collision only. Sigh. Poor bil.
Putting myself in his shoes, ideally it would have been great to contact police to get them involved in the sting operation and put those bad guys behind bars. However, the sad reality is that the mafia ring is so large here that he would be putting himself and his family in great danger in doing so. He would practically have to move and change all his telephones and start over, since they knew so much about him in the first place. It really does take one's security away knowing how terrible corruption is for a country. It oppresses Paraguay in such a way, that the country cannot grow, few international businesses want to invest here and there is a great exodus of the best minds to foreign soil. This corruption has to stop, as it is effecting public welfare, including my family. This is yet another reason why we believe education and training are some of the best tools we have to teach our friends a better way of life for all of us. It is a long, slow road to introduce integrity and justice into fractured corrupt systems, but it's the only hope for this small nation.