Like in most developing countries corruption is a huge problem in Bolivia. Over here you will find it in every aspect of life. School beauty competitions are rigged in favour of the girl with the richest parents, university professors receive gifts in return for assignment extensions, bridges are built by those with no qualifications and inevitably collapse, the police receive income from unofficial “fines”, people are sent to jail or released depending on who is lining the judges pockets. These are just a handful of examples. It’s everywhere.
The government is taking measures to reduce the problem but they have a long way to go. Speaking out against corruption is inherently dangerous due to the real possibility of a violent backlash. Witness protection programs are not really a thing over here. Some years ago the body of an anti-corruption activist was discovered. He had been so severely beaten and tortured he was unrecognisable. His finger nails were ripped off, hands crushed in a clamp and a message was burnt onto his chest warning others not to speak out.
My suegro (missus’ dad) works a high level position at large Bolivian university. Among other things, he works with the Dean to find ways to stamp out corruption within the university. One of their co-workers was recently found beaten to within an inch of his life. It’s believed he was attacked to send a warning to others. Another theory is that he was targeted because he had an underage boyfriend, given that pedophiles are treated with the same disgust here as anywhere else. Nobody is quite sure of the motive because the guy is still in a coma. My suegro received a few strange phone calls and noticed some suspicious folk hanging outside his workplace. To be on the safe side he started carrying a knife and we agreed on a roster to meet him after work to provide safety in numbers.
UPDATE: Suegro hasn’t noticed any threatening behaviour recently so I can only assume he’s in the clear.