Corruption in Bolivia

Like in most developing countries, corruption is a huge problem in Bolivia. Over here, it’s ingrained in every aspect of life. School beauty competitions are rigged in favor of the girl with the richest parents, university professors receive gifts in return for assignment extensions, bridges are built by those with no qualifications, the police receive income from unofficial “fines”, and people are sent to jail or released depending on who is lining the judges pockets. The list goes on and on. It’s everywhere.

Why doesn’t anyone do anything?

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, partly because witness protection programs are not really a thing in Bolivia. Some years ago, the body of an anti-corruption activist was discovered in La Paz so severely beaten and tortured he was virtually unrecognizable. 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.


Even at the university

My suegro works a high level position at large Bolivian university. Among other things, he helps the dean find ways to stamp out corruption. One of their co-workers was recently found beaten within an inch of his life, presumably to send a message to others.

Another theory is that he was targeted because he had an underage boyfriend, though 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 around 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 behavior recently so I can only assume he’s in the clear.

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