Corruption in Venezuela
Corruption in Venezuela, as with its surrounding countries, is high by world standards. In the case of Venezuela, the discovery of oil in the early twentieth century had worsened political corruption, and by the late 1970s, the description of oil as "the Devil's excrement" had become a common expression.
Corruption is difficult to measure reliably, but one well-known measure is the Corruption Perceptions Index, produced annually by the Berlin-based NGO, Transparency International (TNI). Venezuela has been one of the most corrupt countries in TNI surveys since they started in 1995, ranking 38th out of 41 that year and performing similarly badly in following years (e.g. 158th out of 180 countries in 2008, the worst in Latin America except Haiti, and one of the 10 most corrupt countries on the index in 2012, ranked 165th out of 176 (tied with Burundi, Chad, and Haiti)). TNI public opinion data says that most Venezuelans believe the government's effort against corruption is ineffective, that corruption has increased and that government institutions such as the judicial system, parliament, legislature and police are the most corrupt. According to TNI, Venezuela is currently among the top 20 most corrupt countries in the world ranking 17 and its judicial system has been deemed the most corrupt in the world.
1999 – present
In Gallup Poll's 2006 Corruption Index, Venezuela ranks 31st out of 101 countries according to how widespread the population perceive corruption as being in the government and in business. The index lists Venezuela as the second least corrupt nation in Latin America, behind Chile.
In August 2006, following assaults on a squatter and a National Assembly member, El Universal says that Chávez called on the latest Minister, Jesse Chacón to quit if he could not do the job, demanding more rigor in the fight against corruption, and affirming the need to clean up and transform the local police forces. He questioned the impunity that exists in the country, and challenged authorities, like Chacón, to resign if they couldn't make progress against crime. He also called for greater protection of squatters settling on landed estates.
Some criticism has come from Chávez's supporters. Chávez's own political party, Fifth Republic Movement (MVR), has been criticized as being riddled with the same cronyism, political patronage, and corruption that Chávez alleged were characteristic of the old "Fourth Republic" political parties. Venezuela's trade unionists and indigenous communities have participated in peaceful demonstrations intended to impel the government to speed up labor and land reforms. These communities, while largely expressing their sympathy and support for Chávez, criticize what they see as Chávez's slow progress in protecting their interests against managers and mining concerns, respectively.
According to some sources Venezuela's corruption includes widespread corruption in the police force. Many victims are afraid to report crimes to the police because many officers are involved with criminals and may bring even more harm to the victims. Even major government and military officials have been known for their involvement with crime. Members of the Venezuelan government were accused of providing financial aid to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah. Senior Venezuelan government officials have been known to associate with the narcotic terrorist organization FARC and "armed, abetted, and funded the FARC, even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents". There have been several incidents involving drugs being trafficked from Venezuela with supposed aid from corrupt officials, including September 2013, an incident of men from the Venezuelan National Guard placing 31 suitcases containing 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Paris flight astonished French authorities.
- From 1917, "greater awareness of the country's oil potential had the pernicious effect of increasing the corruption and intrigue amongst Gomez's family and entourage, the consequences of which would be felt up to 1935 – B. S. McBeth (2002), Juan Vicente Gómez and the Oil Companies in Venezuela, 1908–1935, Cambridge University Press, p17.
- "The perception of petroleum as the cause of Venezuela's corruption had become widespread during this period." – Coronil, F. (1988), The magical state: nature, money, and modernity in Venezuela, p353
- Transparency International, 15 July 1995, 1995 TI Corruption Index
- Transparency International, 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, accessed 30 June 2009
- "Factbox: Transparency International's global corruption index". Reuters. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- "GLOBAL CORRUPTION BAROMETER 2010/11". Transparency International. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "CORRUPTION BY COUNTRY / TERRITORY: VENEZUELA". Transparency International. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Steve Crabtree and Nicole Naurath Gallup Launches Worldwide Corruption Index Gallup Poll News Service Accessed 21 Dec 2006.
- Diaz, Sara Carolina. Chávez exige acabar con latifundios. El Universal (7 August 2006).
- Fuentes, F. (2005), "Challenges for Venezuela's Workers’ Movement". Green Left Weekly. Accessed 15 February 2006.
- Márquez, H. (2005),  Inter Press Service. Accessed 2 February 2006.
- Parma, A. Venezuela Analysis (2005a), "Pro-Chavez Union Leaders in Venezuela Urge Chavez to Do Better". Venezuela Analysis. Accessed 26 January 2006.
- Reel, M. "Crime Brings Venezuelans Into Streets". Washington Post (10 May 2006), p. A17. Accessed 24 June 2006.
- "Treasury Targets Hizballah in Venezuela". Press Release. United State Department of Treasury. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "Treasury Targets Venezuelan Government Officials Supporting the FARC". Press Release. United States Department of Treasury. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Meza, Alfredo (26 September 2013). "Corrupt military officials helping Venezuela drug trade flourish". El Pais. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Venezuela Corruption Profile from the Business Anti-Corruption Portal
- Gregory Wilpert (November/December 2006). "Corrupt Data". Extra!.
- Kiraz Janicke (18 June 2008). "Venezuela’s Electoral Council to Respect Disqualification of Candidates Accused of Corruption". Venezuela Analysis.