Viveza criolla

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Viveza criolla is a Spanish language phrase literally meaning "creoles' cleverness" and may be translated as "creoles' cunning",[citation needed] describing a way of life in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay,[1] Colombia and Venezuela, among other Latin American countries. It is a philosophy of progress along the line of least resistance and ignoring rules, a lack of sense of responsibility and consideration for others, and it extends to all social groups and throughout the whole country, although it predominates in Buenos Aires.[2] Viveza criolla has been called "the principal cause of a moral, cultural, economic, social and political crisis".[2] It is a similar concept to jeitinho brasileiro in Brazil.


Viveza criolla includes:

  • Lack of respect for others and indifference to the common good in a framework of individual interests.[2]
  • Political corruption, which extends in all institutions, in the form of perks, direct appropriation of public funds, favoritism, nepotism, misallocation of state resources, etc.[2]
  • Extreme individualism, with mistrust of others. This includes having little ability to partner and cooperate in community goals.[2] (Interpersonal trust is a key component of social capital, which is crucial for economic development and proper functioning of democratic institutions.)[2]
  • Anomie or weakening of the common morality, and social deviance as behavior that departs from generally accepted standards in society.[2]
  • The habit of blaming problems on others, thereby encouraging paranoia and granting a permit to self-indulgence.
  • The tendency to take advantage of or cheat others in favor of one's own self-interests, partially for reasons of self-protection and mistrust, but also to assert one's superiority and "quick-wittedness" over another. [2]


  • Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa. -- "Made the law, made the loophole."
  • Total, si no robo yo, robará otro. -- "In the end, if I do not steal, someone else will."
  • El vivo vive del zonzo y el zonzo de su trabajo. -- "The cunning lives off the sucker, and the sucker lives off his job"
  • Todos los políticos roban. Él/ella roba pero hace. -- "All politicians steal. He/she steals but delivers [social welfare, public works, infrastructure]."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diccionario del Español del Uruguay". Academia Nacional de Letras. 2011. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h ""Viveza Criolla" en Argentina". Retrieved 18 Feb 2012.