A festival of corruption
The University of Central America (UCA) published an editorial on May 1 titled A Festival of Corruption. In it, the UCA decries the moral bankruptcy of the ruling elites in both parties who engage in corruption large and small as part of their running of the country.
The editorial starts with the recent disclosure that senior government officials, for years, under both ARENA and FMLN administrations have been receiving "bonuses" to supplement their official salaries. The bonuses come in cash, placed in envelopes, without pay statements or receipts. It's just how it has been done, and this "off the books" way of taking money from the public coffers had simply become something government officials came to believe they were entitled to.
The problem of government officials who think of themselves and their pocketbooks first, and the country second, is seen in many other ways. Although the government runs a public healthcare system which is perpetually starved for funds and resources, members of the National Assembly and other parts of government purchase private health insurance for themselves with government funds. Hiring and firing within the legislature and government ministries is not based on merit, but jobs go to relatives and friends whose sole qualification is to say "yes" to the official party line.
All this corruption, large and small, damages the country in many ways. The editorial concludes:
Que en las élites abunde la corrupción, el favoritismo, el uso irresponsable del dinero, la manipulación, impide solucionar los grandes problemas nacionales. La decisión de desterrar la corrupción en todas sus formas, incluidas las aparentemente pequeñas e inofensivas, es básico para la reconstrucción de un país tan desigual, tan plagado de violencia, tan dispuesto a la mentira para encubrir situaciones que nada tienen que ver con la racionalidad, la justicia o la democracia.
That the elites abound in corruption, favoritism, irresponsible use of money, and manipulation, impedes the solution of great national problems. The decision to uncover the corruption in all its forms, including the seemingly small and inoffensive, is basic for the reconstruction of a country which is so unequal, so plagued with violence, so willing to lie to cover up situations that have nothing to do with rationality, justice or democracy.