Why Brazil Is Winning Its Fight Against Corruption
Last month, the respected Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki died in a plane crash. He was overseeing the largest corruption investigation in the country’s history. Even if his recently selected successor, Edson Fachin, rises to the occasion, Zavascki’s death remains a tragic loss and a blow to Brazil’s fight against corruption. Especially since it comes on the heels of lawmakers torpedoing in late 2016 a widely popular effort to make it easier for prosecutors and judges to clean up government. While these events make it easy to despair, the reality reveals much more reason for hope. In our 2015 book “Greed, Corruption and the Modern State,” we argue that societies must push back against the influence of powerful economic actors in order to safeguard the public interest. The network of Brazilians exposing, prosecuting and sentencing the corrupt politicians swimming in this mar de lama, or sea of mud, embodies that ideal. However, their effort would benefit from legal reforms that make it easier to fight corruption.