lunes, 15 de mayo de 2017

Corruption in Spain: A trend that never ends

Corruption. It is a word that nowadays can be heard everywhere, in the news, in the streets, in companies… But this topic is not as recent as we think; it is nothing new as it has been active since the kingdom of Felipe III. When the Democracy started in 1975, Spanish citizens believed that, as it was a government by and for everybody corruption would end, but that didn’t happen. It can be seen that even in during the government of Adolfo Suárez (1957-1982) when over 600 people died because of the case of the rapeseed oil.
During the government of Felipe González (1982-1996) there were many cases of corruption such as the Seat case or the Guerra case in which was discovered that the vice president Alfonso Guerra helped his brother to enrich himself. With Aznar, it can be found cases such as Tabacalera or Sanlúcar, in this last one, members of the PSOE and some local businessmen tried to bribe a councilman of the PP in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.But it is during the government of Zapatero (2004-2011) when the corruption lifts, with extremely famous cases such as ERES case, or Noos case or Malaya case. But one of the most important ones was Gürtel case, led by Francisco Correa who had organized with a number of partners a business conglomerate to draw on funds from public bodies of municipalities and autonomous communities such as the Community of Madrid, Comunidad Valenciana and Galicia.

With Mariano Rajoy (2011-…) it continues with corruption, with cases such as Bárcenas or “ Tarjetas Black”, when it was revealed that during the presidencies of Miguel Blesa and Rodrigo Rato there was a Visa credit card issued by the entity (Bankia) with which they had carried out for personal expenses. But the most recent case of corruption has been operation Lezo in which Ignacio González, former president of the community, through the management of the Canal de Isabel II; Acquired Latin American companies paying a price higher than that established by the market.

These are some of the cases that Spain has faced. It is extremely complicated to give an exact number of the amount of money that has been stolen, but experts believe that it goes from 40 thousand to 90 thousand euros.
So, all these people are in jail? Have they returned they money that they stole? Most of them not. Only one of every five imputed is condemned. Another problem is that there are not enough judges (for every 100,000 habitants, there is a judge) so when they judge the accused, many times the crime has prescribed. Government sometimes gives a pardon to the accused and an example of it is the case of José Ramón Manzanares Codesal who was convicted in 2001 for a crime of prevarication. The Government of Jose Maria Aznar pardoned to him on 2004. In July of that same year he occupied again his job in a court of Sabadell. 
We can find a non-governmental organisation called Transparency International (TI), which is in charge, since 1993, of promoting different measures against corporative crimes and corruption. Every year they publish the Corruption perceptions Index. In 2016 Spain had a score of 58 (meaning 0 a lot of corruption and 100 no corruption), which placed it as the 41th country out of 176. This has supposed an improvement over other years.
Corruption affects to the whole country in two ways: economically and socially. A report done by the European Commission showed that the corruption costs 120.000 millions of euros per year to the European Union. In the social field, there have been done many studies about how corruption affects to society, one of them was published by the magazine Nature in which they discovered that individuals where more honest in countries with low index of corruption. Another study carried out by Gächter and Schulz is that corruption supposes a vicious circle and that they can become endemic in concrete parts. BR

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