Illicit Markets in Venezuela
Last September 22nd, 2023, the Colombian and Venezuelan chapters of Transparency International held a public discussion in Bogota, Colombia, on the illicit markets that, during the last decade, have originated in Venezuela due to the country's rampant corruption and institutional dismantling.
The public event began with a lecture by Mercedes de Freitas, director of Transparencia Venezuela [Venezuelan chapter of Transparency International], to present the findings of a research project on the increasing relevance of illicit markets in the Venezuelan macro-economic landscape.
Elizabeth Ungar, Colombian political and electoral reform expert, highlighted that Venezuela's current situation and its international effects exceed most conceptual frameworks to understand corruption. Ungar reminded that during the first decade of the century in Colombia, Garay-Salamanca and Salcedo-Albarán proposed the concept of Coopted State Reconfiguration to analyze the agreements between paramilitaries, public servants, and businesspeople beyond the classic corruption scenarios. The current situation in Venezuela imposes a similar theoretical and practical challenge.
Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, director of the Vortex Foundation and SciVortex Corporation, participated in the panel to discuss the challenges and opportunities to tackle transnational illicit networks, especially those that involve Colombia and Venezuela.
While discussing with Andrés Hernández, director of the Colombian chapter of Transparency International, Salcedo-Albarán highlighted the complexity of the illicit networks that flow around the world to launder billions of dollars related to corruption in Venezuela.
Hermes Dario Lara, president of the Colombian Corporation of Judges and Magistrates, discussed the necessity of promoting and securing judicial independence to confront the sophisticated processes of institutional cooptation observed in Venezuela and the region.
Some conclusions of the event stated the necessity of adopting institutional tools for transnational prosecution and promoting the discussion on the humanitarian effects that corruption and illicit markets are producing.
Images by Transparencia por Colombia, Colombian Chapter of Transparency International.