chapter  5
22 Pages

Brazil

The Success and Crisis of a Decentralized Mechanism for Controlling Corruption
WithDavid Arellano-Gault

Chapter 5 presents the case of Brazil, its decentralized and professional effort to abate corruption, whose success is, for some, part of the cause of the political crisis that this great country is experiencing today. Brazil has made progress in having effective anticorruption strategies based on solid checks and balances in different branches, where organizations—each fulfilling its role, without needing to coordinate perfectly—have been able to change the spectrum of corruption control. In other words, the Brazilian case shows the importance of a decentralized logic, where detection, investigation, and punishment are carried out in different instances that have different and specialized organizational capacities that manage to work by coordinating when necessary. The central point of this chapter is to show how a more institutionalized logic of overlapping of functions between different powers and institutional frameworks is capable of being effective, not without consequences and political impacts. In other words, the impressive effectiveness of some organizations in Brazil to investigate and prosecute has not been immune from being used politically to attack rivalries and from being used in political vendettas.