Venezuela and Paraguay are still being perceived as the most corrupt countries in Latin America, while Chile and Uruguay remain leaders in transparency, according to a report published by the German NGO Transparency International.
The regional rankings in the annual report have remained somewhat constant for the last two years. But this year it stated that increased economic activity in the region has not made a significant improvement in the quality of life for the general population. The report also highlighted income inequality as a continuing problem.
The rankings are based on a series of critieria which measures levels of corruption. Countries can score between 0 (most corrupt) and 100 (least corrupt.)
Panama scored 38 points, ranking it in about the middle of the region.
Chile and Uruguay both had 72 points, followed by Puerto Rico (63), Costa Rica (54), Cuba (48) and Brazil (43).
Venezuela was the most corrupt country in the region with 19 points, followed by Paraguay (25), Honduras (28), Nicaragua (29) and Ecuador (32). El Salvador, Panama and Peru all had 38 points, ranking them just above Colombia (36), Argentina (35), Bolivia (34), Mexico (34), Guatemala (33) and the Dominican Republic (32).
Somalia (8 points), North Korea (8), Afghanistan (8), Sudan (13) and Myanmar (Burma) (15) were the most corrupt countries in the survey, while and Denmark (90), Finland (90), New Zealand (90), Sweden (88) and Singapore (87) were the most transparent.