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Venezuela

Capital

Caracas

Territory

882,050km²

Population (2020)

28,435,943

GDP Total (2020)

482.4B USD

GDP Per Capita (2020)

16,056 USD

Icome Group

unknown

Convention Implementation

60.9
In progress

Western Hemisphere Ranking

60.7

19th of 31 countries

South America Ranking

63.2

9th of 12 countries

Corruption Resilience

15.1
Vulnerable

Western Hemisphere Ranking

54.4

31st of 31 countries

South America Ranking

53.9

12th of 12 countries

Convention Implementation

Score by thematic sections and measures

Prevention

In progress
44.6

Western Hemisphere 46.3

South America 47.3

Standards of Conduct

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 42.8

South America 48.0

Enforcement of Standards of Conduct

In progress
59.3

Western Hemisphere 50.6

South America 58.7

Training of Public Officials

N/A
Not applicable

Western Hemisphere 36.8

South America 44.5

Asset and Conflicts of Interests Declarations

Core-deficient
42.9

Western Hemisphere 42.3

South America 45.8

Transparency in Government Contracting

Core-deficient
35.9

Western Hemisphere 33.1

South America 40.3

Elimination of Favorable Tax Treatment

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 47.1

South America 49.2

Oversight Bodies

Core-deficient
36.7

Western Hemisphere 36.0

South America 37.6

Measures to Deter Domestic and Foreign Bribery

Core-deficient
28.9

Western Hemisphere 36.7

South America 40.6

Encouraging Participation by Civil Society

Core-deficient
40.6

Western Hemisphere 43.0

South America 52.8

Study of Other Prevention Measures

N/A
Not applicable

Western Hemisphere 44.9

South America 48.1

Criminalization and law enforcement

In progress
62.1

Western Hemisphere 61.1

South America 64.1

Protection of Those who Report Acts of Corruption

Core-deficient
33.5

Western Hemisphere 30.7

South America 34.8

Scope

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.7

South America 75

Jurisdiction: Offense-in-Territory

Implemented
82.8

Western Hemisphere 74.6

South America 77.8

Jurisdiction: Offense-by-National

Implemented
82.8

Western Hemisphere 51.9

South America 62.6

Jurisdiction: Offender-in-Territory

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 58.8

South America 79.1

Passive Public Bribery

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 55.8

South America 55.3

Active Public Bribery

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 56.4

South America 55.3

Abuse of Functions

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 47.0

South America 48.4

Money Laundering

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 55.8

South America 54.3

Participation and Attempt

In progress
47.6

Western Hemisphere 58.4

South America 56.4

Active Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 39.0

South America 34.4

Illicit Enrichment

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 54.7

South America 59.2

Use of State Property

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.5

South America 85.5

Illicit Acquisition of a Benefit

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 52.1

South America 59.5

Public Embezzlement

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 77.6

South America 83.2

Passive Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 25.6

South America 22.0

Private Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 22.7

South America 26.4

Private Embezzlement

Core-deficient
21.8

Western Hemisphere 64.7

South America 70.4

Obstruction of Justice

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 71.4

South America 79.1

Liability of Legal Persons

Implemented
82.8

Western Hemisphere 61.3

South America 60.6

Statute of Limitations

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.6

South America 84.3

Prosecution, Adjudication and Sanctions

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 69.5

South America 71.2

Consequences and Compensation

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 70.3

South America 77.4

Cooperation With Law Enforcement

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 72.2

South America 72.9

Asset Recovery

Core-deficient
35.9

Western Hemisphere 66.4

South America 68.4

International cooperation

In progress
67.7

Western Hemisphere 68.9

South America 72.5

Assistance Without Criminalization

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 79.8

South America 82.8

Inclusion in Extradition Treaties

In progress
54.6

Western Hemisphere 55.1

South America 55.3

Convention as Legal Basis for Extradition

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 47.5

South America 55.2

Automatic Application Without Treaty

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 52.7

South America 54.9

Prosecution Without Extradition

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 57.2

South America 58.7

Custody

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 73.4

South America 70.1

Assistance

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 58.0

South America 64.6

Impossibility of Claiming Bank Secrecy

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.0

South America 86.3

Limited Use of Information

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 82.6

South America 89.5

Nature of Act

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.3

South America 83.3

Designate Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 75.9

South America 86.5

Responsibilities of Central Authorities

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 71.5

South America 74.9

Communication Between Central Authorities

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 67.3

South America 78.3

Special Investigative Techniques

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 56.9

South America 52.0

Technical Cooperation

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 62.8

South America 78.3

Anti-corruption conventions timeline

199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019

Conventions

  • IACAC - Inter-American Convention Against Corruption
  • UNCAC - United Nations Convention against Corruption
  • OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Key events

  • Signed
  • Ratifed / acceded
  • Review rounds

Convention Implementation Analysis

Venezuela signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) on March 29, 1996, and ratified it on May 22, 1997. It is a State Party to the Follow-Up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) since June 4, 2001. The country also signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on December 10, 2003, and subsequently ratified it on February 2, 2009. Accordingly, Venezuela has undergone four rounds of review under MESICIC (the fifth round of review was reportedly postponed for reasons of force majeure), and one round of review under the UNCAC review mechanism.

Venezuela’s record in implementing its commitments to IACAC and UNCAC exhibits a number of successes but also a modicum of failures. With an overall score of 61.0, the measures adopted place the country at the lower middle point of compliance with international norms, surrounded by Haiti (58.2), Paraguay (60.8), Bolivia (62.7), and Panama (63.5). Although the country evidences a gradual increase in the rate of success from one section of measures to the other, the difference is not significant enough to bring special attention to the distribution of efforts. Overall, Venezuela’s efforts are considered to be well distributed across the three sections, with roughly two fifths of all measures reviewed found to be in progress. Yet, as is the case throughout the region, the prevention of corruption receives a lower score (44.6) than both criminalization and law enforcement (62.1) and international cooperation (67.7).

The prevention of corruption is deficient but not totally lacking, classified as “in progress” by its average score and with a majority of measures found to be deficient, including transparency in government contracting (35.9), the state of oversight bodies (36.7), and the systems for registering asset and conflict of interests' declarations (43.0), among others. Indeed, preventive measures account for almost half of all failing measures in Venezuela. Three measures are considered to be in progress: the adoption of standards of conduct (50.0) and their enforcement (59.4), and the elimination of favorable tax treatment for corrupt expenditure (62.5). No measure in this section is classified as fully or largely unimplemented.

In terms of criminalization and law enforcement, Venezuela shows better results than those regarding prevention, although a few significant issues remain. The country has deficiently criminalized embezzlement in the private sector (as required by UNCAC) (21.9) and has not adopted sufficient protection for those who report acts of corruption (i.e., whistleblower protection) (33.6) or taken sufficient actions to pursue asset recovery (35.9). Concerning whistleblower protection, the UNCAC review mechanism states that “[t]here is no specific law for the protection of reporting persons.” Moreover, three important measures remain fully unimplemented: the criminalization of active and passive bribery of foreign officials and bribery in the private sector. Other measures remain in progress, including those pertaining to active and passive public bribery, the abuse of functions, and money laundering—all of which receive a score of 50.8 due to limitations in their legal features and absence of statistical information on the results of their enforcement—among others.

Venezuela is found largely compliant in its commitments to establish jurisdiction over the offenses covered by the conventions. However, the UNCAC review mechanism reports some issues concerning the country’s jurisdiction “over offenses committed by one of its nationals or by a stateless person who has his or her habitual residence in its territory…; over acts of participation and attempt committed abroad in money-laundering offenses…; as well as over the offenses established under the Convention when the alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite him or her”. The country also shows reasonable progress in its commitments regarding international cooperation, with an average section score of 67.7.

Corruption Resilience

Score by indicator

Social Context

Vulnerable
20.7

Western Hemisphere 64.8

South America 64.2

Quality of Government

Vulnerable
12.6

Western Hemisphere 50.6

South America 52.4

Rule of Law

Vulnerable
12.6

Western Hemisphere 51.1

South America 50.7

Business Stability

Vulnerable
17.6

Western Hemisphere 50.5

South America 48.1

Violence & Security

Vulnerable
12.1

Western Hemisphere 55.0

South America 54.4

Corruption Resilience score over the time

Analysis

Venezuela's social context indicator score declined by 0.22 points from the previous year. The country is one of the lowest performing along with Cuba and Nicaragua, where it was 44.14 points below the Western Hemisphere average of 64.89 for 2020. Since 2010 the country's score has declined due to the complete breakdown of the democracy in 2017. Venezuela falls within the bottom percentile for the Western Hemisphere region for the entire decade. During the decade, the minimum and maximum scores for Venezuela were 20.75 (2020) and 39.68 (2010), with a range of 18.93 points. Venezuela's social context indicator score for 2020 is primarily because of the country's authoritative regime and widespread corruption. Thus, civil liberties and political rights are not respected. The media, for example, consists of state-dominated media and independent media outlets, where the latter is a minority within the government and is severely restricted. The independent media outlets in Venezuela constantly face intimidation, threats, harassment, and violence when they criticize the government and its activities.

The country's quality of government indicator for 2020 declined by 1.65 points from the previous year. Venezuela's indicator score is one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere countries and South American countries, and the country is below the Western Hemisphere average of 50.63 by 37.96 points for 2020. Again, the country's indicator score falls within the bottom percentile for the Western Hemisphere in 2020 and throughout the decade. The country has consistently been the lowest-performing country, where it attained the lowest indicator score in 2020 with 12.67 and the highest indicator score in 2014 with 25.96, with a range of 13.29 points. Venezuela's government indicator for 2020 is mainly influenced by the breakdown of democracy and widespread corruption within the country.

Venezuela's rule of law indicator declined by 1.15 points from the previous year. Throughout the decade, the country's rule of law has been consistently low, where it's below the Western Hemisphere average of 51.15 by 38.46 points for 2020. The country has attained the highest indicator score in 2011 of 24.84 and its lowest indicator score in 2020, with a range of 12.15 points. Again, Venezuela is the lowest ranking for both the region and subregion. Venezuela's rule of law indicator is mainly because of the complete lack of judicial independence and politicization. A 2020 United Nations reports stated that the complete lack of judicial independence makes it impossible for the courts to protect human rights.

The country's business stability indicator for 2020 increased by 0.74 points from the previous year. Once again, the country was below the Western Hemisphere average of 50.53 by 32.86 points for 2020. Throughout the decade, the country's score varies and was consistently low, where it attained its highest indicator score in 2012 with 23.46 and its lowest indicator score in 2020, with a range of 5.79 points. The country's indicator score is attributed to the completely inadequate regulatory system that governed the private business sector.

Venezuela's violence and security indicator score for 2020 declined by 1.22 points from the previous year. Between 2016 and 2017, the country experienced a 15.57-point decline, attributed to democratic fragility and eventual breakdown. The country was below the Western Hemisphere average of 55.04 by 42.87 points for 2020.