in Latin America, the scavengers of the pandemic

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Latin America has millions of Covid-19 cases and tens of thousands of deaths. A tragedy that has not prevented corruption and embezzlement of all kinds at the heart of the health crisis.

Many tricks have been used to divert funds intended for the fight against the pandemic in Latin America, but the body bags case is undoubtedly the most shameless.

Last month, Ecuadorian investigators announced that they had identified a criminal network that, with the help of health officials, had won a contract to sell body bags to hospitals charged thirteen times the price of this material on the market. . One of the leaders of this network, Daniel Salcedo, then crashed in Peru aboard the plane in which he was fleeing Ecuador. He is recovering today from his accident under the supervision of the Ecuadorian police.

Latin America has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and is seeing an increase in the number of infections and victims. But, at the same time, all efforts to fight this health crisis are being sabotaged by a long series of corruption scandals.

To the highest echelons of power

Dozens of civil servants and business leaders are accused of profiting from the health crisis for personal gain by trading in influence with hospitals and local authorities, for example by reselling with large margins for products such as masks, disinfectant and respirators.

Some of the equipment was defective to the point of being unusable or even aggravating the spread of the disease. Diana Salazar, Attorney General of Ecuador, is indignant:

We saw dead bodies abandoned on the street because the health system collapsed. Exploiting the suffering of others, of all those people who see their loved ones dying, is completely immoral. ”

These frauds led investigators to the highest levels of power. Thus, the former Bolivian Minister of Health is under house arrest pending his trial for corruption: his ministry bought from an intermediary and at excessive prices 170 respirators which, moreover, malfunctioned.

False contracts and


Natalie Kitroeff et Mitra Taj

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