DiscoverKickBack - The Global Anticorruption Podcast23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia
23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia

23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia

Update: 2020-01-27
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We welcome Andrés Hernández (@hmandres2011), executive director of Transparency International Colombia (Transparencia por Colombia), to this week’s episode of KickBack - The Global Anti-Corruption Podcast.

1. Corruption in the judiciary system
The first part of the interview focuses on the challenge of corruption in the Colombian judiciary system. Andrés outlines that according to the latest results of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, 40% believe that the judiciary system is strongly affected by corruption (see link to full resource in extra reading, GCB, 2019).
The two outline how tackling corruption in the judiciary might bring about a trade-off between accountability (e.g. disciplining judges) and judicial independence. Andrés clarifies how independence and opacity are often confused. The two discuss limitations in the current appointment procedures of high ranking public positions at the state level - you can learn the meaning behind the Colombia saying “Yo te llego, tu me ligues”. Andrés outlines how more transparency would help to avoid patronage.

2. Anti-Corruption Referendum in Colombia
The second part deals with the consulta popular - best known as the Colombian anti-corruption referendum. Andrés describes the unprecedented mobilization of the Colombian people against corruption resulting in almost 12 million people voting, more votes than the most recent presidential election. Andrés points out that the result of the referendum, although not legally binding, are politically binding to instigate change. Find out why Andrés, even though he was not excited about the concrete content of the seven points of reform, he was still optimistic in the wake of the referendum. (Sidenote: For some fun music input on the referendum Reggaeton de la corrupción (featuring Antanas Mockus), check out the links in the extra reading material)

3. Potential pitfalls of public outcry against corruption
At the time when the interview was recorded - December 2019 - protests occurred in Bogotá and other places across Colombia. Reason enough to discuss the potential and pitfalls of anti-corruption protests ongoing. Andrés emphasizes why and how protests can be an important step towards strengthening institutions, yet also the dangers it might bring about that become apparent when observing the changes in Colombia’s neighboring countries.
Andrés also voices his concern about an international anti-corruption court, why it might distract attention away from structural issues but placing too much hope in sanctions that do not instigate transformation and why it might not be pragmatic to realize. Instead, he argues it would be better to focus limited resources into stronger international capacities, stronger national judiciary systems, and for strengthening the international commitment against transnational crime.

4. Reflexion on changes in anti-corruption in the last 20 years
In the final part of the episode, Andrés looks back on the last two decades of anti-corruption efforts in Colombia. He points out how corruption has become more complex, covered up more extensively, and why such new forms of corruption require tools.
On the positive side, Andrés notes that Colombia now has stronger checks and balances and applauds the more vibrant civil society, brave journalists engaged in anti-corruption.
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23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia

23. Andrés Hernández on protest, populism, and the anti-corruption referendum in Colombia

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