Corruption in Honduras


What is Corruption?

Corruption is the intentional misuse of public resources for personal gain. According to Transparency International, “It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood, or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.” When coupled with weak government systems and elites looking to take advantage of their power, corruption prevents the average citizen from accessing quality public goods and services like education, health care, or protection by the police.

How Does Honduras Rank in Corruption?

Corruption is difficult to measure, because by its nature so much of it is hidden. Instead, Transparency International, the world’s largest anti-corruption organization, measures residents’ perception of the corruption in their countries, using surveys to build a picture of people affected by bribes, extortion, and other unjust abuse of public power and resources.

Points: 26

On a scale of 0 to 100 (with 0 being highly corrupt and 100 being highly transparent) Honduras received 26 points – its lowest score since 2013.

Ranking: 146

Out of 180 countries surveyed, Honduras ranked 146th in its levels of corruption – a decline from its position of 132nd in 2018.

Honduras received the 2nd lowest score among Central American countries and the 4th lowest score in all of the Americas.

These results show Hondurans’ deteriorating confidence in political leadership and institutions.

Perceptions of Corruption in Honduras

Data from Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index

What is the Effect of Corruption in Honduras?

Corruption is rampant among public officials and public institutions in Honduras, and it has a real cost to society. One study found that corruption cost Honduras over $2 billion in 2018, which is 12.5% of its GDP.

How does corruption affect the average Honduran? Because the majority of Hondurans rely on public services like education, health, and security,  corruption prevents them from accessing the services they need to live a full and dignified life. Even though corruption happens at the hands of the wealthy and powerful, it ends up primarily hurting poor Hondurans.

When politicians and public officials use their power to steal money from the state, offer political favors in hiring, or live above the law, it affects those who rely on public services like public schools or public hospitals. It means that teachers aren’t held accountable to show up to the classroom and children miss out on the opportunity for a quality education. It means that public hospitals have no medications to treat sick patients. And it means that police choose to protect the interest of criminals rather than the public. The government’s failure to provide basic services ends up deepening social problems and poverty.


What is Being Done about Corruption in Honduras?

AJS acts as Transparency International’s national chapter in Honduras, and carries out many anti-corruption and transparency initiatives. AJS has worked to uproot corruption by revealing political favoritism in education hiring, uncovering fraudulent public contracts, and monitoring the Honduran government in areas such as health, education, security and justice, infrastructure projects, and tax administration. Read more about AJS’s work in anti-corruption.

Updated February 2020