Redirecting the Panama Papers

By: Christopher Razo, Jessica Cruz, and Melanie Landa, Research Associates at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

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 The Panama Papers, the historic massive leak of documents exposing potential tax evasion and misuse of financial accounts, struck the entire globe this past April 4. The world turned its attention on the Panamanian law firm involved, Mossack Fonseca. In a blink of an eye, Panama was in the spotlight and the country was threatened to be included in a blacklist of tax haven and money laundering countries, which would “deal a heavy blow to Panama’s vital financial services sector.”[1] But the implications of such events suggest the ignorance of a much more expansive concern and reality: the ongoing corruption that is hugely embedded in Latin American democracies. While the banking system in Panama is being investigated and that country’s reputation is in

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