In August, Argentina’s leading newspaper, La Nación, published an explosive report on public corruption. The newspaper obtained notebooks from a former government chauffeur that detailed tens of millions of dollars in bribes the driver delivered over a decade. Bribery was an open secret during the administrations of presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, but never before had such voluminous evidence publicly emerged.
As Argentines pored over the diaries, the “notebooks” scandal raised expectations that at last, the jig was up for the country’s thieving elites. The notebooks not only implicated two former presidents and their top advisors, but also senior executives from some of the country’s largest corporations that had benefited from government contracts. Recent anti-corruption movements had touched nearly every other corner of the Western Hemisphere, including Brazil’s sprawling Odebrecht probe that spread throughout Latin America in the wake of the Paradise Papers. Finally, it appeared