Protesters face gendarmes in front of the Romanian government headquarters in Bucharest on May 30. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)
Frida Ghitis is a columnist for World Politics Review and a regular CNN.com opinion contributor.
Last week, an unprecedented drama unfolded in Madrid. For the first time since Spain became a democracy, a prime ministerwas thrown outwhen he lost a no-confidence vote in parliament. Mariano Rajoy’s fall may be a first for modern Spain, but when parliament pushed him out because of a corruption scandal, his country became part of a revolt against graft that has been sweeping across the globe. Toppling presidents and prime ministers from South Korea to South America, this wave of protest is a warning to leaders accused of abusing power anywhere, including the United States.
The rising wave of successful anti-corruption movementsshould lift the spiritsof Americans appalled by an administration rife with conflicts of interest and an atmosphere of shame-free impunity. It should give pause to President Trump, whohas just announced his belief that he has the power to pardon himself if any of the dizzying number of scandals engulfing him and his administration results in his indictment and/or conviction.
Each case offers a stunning story of once-swaggering individuals – each one for a time their country’s most powerful person – crashing from the heights of influence to the depths of ignominy. A couple of months ago, the president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski,resignedfrom office rather than face indictment over corruption accusations. His predecessor, Ollanta Humala, and his wife were released from jail while prosecutors investigate their case.
The number of corruption cases in Latin America boggles the mind. Where malfeasance was commonplace, now once-powerful politicians and their accomplices are streaming through the courts and into jail. Former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molinawas also forced to stepdown when giant crowds took to the streets to demand the Guatemalan Congress lift his immunity. He is now in prison. Sohas Alvaro Colom, another former Guatemalan president convicted of illegally profiting from his position. The wildly popular former Brazilian President Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silvais serving timefor corruption, as are dozens of other Brazilians caught in what may be history’s biggest corruption scandal, known as the “Car Wash” affair. And that’s just a partial list for Latin America. continue reading from source
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