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Unwelcome attention

Latin American families face a prolonged and painful journey as the full glare of international transparency standards begin to illuminate their affairs

23 November 2015

'Fire and flames for a year; ashes for thirty'. That quote comes from Giuseppe di Lampedusa's memorable book, The Leopard, about the fictional character Don Fabrizio, prince of Salina, living in Sicily in the 1860s. The book's theme, about declining power and the advancing forces of democracy and revolution, is timeless.

Latin America has experienced those forces over its long history and while in this century democracy has not succumbed to revolution, economic decline has come to those countries in the region, including South America's largest country, Brazil, that have relied heavily on exports of commodities as the demand for them dwindles. There may well be fire and flames for more than a year, even if there will not be ashes for thirty.

Although for Latin Americans, dictatorships and expropriation are more an echo from the previous century, protecting wha...

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