In a speech to staff from the IMF and the World Bank on February 20, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, identified corruption as the number one global threat. Cardinal Rodriguez, who was welcomed to the IMF event by IMF Deputy Managing Director Eduardo Aninat, has launched a number of anti-corruption and social justice initiatives of the Catholic Church in Honduras. He has also been a strong promoter of civil society involvement in the poverty reduction strategy process. His presentation was part of the IMF’s ongoing efforts to improve its dialogue with religious and civil society organizations.

Abstract

In a speech to staff from the IMF and the World Bank on February 20, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, identified corruption as the number one global threat. Cardinal Rodriguez, who was welcomed to the IMF event by IMF Deputy Managing Director Eduardo Aninat, has launched a number of anti-corruption and social justice initiatives of the Catholic Church in Honduras. He has also been a strong promoter of civil society involvement in the poverty reduction strategy process. His presentation was part of the IMF’s ongoing efforts to improve its dialogue with religious and civil society organizations.

In a speech to staff from the IMF and the World Bank on February 20, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, identified corruption as the number one global threat. Cardinal Rodriguez, who was welcomed to the IMF event by IMF Deputy Managing Director Eduardo Aninat, has launched a number of anti-corruption and social justice initiatives of the Catholic Church in Honduras. He has also been a strong promoter of civil society involvement in the poverty reduction strategy process. His presentation was part of the IMF’s ongoing efforts to improve its dialogue with religious and civil society organizations.

Cardinal Rodriguez argued that the large resources generated from the drug trade are used to “buy” government officials and other members of society, posing a threat to a country’s economic system. In his view, the best antidote against corruption is transparency. Individuals need to ask their governments more questions and hold them accountable for their actions.

On the debt situation, Cardinal Rodriguez said that debtor countries use a large portion of their resources to repay their debts, thus neglecting social programs. With such high debt payments, he asked, how can countries achieve sustainable growth? He agreed that the joint IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative is a good first step, but it needs to be adjusted further. The main problem with the Initiative is that it is too general, underscoring a need for clearer and more precise rules to ensure that the benefits flow to all eligible countries. Another problem is that the period of time before debt relief is granted is too long.

On globalization, Cardinal Rodriguez said that the largest risk from greater integration is that some countries and groups will be excluded—in which case, globalization will not work. He felt that the international community has been indifferent to the “human dimension” of globalization, as evidenced by the higher incidence of poverty, and hoped that the Catholic Church and the IMF would work together to make a better world for all people.