Unlike most other Latin American countries, Chile enjoys a reputation for integrity in public administration—regularly, the country receives the region’s highest rating from the anticorruption organization Transparency International.
For the year 2005, using standards of general corruption in the political arena, bribery in the public sector, irregular payment practices, and obstacles to business, Transparency gave Chile a 7.3 rating on a 10-point scale, making it the 21st-cleanest of 159 states evaluated in the study. The next closest Latin American country was Uruguay, which received a 5.9 rating; the 17th-ranked United States, by way of comparison, received a slightly higher rating of 7.6.
The government institutions most travelers are likely to come into contact with are immigration, customs, and police, all of which are trustworthy as institutions. There are, however, instances of renegade cops who rob, steal, and intimidate, especially in lower-class neighborhoods.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition