According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, the U.S. comes in at #19 (out of 177) while Argentina is waaaaay down the list at #106. And Uganda, where we spent a year, is even further down the index at #140. It's fun to use the interactive world map and see where different countries fall in the ratings.
I think it's pretty accurate. Before we went to Uganda we paid for one-year VISAs, but upon our arrival they refused to accept them and we had to do the paperwork all over again. It took 9 months, untold trips into Kampala by "Uncle" Sam*, and a chunk of money. [*No, I'm not referring to the U.S. government; "Uncle" Sam was on
staff at Kasana Children's Center and his full-time job was handling the
mounds of paperwork required by the government. Everyone on staff was called "Uncle" or "Auntie". But I digress...]
One of Ivan's responsibilities while there was to serve as the titular head of the vocational school, where they taught auto mechanics and various building trades. An NGO in Europe (non-profit organization) had donated equipment for the school to use, and the container arrived some months before we did. It was not released from customs until well after we left; I think it was held up in customs for over two years altogether.
These things are common, as different officials use their positions to get bribes or other types of benefits. We've heard of instances where mail was intercepted, items removed and replaced with cheap junk. And the list goes on...
You know I've made no secret of the hassle we've had since moving to Argentina, with everything from getting our permanent residency status to trying to get money into the country to buy our property... No wonder my mantra has become "¡Es lo que hay!"
So whenever you're tempted to complain about something in the states, take a minute and reflect on how much worse it is in 90% of the rest of the world!