"The Global Challenge: Corruption and Saudade"


Hatched by Thati

Mar 15, 2024

4 min read


"The Global Challenge: Corruption and Saudade"


The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 2023 reveals a worrisome trend of corruption thriving worldwide. We witness a global weakening of judicial systems, leading to reduced accountability for public officials and allowing corruption to flourish. As corruption becomes the norm, vulnerable individuals face restricted access to justice, while the wealthy and powerful capture entire judicial systems at the expense of the common good. The problem of impunity persists, as countries with better CPI scores often fail to prosecute transnational corruption perpetrators and their facilitators. To combat corruption effectively, judicial systems must be able to hold wrongdoers accountable and keep governments in check. When justice is compromised or influenced by political interference, it is the people who suffer. Leaders must invest fully in and ensure the independence of institutions that uphold the law and fight against corruption. It is time to end the impunity surrounding corruption. The lack of judicial independence and weak rule of law also contribute to widespread impunity in the Americas.

Connecting Corruption and Saudade:

While corruption and saudade may seem unrelated at first glance, both have profound impacts on societies and individuals. Saudade, a nostalgic longing for the past, encapsulates happiness in memories yet carries sadness for what is no longer. This sentiment is cherished in various cultures, with music often expressing this particular feeling. In Portuguese, saudade is a well-known term, but it is not exclusive to the language or people. It is a sentiment that resonates across borders and languages.

Portuguese Influence:

The Portuguese colonization introduced the word "saudade" to different cultures. In Brazil, samba, bossa nova, and sertanejo music genres often lament this unique sense of longing. Similarly, the Portuguese have their own music genre called fado, known for its nostalgic essence. Saudade has deep roots in Portuguese culture, strengthened by a history of farewells and irreversible voyages, retold through centuries in literary traditions. However, claiming saudade as an exclusive sentiment of a particular language or people does not accurately reflect reality. Emotions and sensations can be expressed in various languages, even if the exact words differ. The essence of saudade transcends linguistic boundaries.

Exploring Saudade:

Saudade can be understood as the act of recalling someone or something dearly missed with a sense of sorrow. It can also represent the strong desire to reunite with a loved one or the pain caused by love for someone who is far away. It encompasses the longing for the joy experienced in past times that will never return, the sorrow of not being able to enjoy the present, and the hope of returning to a previous state of happiness in the future. Saudade conveys a feeling of loss and nostalgia, similar to the anguish of not knowing what is happening to someone who is far away or the sadness caused by the absence or loss of something or someone cherished. Many languages have specific words to express different types of saudade, such as longing for home, country, or homeland. The Greek origin of the word "nostalgia" also reflects this idea of longing to return to a place we call home.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Strengthen Judicial Systems: Governments must prioritize the independence and effectiveness of judicial systems, ensuring they have the resources and authority to hold corrupt individuals accountable. This requires investing in training, technology, and infrastructure to support transparent and efficient legal processes.
  • 2. Encourage International Cooperation: Transnational corruption poses a significant challenge. Countries with better corruption perception scores should collaborate with others to prosecute corruption perpetrators and facilitators across borders. Strengthening international cooperation and sharing best practices can enhance the fight against corruption.
  • 3. Promote Transparency and Whistleblower Protection: Transparency in both public and private sectors is crucial to combat corruption. Governments and organizations should establish robust mechanisms to protect whistleblowers who expose corruption. Whistleblower protection laws should be enacted and enforced to encourage individuals to come forward with valuable information.


The Corruption Perceptions Index of 2023 highlights the alarming prevalence of corruption worldwide, exacerbated by weakening judicial systems. Simultaneously, saudade, a sentiment deeply ingrained in various cultures, reminds us of the human longing for what is lost. Both corruption and saudade have significant impacts on individuals and societies, undermining justice, trust, and the well-being of communities. To address these challenges, governments must prioritize the independence of judicial systems, promote international cooperation, and foster transparency while protecting whistleblowers. By taking meaningful action, we can strive towards a future where corruption is effectively curbed, and the nostalgic longing for a better world is met with hope and progress.

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