The Panama Papers have taken the world by storm. If you haven't already, check out the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It's just an incredible thing to look through.
It is a reminder, if indeed we needed one, that greed transcends ideology. Thus we have the Chilean far-right:
Alfredo Ovalle Rodríguez was president of Chile's largest and most important business organization from 2006 to 2008. He was also president of the Chilean National Mining Society (Sonami) from 2005 until resigning in late 2009 following questions raised by the Chilean Center for Investigative Journalism, CIPER, about his longtime ties to the former head of finance for DINA, a secret police force under former President Augusto Pinochet. Ovalle was the link between DINA’s Humberto Olavarría Aranguren, who was his partner in domestic and foreign companies, and former Panama President Guillermo Endara, who had explained the value of incorporating in Panama to Ovalle during the 1960s in New York. Endara helped Olavarría create companies tied to Operation Condor, which involved terrorist attacks on political dissenters, including the 1976 Washington, D.C. car-bomb assassination of a former Chilean ambassador to the United States.
And the Ecuadorian left:
Galo Chiriboga is an Ecuadorian lawyer and politician. Chiriboga is currently Ecuador’s attorney general. He previously served as minister for labor, minister for mines and petroleum and ambassador to Spain. He is a distant relative of Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa.
What will the political fallout be? At this point we're in what you might call "data dump mode." The details are coming out but it's an avalanche. This will be injected into already difficult political situations in places like Brazil (and see Simon Romero's piece today in the NYT about corruption in Worker's Party) and Venezuela. It will affect Panama itself as the epicenter. Mauricio Macri and Enrique Peña Nieto are specifically mentioned.
But it is also occurring at a time when anti-corruption actions are more active than ever before in Latin America. Therefore this is a good time to be a prosecutor. It would be useful to use the Panama Papers to push for extended international assistance in pursuing prosecutions of corruption. Of course, one difficulty is that presidents may well have associates or officials in their government who are implicated, which would make them resistant to losing control of the prosecution process. But the time is ripe for pushing back harder against corruption.
For now we sit back and watch. Hopefully this won't just be a string of resignations followed by business as usual.