From an early age, we are taught that if we do something wrong we will receive a sanction. If the punishment is exemplary, we are likely to improve our behavior. If no one tells us anything or the sanction is too soft, we will surely make mistakes again. It is as simple as that. The only way to form criteria and do things right is with a well-scratched field.

What has just happened between Chile and Brazil, with the “Operation Weak Meat”, invites us to reflect on how important it is to have clear limits and rules.

The case is not minor. More than 30 companies returned the spoiled cuts to the market and, as Brazil is a global producer, a total of 150 importing countries raised alarms, concerned about the health of thousands of people, after the investigation was uncovered. Chile took the most logical decision to protect the welfare of its citizens: to stop importing chicken and meat from that country. However, this measure, which seems the most reasonable to prevent a major sanitary problem, seemed terrible to the giant of the region, to the point of rebelling and threatening retaliation against Chile. The world is upside down.

Is it valid to face such threats? Of course not. Something is not right if Brazil thinks it can pound the table like that. Even more so knowing the background. The public sector and the private sector conspired to receive payments at the expense of the health of others and nobody ever supervised properly. There is not only a lack of control here, which could have dire health consequences. Some authorities did not do their job and executives who had no ethics when positioning a product in the market. The wiretaps show that they never cared about the health of the people potentially affected, nor about the sanctions they could receive. As if they knew how to navigate perfectly in corrupt waters.

It is to be hoped that the whole world will learn lessons from this case. The end does not justify the means and even less so when third parties are highly harmed. Corruption has consequences for everyone, not only for the corrupt.