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U.S. Designates Corrupt Actors in Central America

Guatemala's Attorney General Maria Consuelo Porras. (File)
Guatemala's Attorney General Maria Consuelo Porras. (File)

The United States is committed to supporting democratic governance and the rule of law in Central America.

U.S. Designates Corrupt Actors in Central America
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The United States is committed to supporting democratic governance and the rule of law in Central America. To advance this priority, the State Department added seven individuals to the United States’ Undemocratic and Corrupt Actors list, under Section 353 of the United States–Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act. This generally makes the individuals ineligible for visas and admission to the United States.

These designations were made in response to recent actions that undermined democracy and obstructed corruption investigations in El Salvador and Guatemala, respectively.

In El Salvador, Elsy Dueñas De Aviles, Oscar Alberto López Jerez, Hector Nahun Martinez Garcia, Jose Angel Perez Chacon, and Luis Javier Suárez Magaña, current Magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, undermined democratic processes or institutions by accepting direct appointments to the Chamber by the Legislative Assembly. This process appears to be in violation of the Salvadoran constitution.

The previous five Magistrates were abruptly removed without legitimate cause following the May 1 seating of the newly elected Legislative Assembly. After being installed, the new Magistrates declared their own installation by the Legislative Assembly to have been constitutional. The Magistrates then approved a controversial interpretation of the Constitution authorizing re-election of the President despite express prohibitions in the Constitution forbidding consecutive terms of the Presidency.

In Guatemala, Maria Consuelo Porras , current Attorney General of Guatemala, obstructed investigations into acts of corruption by interfering with criminal investigations in order to protect political allies and gain personal political favor. Porras’ pattern of obstruction included ordering prosecutors in Guatemala’s Public Ministry to ignore cases based on political considerations and actively undermining corruption investigations carried out by the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity, including by improperly firing its lead prosecutor, Juan Francisco Sandoval.

Moreover, Angel Pineda, the current Guatemalan Secretary General of the Public Ministry, obstructed anticorruption probes.

The United States will continue to promote accountability for attacks on democratic institutions and processes, the obstruction of anticorruption efforts, and corrupt acts in Central America. The U.S. will also continue to support efforts to advance the prosperity and security of the people of the region in partnership with Central American civil society, the private sector, and governments, including advancing inclusive economic growth and fighting transnational crime.

“We will continue partnering with government officials who show a dedication to combating corruption and strengthening democratic governance,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “including as part of an overall policy of addressing the root causes of irregular migration.”