The U.S. State Department lists several politicians and officials from Guatamela, Honduras and El Salvador as “allegedly” corrupt.
A U.S. State Department report on Central American officials “supposedly” supposedly “being” corrupt includes five Salvadoran officials (PDF) with ties to President Nayib Bukele, six incumbent Honduran lawmakers and two Guatemalan lawmakers, according to a published list (PDF) by the office of U.S. Representative Norma Torres on Tuesday.
The list emerged less than a week after the visit of the special envoy of the United States to Central America, Ricardo Zuniga the Savior and met with Bukele amid a push by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to tackle corruption and strengthen the rule of law in the region.
In the report I requested, which is now public, the U.S. government acknowledges the corruption that the authoritarians and their Central American allies deny and try to hide.
– Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) May 18, 2021
The United States has made strengthening democracy one of the pillars of its policy toward Central America, saying rampant corruption is one of the root causes of illegal immigration.
“We cannot expect the people of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to thrive at home while their elected officials are more focused on self-enrichment than on serving the public,” said Torres, a California Democrat who chairs the Caucus. of Central America. on Tuesday.
“This list is an important step, but it is only the first step in holding these officials accountable.”
Bukele’s fledgling party of new ideas swept the February legislative elections, taking control of the unicameral congress and voting immediately this month to remove the top anti-corruption prosecutor and several high court magistrates who had blocked the ‘agenda of the president.
While Bukele remains very popular at home after decades of corrupt government that followed the end of the country’s bloody civil war, his critics in the United States say concentrating power is undermining already fragile institutions.
The most prominent officer on the list is Bukele’s chief of staff, Carolina Recinos, who has worked alongside the president since entering politics as mayor of the small town of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front created by left-wing rebels after the end of the civil war. war. There were no details of Recinos’ alleged violation.
He is also named Rogelio Rivas, who last month was replaced as Minister of Security and Justice. The State Department said Rivas awarded his own construction company several non-competitive, unannounced contracts to build police stations and other buildings that were below its official capacity and then inflated the cost of materials.
Also included is parliamentarian Guillermo Gallegos, founder of the GANA party that broke El Salvador’s bipartisan system to support Bukele’s 2019 presidency.
Also included are two former FMLN lawmakers, Sigfrido Reyes and Jose Luis Merino, the latter a deputy foreign minister of the FMLN government who preceded the Bukele administration.
Bukele, who has accused the U.S. of heaviness, used irony to dismiss the report, a copy of which circulated earlier on Friday on social media. He said he was surprised that El Salvador’s “friends” after reviewing his files could not find any instance of corruption within the conservative ARENA party, one of his frequent targets.
“Maybe they think they’re all saints,” he wrote on Twitter. “That’s why they insist that we bring them back to power.”