The US reiterated its commitment to the fight against corruption


The US reiterated its commitment to the fight against corruption. However, we expressed concern about the situation in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Todd D. Robinson and Brian A. Nichols, from the State Department, also referred to the crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua, highlighting the recent Summit for Democracy led by Joe Biden.

On Tuesday, the United States reiterated its commitment to the fight against corruption and its efforts for democracy not only at the national level but also throughout the region. In this sense, two senior officials of the State Department expressed their concern about the efforts to combat corruption in countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador, and the grave situation that the peoples of Venezuela and Nicaragua are going through in the face of persecution and the threat of dictatorships. by Nicolás Maduro and Daniel Ortega.

During a teleconference in which Infobae participated, Todd D. Robinson, undersecretary of the Office of International Narcotics Affairs and Law Enforcement, and Brian A. Nichols, undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, also highlighted the importance of the Summit for Democracy led last week by President Joe Biden.

"The Summit was an opportunity to participate, listen and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy inside and outside the United States. Then, work together with like-minded governments, civil society, and the private sector, establish new commitments and thus build a basis for democratic renewal worldwide," said Robinson.

The US official recalled that "the fight against corruption was one of the main themes" of the Summit: "We ask the participating countries to make significant commitments: to promote democracy, fight corruption and promote human rights."

"The United States made similar commitments. For example, we are bidding to host the 10th conference of the United Nations Convention against corruption in 2023. Similarly, we launched rapid response funds against corruption in cooperation with the Department of Justice to provide competent advice such as mentoring. Thus, 2022, and perhaps 2023, are going to be important years for the United States in terms of anti-corruption and good governance issues," he added.

Brian Nichols, meanwhile, stressed that President Biden established "the fight against corruption as a central national security interest of the United States." "Across the world, corruption undermines economic opportunities, violates human rights, and limits citizens' trust in democratic institutions."

The Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs expressed Washington's concern about "the persistent corruption in the Maduro regime and its participation in illicit activities to finance repression in Venezuela." In addition, he lashed out at "the electoral farce" of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua. He questioned the entire functioning of the rule of law and the institutions in El Salvador and Guatemala.

The State Department official also referred to the situation in Honduras, "a country that faces immense challenges," and in which President Xiomara Castro was recently elected: "We hope that President-elect Castro will generate changes that favor more transparent governance and a stricter rule of law, including the establishment of an internationally-backed commission to combat corruption."

Regarding Guatemala, Robinson described the new Supreme Court as "questionable" and criticized the management of the prosecutor Consuelo Porras: "The government has a long history of profound challenges in trying to establish and maintain the law. The new court is questionable, and prosecutor Consuelo Porras, who downplays credible anti-corruption investigations, further threatens to perpetuate the record of challenges and downplays the last vestiges of the CICIG. "

"The prosecutor suddenly fired Francisco Sandoval from the office against impunity, who was recognized by the United States as a leader against corruption this year," he added.

Both officials recalled that last week the United States sanctioned two high-ranking officials of the Nayib Bukele government for their alleged involvement in covert negotiations with leaders of the Salvadoran criminal organization Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).

"We are focused on the importance of the fight against corruption in Guatemala. It is a friendly country and an ally on many issues, such as migration, the development of the private sector, and the fight against drug trafficking. We have a joint focus on improving the situation of the Guatemalan people. However, we have great concerns that the fight against corruption has not progressed as we would like, and we would like to see concrete steps against individuals and institutions", Nichols completed.

The other two axes of the conference were the crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua. While acknowledging that Washington is waiting for how the interim government of Juan Guaidó will continue in the future, Nichols affirmed that the White House would continue to recognize him as interim president of Venezuela.

Robinson warned that the United States will continue working with its allies "to curb drug trafficking from Venezuela to the United States and other countries in the region, such as Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Central America." "We do not doubt that the Maduro regime is an autocracy, and all the countries of the region and the Caribbean have to be aware of the criminality of this regime."

About Nicaragua, Nichols celebrated the measures adopted by the Biden government, sanctioning dozens of Nicaraguan officials and the Ortega family itself and the recent resolutions of the Organization of American States (OAS) condemning anti-democratic and illegal actions of the regime. He also expressed Washington's concern "for the health of political prisoners, for the subhuman conditions they suffer, and for their well-being and that of their families."

For his part, Robinson asserted that the recent agreement reached with the Mexican government was significant: "In our opinion, it will show the government's commitment to continue working against corruption and crime. We have agreed to continue working together in the prosecution service, with the police, and exchanging information between our agencies in the fight. But we will also continue working with the states and local municipalities. In this, we have achieved quite important cooperation".