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Central America: US Boosts Anti-Corruption Task Force Without Central American Support

news source: Digital Process and .

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Tegucigalpa - The  United States seeks to push the announced Anti-Corruption Task Force in Central America, on its side, without Central American support as proposed at the beginning of the administration, indicates Eric Olson, director of Policies and Strategic Initiatives of the Seattle International Foundation, quoted by El Guatemala newspaper.

It was in March of this year when Washington envoys announced the creation of a regional anti-corruption task force to strengthen prosperity, institutionality and dignity in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, assured the Special Assistant to the President and main director of the Council. National Security Officer for the Western Hemisphere, Juan González and the special envoy for the Northern Triangle, Ricardo Zúñiga in conversation with journalists from the region from Mexico City.

The announced regional body seeks to fill the space of the  International Commission  against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the  Mission of Support Against Corruption  in Honduras (MACCIH) and to support El Salvador in its fight against impunity.

The initiative then was not framed within a closed term, but rather it seeks to strengthen the conditions of justice and the fight against corruption and impunity in the region, so that one day it will not be needed, they stated.

Both officials spoke of working in the region with actors from civil society, private companies and key representatives, to combat corruption as a central part of what Washington wants to do to move towards a Central America that protects human dignity in each country.

But after the actions that have devastated the institutionality in El Salvador, where the attorney general and senior magistrates were  deposed outside the law in an initiative promoted by the Executive and endorsed by the Legislative Power, and what happened in Guatemala, where the prosecutor General Consuelo Porras,  beheaded the prosecutor against corruption, the vision has been modified.

In this sense,  El Periódico indicates  verbatim: “The route taken by the US Government is to activate the Anti-Corruption Task Force. Only, without the collaboration of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, as was the original idea announced by Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to the country on June 6. According to Olson, approximately six weeks ago the integration of the technical teams that will be in charge of investigating corrupt Central Americans began ”.  

"According to the SIF strategist, these investigators are not only from the Department of Justice, as is usual, but this time they are involved prosecutors and officials from the Department of the Treasury and the FBI. Eric Olson adds that, due to the lack of trust in the MP, the investigations carried out by the Americans will only be limited to assembling cases against politicians, officials and members of organized crime who have collaborated or committed crimes in the United States ”. 

“The most appropriate thing would be for the Public Ministries and local courts (of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) to support and organize investigations to combat corruption, but if they are not in a position to guarantee the rule of law and are being politically manipulated, It is obvious that we have to look for other ways, "adds Olson about the decision that the US government has taken to start the Anti-Corruption Task Force without the support of the Central American countries."  

The journalistic work also quotes the Guatemalan ambassador in Washington, DC, Alfonso Quiñónez and indicates that he is aware of this situation. 

Elsewhere they state: “The Guatemalan ambassador in Washington, DC assures that the United States is making progress in the integration of an Anti-Corruption Task Force. One of the components agreed upon in this initiative has been used by the Giammattei government to negotiate for a new dialogue with the MP. But the State Department does not change its opinion regarding Consuelo Porras ”. (P.S)