The State Department announced Wednesday that it is imposing sanctions on two former Salvadoran presidents and dozens of other officials and judges in Central America.
The report said the sanctioned persons had engaged in “intentional harm to democratic processes or institutions, significant corruption or obstruction of investigations” in connection with corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for money laundering.
The extensive list, which also includes bank chiefs, judges and high-ranking officials, illustrates the depth of corruption across the region.
Chief among the names on the list was Mauricio Funes, president of El Salvador between 2009 and 2014, who was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison for negotiating with gangs and six years for tax evasion. Funes’ successor, former president Salvador Sánchez Sarin, was also convicted of “significant corruption through money laundering” while serving as vice president.
Honduras to set up island prison colony for gang leaders, emulating El Salvador’s approach
Corruption in Central America has been a hot-button issue for years, fueling distrust in institutions and regularly cited as one of the main causes of immigration to the United States, which President Joe Biden has sought to curb.
It has become a key talking point in Guatemala’s current tumultuous election cycle as the political establishment seeks to eliminate competition, and it echoes the talk of populist El Salvador’s President Nayeb Buquel, who has adopted the catchphrase “There’s enough money when no one steals it.”
Click here to get the Fox News app.
Despite accusations by the Biden administration that Bockel also interacted with gangs, and civil society raising alarm that millennial leaders are taking steps that erode the country’s democracy, Bockel’s name was not on their list.