The US Department of State warned on Wednesday, December 5 that they will immediately suspend the entry visas of corrupt officials in Latin America.
In addition, they said they will take "more aggressive" measures against those involved in the illicit enrichment from the state coffers which could affect several dozen Panama officials facing corruption investigations.
The announcement was made at a press conference in Washington, DC.
The measure would be extended, for example, to the next of kin of the officials of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, who are involved in acts of corruption.
"In the coming weeks and months, the authorities will suspend their trips and the trips of their families to the United States and will name and shame them publicly ... So no more shopping trips or Disney for corrupt leaders. No more prestigious studies in the United States for members of their immediate families who benefit from stolen earnings” said Patrick Ventrell, director of the Office of International Narcotics Affairs and Law Enforcement for Western Hemisphere Programs.
“Central America, with the notable exception of Nicaragua, has been blessed with democratic institutions, young populations, and a thriving US trade and investment. However, despite these competitive advantages, Central America suffers from the perception of widespread corruption, ”said Hugo Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary for Central America.
“In recent years, we have seen numerous Central American government officials forced to leave office, sent to prison and investigated for corruption. Not surprisingly, most people in Central America believe that corruption is widespread, ”Rodriguez added.
Panama track record
In 1999, the United States withdrew the entry visa to Panamanian President Ernesto Pérez Balladares and a group of his collaborators, by linking them to the traffic of Chinese citizens.
In 2005, the visa to then magistrate Winston Spadafora was also suspended. Spadafora was given section 212 (F) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act - as amended by the US Patriot Act -, which suspends the entry into that country of persons “who have committed, participated or benefited from corruption in the performance of public functions where such corruption results in serious unfavorable consequences for the international activity of US companies, the objectives of US foreign aid, the security of the United States against transnational crimes and terrorism or the stability of democratic institutions and nations. ”
Be more effective to freeze them out of the financial systems.