US Anti-Corruption Drive Faces Bleak Prospects in Central America
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García has been attending anti-corruption rallies for years, and he always brings a sign. During mass protests in 2015, they were handwritten on cardboard, but he recently found a supportive print shop that will print his designs on vinyl at low cost. “Corruption Generates Migration” was the message on his latest sign. “Corruption sets off a big chain of consequences for the country,” García said. It exacerbates inequality, he added, and siphons funding away from job creation, basic services, and development, contributing to people leaving.
The most populous country in Central America, with close to 18 million inhabitants, Guatemala has seen the departure of more migrants and asylum-seekers to the U.S. southern border in recent years than any other country in the region. After Mexico, it is the most important transit country and home to increasing border externalization as the U.S. continues to push governments to stop northbound migrants and asylum-seekers en route. But its position as the key U.S. partner in northern Central America is by default, due to the political landscape in Honduras and El Salvador.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was an unindicted co-conspirator in a U.S. federal court case against his brother, who was sentenced to life in prison in March for drug trafficking and weapons charges. The U.S. continues to work with Hernández despite the Justice Department’s evidence against him but has stepped back from publicly highlighting joint anti-narcotics efforts. Hernández will not be on the ballot this November and his term ends next January.
“The situation in the country is dire,” said José Santos Sapón, a Maya K’iche former president of the traditional Indigenous governance structure in Totonicapán who now works as a lawyer for Maya Ixil traditional authorities. Erosion of judicial independence, particularly when it comes to the Constitutional Court, can have very concrete impacts in cases over Indigenous rights and extractive and energy sector projects. Over the years, Santos Sapón and other Indigenous authorities have coordinated mass mobilizations and filed legal actions related to corruption. “The crisis Guatemala is currently experiencing is the result of the lack of political will from powerful sectors in Guatemala,” he told The Intercept earlier this year outside the Constitutional Court. Those sectors and the criminal networks in which many are engaged have deep roots, Santos Sapón said.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
June 11, 2021 at 10:28 PM #4290483fingerbrownParticipant
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“US anti-corruption drive” after reading that I almost fell out of my chair laughing! Some of these headlines can be dangerous!
All governments lie to their citizen's, but only Americans believe theirs.
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