Latin America 21

Recently, the United States released a new version of the Engels List. This, in theory, is considered a first step in the escalation in the persecution of corrupt Central Americans who could, in the future, be included in the Magnitsky Act, which prosecutes foreigners accused of corruption and human rights violations – or in some other “invention ” gringa to punish corrupt foreigners unfaithful to Washington or simply irrelevant.

Each time a new list appears, the new members are usually second-rate characters or so-called “useful idiots”, while the “big fish”, ideologues of the most varied acts of corruption, never appear.

The “dark monk” of Juanorlandismo

In Honduras, no one ignores the role that characters like Ebal Jair Díaz Lupián, once feared minister of the presidency during the last administration of the National Party, played over several years. However, neither this nor other characters of this stature appear on the lists.

Ebal Díaz was something of a “dark monk” in the government of Juan Orlando Hernández, but shortly before the handover of power he crossed into Nicaragua for refuge. In June, it was made public that the government of Daniel Ortega had granted him citizenship, as it had done with Ricardo Leonel Cardona López, another “fugitive”, a former private secretary of the Presidency.

Other characters that do not appear on the list are those that were included in the list that the defunct Support Mission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Macchi) had on file. This, before being dismantled by the imprudence of its ex-boss, the Peruvian Juan Jiménez Mayor, when publicly expressing that they were investigating about 60 deputies and ex-deputies of the National Congress, among them its president, Mauricio Oliva, who since then has lived in a golden self-exile in his own home in Choluteca, in the south of the country.

According to investigations, Oliva and the now former president Hernández had been the head of the scheme with the sadly famous mobile hospitals to fight Covid-19, along with former ministers Rocío Tábora (Finance) and Alba Consuelo Flores (Health).

Although the non-inclusion of the highest level of corrupt people from the Juanorlandista regime may be a sign, the inclusion of three relevant figures from the new left-wing government of Xiomara Castro is a wake-up call.

In fact, after several years without the US ambassador in Tegucigalpa, the new representative, Laura Dogu, said: “We don’t want these kinds of people in the United States and if there are funds they received from corruption activities, we also don’t want that kind of money. in the US It’s a very broad system.”

El Salvador and Guatemala

In the other two countries of the Northern Triangle, an area that has the “privilege” of being the subject of the Engels List, things are a little different. There, to slightly “tame” two presidents who are reluctant or directly rebellious to Washington’s “appointments”, the list includes characters very close to Bukele and Giammattei. It is not enough to give them a sign, and the list has pointed to characters very close to the presidents.

In 2021, with its first version, the Engel List had caused disquiet in the intimate surroundings of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele. In July of that year, Washington named several of the president’s most trusted officials, including his chief of staff, his labor minister, his legal secretary and his former agriculture minister, who is also his lifelong friend.

In the new version, among others, several people close to Bukele appear, such as Ernesto Sanabria, the president’s press secretary, and Christian Guevara, head of the legislative bench of Nuevas Ideas, the party of officialdom. In 2021, the protests by Nayib and his supporters were loud, but on this occasion, there were more silences than screams.

In Guatemala, on the other hand, the Engels List “falls” in the midst of a dispute between the government of President Alejandro Giammattei and Washington for the defenestration driven by the House of Government, judges and prosecutors who investigated politicians and businessmen close to political power. institutional, and the insistent lobby of these sectors in the gringo capital, against these “irritating” inquiries.

However, in this version of the list, the State Department focuses more on the government’s private partners than on civil servants. Of the latter, the inclusion of lawyer Rafael Curruchiche stands out, whom Attorney General Consuelo Porras (included in an earlier version of the list) appointed head of the Special Public Ministry against Impunity (FECI) to replace Juan Francisco Sandoval, currently in exile in Washington for closely “touching” President Giammattei in an investigation that implicated him in bribery from Russian mining companies.

In addition to the nominees, the director of the Office of Central American Affairs at the US Department of State, Patrick Ventrell, clarified that this list, which includes characters from these three countries, is a tool in the fight against corruption in the region and warned that, if these practices continue, the government may issue permanent or financial sanctions against the nominees. What the employee did not detail were the Department’s criteria for selecting those chosen.

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