U.S. weighing anti-corruption task force for Central America -envoy

The task force would focus on specific corruption cases and helping prosecutors in those countries move forward with their investigations, Zuniga said. He said the United States was disappointed with the collapse of anti-corruption bodies in Guatemala and Honduras, which he called "setbacks in an effort to promote transparency and combat impunity." The Biden administration has spent several months exploring ways of reviving some of the functions of these bodies, which were strongly backed by the Bush and Obama administrations, but lost U.S. support under Trump.

Reuters | Updated: 23-04-2021 03:56 IST | Created: 23-04-2021 03:56 IST
U.S. weighing anti-corruption task force for Central America -envoy

The Biden administration is considering creating a task force of officials from the U.S. Justice and State Departments and other agencies to help local prosecutors fight corruption in Central America's Northern Triangle countries, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday. Ricardo Zuniga, U.S. special envoy for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, also told reporters that the U.S. government has authority from Congress to craft lists of Central American officials involved in corruption, revoke their travel visas and designate them for sanctions.

Zuniga spoke just days before Vice President Kamala Harris, tasked by President Joe Biden to lead diplomatic efforts with Central America, has a virtual meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss solutions to the increase in migration to the U.S. border with Mexico. U.S. officials see corruption as one of the main root causes of the recent flow of migrants, along with poverty and gang violence in their home countries.

"It's important for the United States to show that we're on the side of those who are victims of corruption," Zuniga told a telephone briefing. The task force would focus on specific corruption cases and helping prosecutors in those countries move forward with their investigations, Zuniga said.

He said the United States was disappointed with the collapse of anti-corruption bodies in Guatemala and Honduras, which he called "setbacks in an effort to promote transparency and combat impunity." The Biden administration has spent several months exploring ways of reviving some of the functions of these bodies, which were strongly backed by the Bush and Obama administrations, but lost U.S. support under Trump. (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and Ted Hesson, Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Leslie Adler and Karishma Singh)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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