“Corruption is driving the instability and lack of growth that has put an end to years of mass migration,” said Ricardo Ziga, the State Department’s special envoy to the North American Central Triangle.
“As such, we have a strong interest in ensuring stability and good governance in Central America, and we want to work with those who have the same interests,” he told AFP.
Zika, who visited Guatemala and El Salvador last week and met with Honduran officials in Washington, said the United States was moving ahead with an announced plan to create a regional anti-corruption task force.
“There will be a task force led by the Department of Justice and other partners that will help Central American governments and civil servants in their search not only for specific cases involving acts of corruption, but also to combat punishment and prevent corruption,” he explained.
“The firm implementation is that we are going to negotiate with partners in the region,” said Ziga, an Honduran-born American.
He pointed out that there are already efforts in favor of transparency in the Northern Triangle: in civil society, in the lawyers’ offices and in the independent press.
“A lot of work is going on and we will continue to support it through our embassies and in the presence of our legal and other coordinators,” he assured.
The Biden administration also wants to involve Congress.
Ziga recalled that US law already provides “tools” to identify and punish individuals and companies involved in corrupt practices abroad, such as Magnitsky Global Law. It also gives the State Department the power to deny visas to those accused of corruption.
But he reaffirmed that Congress would be “ready to consider” new arrangements to support those working against corruption in Central America.
– “Victims of Corruption” –
According to Ziga, both Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have called for a “strong presence” and “aid” from the United States to deal with the Covit-19 epidemic, to overcome the humanitarian crisis after two devastating hurricanes last November, and to attract investment.
“From America’s point of view, these are all good. Our job is to try to create the right conditions in Central America to help alleviate not only the economic and social conditions, but also the political situation, especially transparency and action against corrupt actors,” he said.
Countries in the Northern Triangle would be interested in working with the United States to combat corruption, especially the mandates of two internationally supported anti-corruption organizations, MACCIH with OAS in Honduras and CICIG with the United Nations not renewed Guatemala?
Ziga reiterated the US “disappointment” at the end of the two trips, which he described as “historic” in identifying corrupt practices.
“Both of these are sovereign decisions of Central American governments, and we recognize that. But we also recognize that these commissions have very strong popular support. We consider this important,” he said.
“We support the victims of corruption because our own interests are also victims of corruption in Central America,” he added.
Therefore, while enforcing laws against illegal immigration at the border, the United States must create and develop “conditions that allow people to live decent, safe and prosperous lives” while seeking to improve the means of legal immigration, he said. Their countries.
He emphasized that the letter was not a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into the allegations, but rather a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into the allegations.
He warned: “We are missing out on opportunities.”
Ziga pointed out that the free trade agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR, in English) represents a two-way exchange of $ 57 billion in 2018.
“If we are looking for stable and prosperous conditions in Central America, think about where we stand in terms of America’s social interests, in terms of America’s business interests,” he said.