HomeNewsBriefUS Congress Members Support CentAm Anti-Corruption Efforts
BRIEF

US Congress Members Support CentAm Anti-Corruption Efforts

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 FEB 2017 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

Members of the US Congress have introduced a resolution supporting the anti-corruption efforts of several Central American governments, showing the legislative body's commitment to backing such initiatives even as they come under fire in the region.

The bipartisan resolution was submitted on February 16 by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI). Members of Congress from both major parties signed on as co-sponsors, including Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Albio Sires (D-NJ), David Valadao (R-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Don Young (R-AK).

The resolution notes the existence of "widespread corruption in Central America" -- particularly in the "Northern Triangle" countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala -- and states that "combating corruption in the Northern Triangle must remain a top policy priority for the United States in Central America."

The resolution says that internationally backed anti-corruption bodies like the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras - MACCIH) and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) are "important contributions to this effort."

The resolution concludes by urging governments in the region to "publicly support efforts to fight corruption" by cooperating with the international bodies and ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated for their judiciaries to be able to pursue corruption cases.

The resolution, if approved, would not create any new laws nor would it provide new funding for anti-corruption efforts in Central America. Its passage would simply express the "sense of the House of Representatives regarding the fight against corruption" in the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although the congressional resolution will not have any immediate impacts in terms of the implementation of US policy in Central America, it is clearly intended to send a message of support to officials working on anti-corruption efforts in the region.

The introduction of the resolution comes just days after CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez responded to a long-running smear campaign against him and his work, which he claimed was orchestrated by "criminals who are part of these criminal structures" that CICIG was created to help combat.

Following Velásquez's statements, many Guatemalans voiced their support for CICIG and the commissioner on social media networks. The US Embassy also commented on the situation on its Twitter account, writing, "We add ourselves to the honest Guatemalans that recognize [the] successful work of CICIG and Commissioner Ivan Velásquez."

US support has previously proven crucial to the survival of CICIG. US officials put strong pressure on then-Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina to renew the commission's mandate in 2015, reportedly threatening to withhold cooperation on economic development projects if he refused. (Somewhat ironically, the commission's renewal later helped land Pérez Molina in jail on corruption charges.)

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

The support of the US government will be important in ensuring the continuation of other anti-corruption efforts in the Northern Triangle, like the MACCIH and the recently created anti-impunity unit within the El Salvador Attorney General's Office. And in addition to many members of Congress, it seems that the administration of US President Donald Trump is also prepared to back such efforts.

A former official under US President George W. Bush who has been working with Trump's State Department transition team told InSight Crime that Republican Party operatives have been pressuring the newly-inaugurated president to express strong support for CICIG. And it appears that Trump and his team have accepted this advice.

Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the US Senate during confirmation proceedings that the new administration would continue to back anti-corruption efforts in Central America.

"Yes, we will continue to support the important anti-corruption mission of the CICIG in Guatemala and MACCIH in Honduras," Tillerson wrote in response to a question. "We will also provide foreign assistance to our Central American partners to help combat crime and impunity, promote public safety, and ensure that citizens of those countries have access to a functioning and fair justice system."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 21 JUL 2022

In Haiti, Port-au-Prince’s Cité Soleil has become the latest battleground for two well-armed gang alliances.

EL SALVADOR / 2 APR 2021

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has appointed a new security minister whose alleged ties to officials and political operators accused…

BRAZIL / 7 JUL 2021

Newly leaked audio recordings have sparked a political firestorm in Brazil - linking President Jair Bolsonaro to an extortion scheme…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…