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Norma Torres calls on prosecutors to fight corruption in order to cooperate with Central America

Norma Torres calls on prosecutors to fight corruption in order to cooperate with Central America

The Democratic congresswoman said yesterday that attorneys general must fight resource abuse, at a time when attorneys general in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are acting with little diligence in these cases.

The administration of Joe Biden in the United States, as well as Congress in that country, have shown signs that the fight against corruption is one of the main axes of their relationship with the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America, a subregion that includes El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

For this reason, they have required their help and assistance to these countries to combat the misuse of public resources.

This is reflected in the most recent law passed by the US House of Representatives that requires these Central American countries to have nine commitments to strengthen institutions and fight corruption in return for continuing to receive a significant portion of US cooperation.

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US Congressman Norma Torres, of Guatemalan origin, confirmed yesterday on her social networks that she had proposed an amendment to what was approved by the House of Representatives in order to add to this demand the Attorney General.

75% of our aid to Central American governments is conditional on compliance with certain anti-corruption measures. The legislator said on her Twitter account that my amendment to the initiative requires that the attorney general meet the same conditions.

One of the main Crusades of Torres was the fight against the misuse of state resources, as well as the fight against the growing authoritarianism in Central America, which among its main characteristics shows great opacity and resistance to the institutions of control and transparency.

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Beating fights corruption

Norma Torres’ words come at a difficult time in the fight against corruption in the Central American region.

This is because governments appear to be cohesive and prevent high-level investigations from scrutinizing their efforts and following up on some clear indications of the misuse of public resources at present.

In the case of El Salvador, on May 1, the Legislative Assembly illegally cast a large pro-government majority and explicitly dismissed the then Prosecutor of the Republic, Raúl Melara, as well as the judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Interestingly, the Public Prosecutor was in possession of 12 files of possible corruption in the public administration in relation to expenditures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, they imposed Rodolfo Delgado, who halted these investigations and was against investigating those involved in Engel’s List, which contains 14 names of Salvadorans accused of corruption or blows to democracy.

In addition, the government terminated CICIES, the commission that referred those cases of potential corruption to the Attorney General’s Office.

In the case of Guatemala, Attorney General Consuelo Porras dismissed Juan Francisco Sandoval, who was the head of the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI), which had been investigating allegations of corruption in the current government.

In Honduras, the Anti-Corruption Mission to Support Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH, OAS-coordinated entity) has not resumed.