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U.S. blacklists Guatemalan lawmaker for corruption

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By Reuters
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By Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON – The United States on Thursday banned Guatemalan lawmaker Boris España Cáceres and his immediate family from entering the U.S. due to “his involvement in significant corruption,” the State Department said.

The sanctions stem from alleged bribery and “interfering with public processes” in ways that undermined the stability of Guatemala’s democratic government, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has made combating corruption a focus of its strategy to tackle the so-called “root causes” of migration in Central America as the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached the highest levels in two decades. In addition, Biden issued a memorandum earlier this month that called on agencies to take steps to combat corruption worldwide.

The visa sanctions announced on Thursday come after the State Department released a report in May naming officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who were “credibly alleged” to be corrupt.

The list, released by the office of U.S. Representative Norma Torres, prompted El Salvador President Nayib Bukele to praise China, and El Salvador’s congress to ratify a 2019 cooperation agreement with that country.