Former Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei Barred from Entering the US on Corruption Allegations

Former Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei Barred from Entering the US on Corruption Allegations

Former Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei has been barred from entering the United States due to “credible information indicating that [he] accepted bribes in exchange for the performance of his public duties during his tenure as president of Guatemala, actions that undermined the rule of law and government transparency,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of State.

This marks the highest-profile move to date in an ongoing campaign from the United States to place restrictions on those linked to corruption in the Central American country.

Over the past three years, Washington has taken steps to impose visa restrictions or sanctions on nearly 400 Guatemalan individuals — including public officials, private sector representatives and their family members — for engaging in corrupt activities or undermining democracy or the rule of law in that Central American country. 

“Corruption weakens the rule of law and democratic institutions, enables impunity, fuels irregular migration, hinders economic prosperity and restricts the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people,” added the State Department in its statement.

This news comes soon after the election new President Bernardo Arévalo, who himself has already faced legal challenges and accusations of fraud brought by Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras, among other prosecutors.

According to Transparency International, Guatemala ranks 154th in the world, out of 180 nations, in terms of countries where people are most concerned that corruption is rampant and damaging in the public sector. Its overall score in the agency’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index has fallen from 33 in 2012 to 23 in 2023.

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