Guatemala City / Washington. The US and UK governments imposed sanctions on two Guatemalan officials for corruption cases. The news broke the same day as a conversation between President Alejandro Giamatti and US Vice President Kamala Harris.
They are Gustavo Adolfo Alios Kampara and Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, for the role they have played in promoting corruption in Guatemala.
Gustavo Alejus served as Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Alvaro Colom 2008-2012, and Felipe Alejus is an elected delegate to the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala for the period 2020-2024.
According to a press release by the United States Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken, Gustavo Alejos and Felipe Alejus sought to intervene in the judicial selection process to appoint judges to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and the Court of Justice, appeals from Guatemala.
The document adds that both, “are alleged to have facilitated payments to representatives of Congress and judges in an effort to influence the selection process of judges in both courts and secure favorable judicial decisions that would protect Gustavo Alius – as well as justices of the High Court of Justice. – current and future corruption trials.”
The statement details that sanctioned officials have been appointed in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 13818, which is based on Magnitsky’s Global Human Rights Responsibility Law, which targets perpetrators of serious human rights violations and corruption around the world.
The Biden government is negotiating a plan to support Central America, but the issue of corruption is a major obstacle that must be eliminated for the flow of economic aid.
Hours after the sanctions were announced, Vice President Kamala Harris, after meeting with the President of Guatemala, said her country wanted to increase aid in the region and manage immigration in a safe and humane manner, while looking for a way to calm migrants. Crisis on the border with Mexico.
The meeting, which actually took place, was Harris’ second conversation in less than a month with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamatti, and is a sign of his best opportunity to build a partnership in the region. The two spoke earlier on March 30th.
Harris has yet to speak to the presidents of Honduras and El Salvador.
“We want to work with you … in a way that gives hope to the people of Guatemala that there will be a chance for them if they stay at home,” Harris said. He added that he will visit the region next June.
“I greatly value the relationship between our two countries and our peoples and I want to work together to deepen and strengthen our ties (…) to expand opportunities in Guatemala and the region,” he said.