LatinNews Daily - 31 July 2023

More Central Americans added to US corrupt actors list

Guatemala/Region: On 19 July US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller announced that 39 officials and public figures from Central America had been added to the State Department’s so-called ‘Engel List’ of ‘Corrupt and Undemocratic Actors’. Of the 39 added to the list for having “knowingly engaged in acts that undermine democratic processes or institutions”, 10 were from Guatemala, 10 from Honduras, 13 from Nicaragua, and six from El Salvador. Among them were Guatemalan prosecutors and judges Cinthia Monterroso, Fredy Orellana, and Jimi Bremer, who were involved in the trial of prominent journalist and government critic José Rubén Zamora, who was sentenced to six years in prison on 14 June on charges widely considered trumped up. According to the US State Department, the three have brought about “unsubstantiated, politically motivated criminal charges against journalists for exercising their freedom of expression as protected by Guatemalan law”. Other notable inclusions on the list were Guatemala’s former interior minister Gendri Reyes (2020-2022); two former presidents of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes (2009-2014) and Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019); the current attorney general (AG) of Nicaragua, Wendy Morales Urbina; and the director and deputy director of Nicaragua’s financial analysis unit (UAF), Valeria Halleslevens Centeno and Eduardo Ortega Roa. Also featuring on the list from Honduras were the current president of the opposition Partido Libertad (PL), Yani Rosenthal, PL secretary general and current mayor of the city of El Progreso, Yoro department, Alexander López Orellana, and federal PL deputy Samuel García Salgado.

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