Latin America, and especially the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) are a priority in a new initiative by the government of US President Joe Biden in the fight against corruption, an administration official said Thursday.
Biden issued his first national security memo on Thursday, outlining his anti-corruption agenda as part of US foreign policy.
“Corruption threatens the national security of the United States, economic equity, global efforts to fight poverty and development, and democracy itself,” the president said in his directive.
At a press conference at the White House, government officials explained the purpose of Biden’s initiative and some of the mechanisms to combat all forms of illicit financing in the country and with international financial systems.
The initiative requires, among other measures, that US companies report their beneficial owners to the Treasury Department and reduce financial secrecy abroad.
To a question about whether Vice President Kamala Harris’s next trip to Central America and Mexico is related to some anti-corruption measures or an additional push in that regard, the official was clear about it.
“I do not want to anticipate any announcement that will be made during the trip, but I can say that anti-corruption in the region is a great interest of the administration and will be in all their conversations along the way,” he replied.
The journalist of the Voice of America, Jorge Agobian, raised whether Washington would seek the participation of international allies to combat the impact of corruption that comes from Latin American countries, such as Venezuela or the Northern Triangle.
“The anti-corruption agenda will be front and center of the vice president’s trip. In general, we are including all relevant multilateral bodies in this agenda ”.
The official was more precise about the future.
“This was a big focus also for the UK during its G7 presidency, working together to fight corruption. And we have started that process together, so you will see much more, particularly in our own backyard in the Western Hemisphere. “
The United States considers that corruption in Latin American countries plays a relevant role among the causes of illegal immigration that reaches the border with Mexico, especially from the countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America.
In addition to the traditional measures of sanctions and freezing of assets in the United States to corrupt officials, the Biden administration is allocating funds to combat corruption in those countries with the aim of establishing conditions that allow economic and social growth.
President Joe Biden’s senior adviser, Juan González, recently told the Voice of America that the fight against corruption is “central to the ambitions and vision of development” of the White House and that his government will stand up to it “wherever it may be. ”.