Jul 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former Central American presidents sanctioned by U.S.

Picture of Honduras' former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa
Honduras' former President Porfirio Lobo Sosa walks past a line of police officers in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Photo: Orlando Sierra/AFP

The U.S. has increased its sanctions against Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the Honduran president from 2010 and 2014, with a travel ban against him and his family over allegations that he took bribes from drug traffickers.

Why it matters: Lobo was one of 50 Central American officials included in the Engel List, which named those suspected of criminal activity, including corruption. Further sanctions against others are expected.

  • The current Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, is allegedly collaborating with drug traffickers, which emerged when his brother went on trial and was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S.
  • Former Salvadoran President Tony Saca (2004–2009) testified that party leaders, legislators and even Supreme Court justices got “bonuses” taken from the public budget. He made his comments last night at a congressional hearing. Saca is serving 10 years in prison for embezzlement.

By the numbers: Corruption is a driver of immigrants to the U.S. Around 350,000 Salvadorans and Hondurans were intercepted by the Border Patrol in 2019. This fiscal year that number is already near 270,000.

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