US Bans Entry of Guatemalan President’s Former Chief of Staff on Corruption Grounds

June 10, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020

Former Guatemalan Presidential Chief of Staff Gustavo Adolfo Alejos Cambara of Guatemala was banned from entering the United States due to “his involvement in significant corruption” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on June 8 in a statement.

“The Secretary of State has credible information that Alejos has been involved in significant corruption while serving as Chief of Staff,” a State Department Official told The Epoch Times in an email.

As chief of staff to former President of the Republic of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, Alejos took part in corrupt acts that undermined the rule of law in the country as well as the public trust in the country’s government and democratic processes, the statement said.

Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.), who was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the United States to escape corruption, said on June 8 in a statement that Alejos “ is currently under investigation for trying to influence the supreme court and appellate court elections that are happening in Guatemala right now.”

“In the past, he put Guatemala’s pharmaceutical industry up for auction, and illegally financed political campaigns,” Torres said.

Alejos was publicly designated by the Secretary of State on the basis of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act which prohibits designated foreign government officials involved in significant corruption from entering the United States.

Alejos’ wife, two sons, and his minor daughter were also publically prohibited from entering the United States because the law requires the secretary of state to also designate immediate family members of the foreign official who has been designated for corruption.

“His designation today is a timely bolster for the rule of law, and I urge both State and Treasury to continue applying stringent standards to cases of public corruption” across the Northern Triangle region (comprised of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), Torres said.

Corruption not only ”inflicts substantial costs upon the economy, society, and security” of a country where it spreads, it can also weaken people’s faith in the rule of law and “facilitate organized crime” in that country, the State Department official told The Epoch Times.

All of this “directly impacts U.S. national security, economic, and foreign policy interests, and, we believe, those of partner nations,” the official added.

The United States is committed to combating corruption in Guatemala and globally and “continues to stand with the people of Guatemala in their fight against corruption,” Pompeo said.