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Two decades of top-level corruption in Central America

Monday, December 29, 2014

If it’s true that the people get the government they deserve then, judging by the past 20 years, Central American voters need to examine their consciences.

Of 32 presidents serving the region’s six countries between 1990-2010, 13 are behind bars, in exile or under investigation for crimes ranging from human trafficking to money laundering. The list would be longer were it not for the fact that sitting presidents and legislators are immune from prosecution.

The most prolific member of this motley crew is former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004), extradited last year to the US where he is serving a 20-year sentence for laundering $70 million of public money through US banks. During the trial he was accused of turning his country’s treasury into a “private ATM machine”.

Portillo came to public attention when he shot and killed two students during a bar-room brawl in Mexico in the 1980s, claiming self-defence. He was never charged with a crime.

Source: Irish Times