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Weekly Report - 10 June 2021 (WR-21-23)

GUATEMALA-EL SALVADOR: Corruption concerns dominate Harris visit

US Vice President Kamala Harris this week paid a visit to Guatemala - her first foreign trip in the post. Named by US President Joe Biden to lead efforts with the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) and Mexico to stem illegal migration, Harris said the choice of Guatemala for her first trip abroad reflected “the priority” that she and Biden “placed on this region”. Key to Biden’s US$4bn plan for Central America to address the root causes of illegal migration is the need to tackle corruption in the sub-region, concerns over which have intensified following the closures of the United Nations-backed anti-impunity commission in Guatemala (Cicig) and Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Maccih) sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), in September 2019 and January 2020, respectively. While new US-backed initiatives have been unveiled to address the issue, Harris’s trip takes place amid ongoing signs of backsliding in anti-corruption efforts.

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