Multiple Central American countries to celebrate independence

Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras will celebrate 200 years of independence from Spain today. Since then, each

200th independence celebration

Photo: Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal

Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras will celebrate 200 years of independence from Spain today.

Since then, each of these countries has followed its own development path, but today they share similar challenges, including high levels of crime, inequality and corruption.

In Costa Rica, a corruption investigation resulted in the arrest of a presidential adviser, while in Guatemala, allegations of corruption have led to protests calling for the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei. In Honduras, a new penal code slowed corruption investigations amid allegations that President Juan Orlando Hernandez accepted bribes from drug traffickers. Corruption has also given way to authoritarianism, as in Nicaragua, where a crackdown ahead of November elections has left President Daniel Ortega running alone. In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele has sought to amend the constitution to remove term limits.

Expect officials to dismantle anticorruption units and expect those in power to stay in power as constitutions are amended and opposition is eliminated. While international condemnation will not do much, expect the Biden administration’s focus on the causes of migration to result in the suspension of aid and focus on supporting civil society efforts to keep the fight against corruption alive in Central America.

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