RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday sanctions for corruption against former Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, his wife, former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo, and their three children.
The sanctions prevent Lobo and his family from entering the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.
“While in office, President Lobo accepted bribes from the Los Cachiros drug trafficking organization in exchange for political favors. The first lady, Rosa Lobo engaged in significant acts of corruption through fraud and embezzlement of public funds for her own benefit,” Blinken said.
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The foreign minister clarified that former President Lobo (2010-2014) “has not yet been convicted” in Honduras and that his wife “has been released from prison and is awaiting a new trial,” which is scheduled to begin this week.
Nevertheless, Blinken opined that the “corrupt acts” of both “undermined the stability of Honduras’ democratic institutions” and pledged to continue “fighting corruption and the disregard for the rule of law that stifles progress” in the Central American country.
Both former President Lobo and his wife appeared on the so-called “Engel list” published by the State Department on July 1, in compliance with a law approved by the US Congress last December.
The US government has named 55 Central American officials and ex-officials for corruption in this list, among them 14 from El Salvador, 20 from Guatemala, and 21 from Honduras.
Those who appear on that list will be denied entry to the U.S. and will not be able to obtain visas to travel to that country, a veto that confirms the sanctions announced Monday against Lobo and his wife, as established in the aforementioned U.S. law.
The restrictions also apply to the adult children of Lobo and the former first lady, Fabio Porfirio Lobo and Ambar Naydee Lobo Bonilla, and their youngest son, Blinken, explained in his statement.