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Latin American graft: collateral damage of war on terror


For more than a decade, Miami has been said to be the 'capital of Central America.' Gaining residence in that capital, and retaining the means to support oneself there, may be slightly less easy than in the past due to two tools occasioned by the Patriot Act:

(1) Pursuit of US assets of foreigners convicted of corruption in their native countries

(2) Denial or revocation of visas for PEPs (politically exposed persons)

Corruption in Latin America: Harder graft notes that historically, visas could be revoked only for crimes such as drug-trafficking, war crimes, and immigrant smuggling. Concerns over national security are driving an attack on public corruption and its illegal web of moving money, people, and objects that can be co-opted as a "dual use" tool by terrorists attempting to smuggle explosives, weapons, or operatives into the US or to launder its own money.

Given the porosity of our southern and maritime borders, and the proximity of fertile grounds, this is useful even if it temporarily disrupts the current channels.

I am surprised that the second driver is a new found desire not to squander US funds on corrupt regimes. As Louis said, "I'm shocked - shocked - to find gambling is going on in here!"

Corruption in Latin America: Harder graft
Apr 7th 2004 | MIAMI
From The Economist print edition

Gordon Housworth

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