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Why did the United States prohibit former President Abdalá Bucaram from entering its territory? | Policy | News

It is not the same as the United States withdrawing the visa of a person who declares them “ineligible” to enter the territory of that country. Both are sovereign decisions of the US Government, but the first may have different motivations and are usually taken at the consular level, while the second originates from a deeper investigation related to issues of corruption and even organized crime and comes from the State Department. , based in Washington.

The second figure was applied to former President Abdalá Bucaram Ortiz and part of his family. And it means that they cannot enter the country for an indefinite time; that is, it can be for life.

This March 9, The Government of the United States indicated in a statement signed by the State Department spokesman, Ned Price, that this decision was made due to “his participation in significant acts of corruption, including the misappropriation of public funds, the acceptance of bribes and the interference in public processes.”

“During his tenure as president of Ecuador, Bucaram engaged in multiple acts of corruption, including accepting bribes and embezzling public funds. Bucaram has not yet been held accountable for his betrayal of the public trust,” the official added.

The action was taken based on Section 7031(c) of the Department of State’s Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2021, as contained in the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2022, which applies to individuals with direct or indirect participation in acts of significant corruption or human rights violations.

The measure reaches the former president, his wife, María Rosa Pulley, and their sons: Jacobo, Abdalá (Dalo) and Michel Bucaram Pulley. His daughter Linda Bucaram Pulley, who has lived in Miami for several years, was not affected. Bucaram has publicly said that she has seven other children, but they were not mentioned by the State Department.

In another statement, the US ambassador, Mike Fitzpatrick, said there was “credible evidence of significant acts of corruption committed” by Bucaram. “This decision by the United States Government shows that no one, no matter how high-ranking they may be or may have been, should be above the law,” he said.

The Bucaram family’s lawyer, Alfredo Arboleda, He commented to this newspaper that they already knew about this decision of the United States and that they understood that they are sovereign to make it. But what they do not admit is that with it they try to interfere in the judicial function of the country.

Arboleda was surprised that this issue was made public when some proceedings are about to be carried out within the criminal process that has been followed since 2020 by the former president and his son Jacobo for alleged organized crime. “We do not want to think that with this decision they want to put pressure on justice,” he said.

Bucaram was defenestrated in 1997. After leaving for Panama, where he went into self-exile, criminal proceedings were opened for embezzlement in the cases of the School Backpack and Reserved Expenses, which prescribed in 2017.

In the pandemic, four criminal proceedings were opened against the former president and his three children.

Two for organized crime, one in Quito and one in Guayaquil. In the first, Abdalá father and Jacobo are on trial; they were initially dismissed, but this was revoked and a trial hearing is expected these days. In the second, Jacobo, Dalo and Michel were prosecuted, but the last two were dismissed.

One for trafficking in cultural goods, in which the former president and Jacobo were dismissed. AND another for arms traffickingin which the judgment of the court is awaited.

Arboleda explained that with the communiqués, the United States is practically declaring Bucaram and his children guilty of corruption, when there is no final judgment against them.

But he believed that in a certain way they are right about his innocence in the recent criminal proceedings, because they do not refer to these, but to acts that were allegedly committed in the Bucaram government in 1996, which have not been proven.

Bucaram himself, on his Twitter social network account, expressed his surprise at the United States’ decision. “After 26 years, do you remember that I am corrupt? He lashed out, recalling that for 26 years he has traveled to that country to undergo cardiac treatment and that he even maintained a cordial relationship with the ambassadors of that country in Ecuador.

And, in fact, he indicated that he hopes to return to that country next September, since he must change the battery of his pacemaker. His lawyer pointed out that if he cannot do it there, they will look for other options, such as Europe, where medicine is very advanced. (I)

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