April 26, 2021
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN
Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on one current and one former Guatemalan government official—Gustavo Adolfo Alejos Cambara and Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, respectively—for their role in corruption in Guatemala.
Gustavo Alejos and Felipe Alejos sought to interfere with the judicial selection process for appointing magistrates to Guatemala’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and Court of Appeals. Gustavo Alejos served as chief of staff for the 2008-2012 Alvaro Colom presidential administration, and Felipe Alejos is an elected delegate to the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala for the 2020-2024 term. Together, they reportedly facilitated payments to congressional representatives and judges in an attempt to influence the selection process for magistrates to both courts and to secure favorable judicial rulings that would protect Gustavo Alejos—as well as CSJ judges —from current and future corruption prosecutions.
Gustavo Alejos and Felipe Alejos are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. These sanctions also reinforce actions taken last year by the U.S. Department of State to publicly designate both individuals, and their immediate family members, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act due to their involvement in significant corruption.
These sanctions support efforts by the people of Guatemala to end the scourge of corruption, as part of the U.S. government’s commitment to support improvements in governance in Guatemala. Led by Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zuniga, these commitments target reforms that will improve transparency and the rule of law and lead to better conditions for the good of the Guatemalan people so they can build a brighter future.
These sanction actions are undertaken in close coordination with the United Kingdom and coincide with the establishment of its new anti-corruption sanctions regime. By coordinating with like-minded global partners, we can more effectively combat corruption, including by disrupting access to the international financial system by corrupt actors and their networks. The United States will continue to engage closely with its allies to impose tangible and significant consequences on corrupt actors.