I am announcing today the designation of former President of Panama Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal (“Martinelli”) for his involvement in significant corruption. Specifically, Martinelli accepted bribes in exchange for improperly awarding government contracts during his tenure as the president. This section 7031(c) designation renders Martinelli and his immediate family members ineligible for entry into the United States.
Accepting bribes for government contracts undermines the integrity of Panama’s democratic institutions and fuels perceptions of corruption and impunity. Such acts of public corruption diminish confidence in governance and reduce resources available for schools, hospitals, roads, and other government services.
These designations reaffirm the commitment of the United States to combat corruption, which harms the public interest, hampers countries’ economic prosperity, and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people. The United States continues to stand with all Panamanians in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain, regardless of their position or political affiliation.