The United States is sanctioning a former and a current senior Paraguayan official for their involvement in systemic corruption that has undermined democratic institutions in Paraguay. The Department of the Treasury is designating Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara (Cartes), the former President of Paraguay, and Hugo Adalberto Velazquez Moreno (Velazquez), the current Vice President of Paraguay. It is also designating four entities owned or controlled by Cartes: Tabacos USA Inc., Bebidas USA Inc., Dominicana Acquisition S.A., and Frigorifico Chajha S.A.E. These individuals and entities are being sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 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.
Today’s actions reinforce the Department of State’s public designations of Cartes and Velazquez for significant corruption in 2022, demonstrating our continued commitment to combatting systemic corruption, addressing state capture, bolstering democratic institutions, and promoting accountability in Paraguay.
Cartes, one of the wealthiest individuals in Paraguay, was President of Paraguay from 2013 to 2018 and is currently the leader of the Colorado Party. During his tenure as President and since, Cartes has engaged in a concerted pattern of corruption, including widespread bribery of government officials and legislators. For more than a decade, Cartes leveraged his illicitly acquired wealth and influence to expand his political and economic power over Paraguayan institutions.
Velazquez has engaged extensively in corrupt practices, including influence peddling and bribery. While serving as Vice President of Paraguay, Velazquez has worked to interfere with legal processes to protect himself and criminal associates from investigations and threatened those who could expose his criminal activity.
Today’s actions support the United States Strategy on Combatting Corruption. The United States stands with the people of Paraguay. We will continue to support partners in Paraguayan institutions in their own efforts to combat corruption and defend the rule of law.