The visas of former president Abdalá Bucaram and his family have been revoked by the United States for what the U.S. Embassy called “significant acts of corruption.”
In a statement, the Embassy said the corruption occurred both during Bucaram’s presidency and after. “During his tenure as president of Ecuador, Bucaram engaged in multiple acts of corruption, including accepting bribes and embezzling public funds. The former president has not yet been held accountable for his betrayal of public trust,” the statement said.
It added: “The pattern of corruption has continued following his presidential tenure as evidenced by recent legal events.”
Bucaram is currently under investigation, with several others, for his role in overcharging public hospitals for medicine and supplies.
Elected president in 1996, Bucaram served less than six months before being removed from office by Ecuador’s National Congress, which declared him “mentally unfit to rule” in February 1997. Called “El Loco” by both his supporters and opponents, he hosted lavish parties at the Presidential Palace in Quito and was frequently pictured dancing with what detractors called “exotic women.”
Following his removal from office, Bucaram and his family lived in exile in Panama until returning to Ecuador in 2017.
The visas of Bucaram’s wife, María Rosa Pulley Vergara and his sons Jacobo Abdalá Bucaram Pulley, Abdalá Jaime Bucaram Pulley, and Michel Abdalá Bucaram Pulley were also revoked by the U.S.
In 2021, the U.S. revoked the visas of at least 200 military and police officials and their families. Several of the officials have since resigned and others are under investigation by Ecuadorian prosecutors. The embassy refused to provide names but said it turned information about alleged corruption over to prosecutors
U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick last month criticized the Ecuadorian government for acting too slowly to root out corruption among its officials.