A corrupt official in the U.S. State department serving in Guyana is reportedly being investigated for selling U.S. visas in exchange more money and sex. Edy Zohar Rodrigues Duran from Texas and now living in Virginia is accused of selling the visas for $15,000-$40,000, with clients including drug cartels. This means that not only has the official caused legitimate travelers to wait longer to enter the U.S. but has indeed put U.S. security at risk by awarding visas to unsavory people who may not otherwise have gained access to America.
“We became aware of a scam going on at the embassy when many legitimate visa applicants were being turned down,” Johnson told TheDC. Rather than approving journalists and other Guyanese professionals for a U.S. visa, Johnson says that Duran instead approved “questionable characters” for visas to the United States at the last possible moment before the Guyanese quota would have been used up.
When Johnson showed photos of Duran to the visa applicants they all identified him as the officer who had turned them down. Johnson said she has also heard from her sources that Duran was having sex with several young Indo-Guyanese women.
Because foreign gangs and cartels often funnel people through places like Guyana in order to enter the U.S. from the third world, the official almost certainly participated in some form of human trafficking as well. The most aggravating thing about these types of revelations is that it always appears that the government first tried to brush off the incident, then deny and wrongdoing, before finally getting around to investigating the alleged crimes. This is poor form for a government which seeks to come off as legitimate, and is seriously interested in curbing illegal trafficking of drugs and humans. I think incidents like these betray the fact that the U.S. government does very little to battle corruption, even in its own ranks. It should also serve as a reminder that even with the most robust regulations, all it takes is a few corrupt officials to give the bad guys an advantage.