Thanks to the short-sighted fixation on the Middle East by the Bush administration those creeps among our neighbors to the south who thrive in darkness have found an increasing amount of darkness in which to thrive.

It’s an Enron-style Wild On episode featuring practically every Central American leader past and present:

In late October, an association of Honduran prosecutors criticized a suspension of an investigation against former president Rafael Callejas on the misappropriation of some 20 million dollars, along with other members of his government. They created a petition, signed by 399 prosecutors.

Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos admitted to having received 326,000 dollars from Nicaraguan businessmen living in the United States. Central American leaders banded together on Saturday to demand the Organization of American States (OAS) stop Nicaragua’s legislature from impeaching Bolanos.

Former OAS secretary general Miguel Angel Rodriguez quit his post recently to defend himself on corruption charges dating back to his presidency of Costa Rica, 1998-2002. Costa Rica’s current president, Abel Pacheco, is also suspected of taking some 490,000 dollars from the government of Taiwan.

Guatemala’s former president, Alfonso Portillo, recently applied for a visa to work in Mexico, where he lives, beyond the reach of prosecutors who want to question him about an alleged misappropriation of 3.7 million dollars. Former Guatemalan vice president Francisco Reyes has been in jail since July for fraud, as are two former ministers, Eduardo Weymann and Byron Barrientos.

Panama’s recently installed government, under President Martin Torrijos, sought to overturn a decision by outgoing president Mireya Moscoso to exempt Hutchinson Wampoa, a Chinese company that manages the country’s two main ports, of 22.2 million dollars in taxes. Over the 50-year life of the management contract, Panama loses 1.5 billion dollars.