US bans former Panama president for 'significant corruption,' Blinken says

The United States has banned former Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez from entering the US for his "involvement in significant corruption," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.

"Today, I am announcing the designation of former Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez as generally ineligible for entry into the United States, due to his involvement in significant corruption," Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department. "While serving as Panama's vice president and then president, Varela accepted bribes in exchange for improperly awarding government contracts."