Dominican President Asks for More US Anti-Drug Aid
The president of the Dominican Republic called on the U.S. to increase anti-drug trafficking aid to the island nation, which is in need of more technical equipment to better monitor its air and maritime territory.


Speaking at an international security forum, President Leonel Fernandez said that the Dominican Republic needs radar, go-fast boats and other equipment to step up the fight against organized crime, reports national newspaper Diario Libre.

Since the government purchased eight Super Tucano aircrafts from Brazil in 2009, there has been "no trace" of drug planes in the Dominican Republic's airspace, he said.

However, as noted by the 2011 State Department Report on narcotics control, the island remains a major transit country for drug traffickers transfering their wares by sea. The loosely controlled border with Haiti also sees significant drug flow. The Dominican Republic's 14,000 member police force is not enough to properly monitor its territory, Fernandez said.

The Dominican Republic is slated to receive $5.6 million in anti-drug aid from the U.S. for the 2012 fiscal year. The Caribbean region as a whole will receive $96.8 million in anti-drug aid for 2012, compared to the $300 million in funds promised to Central America. 

In May, Dominican authorities said they would begin tightening control on fuel sales in order to continue reducing the number of illegal aircrafts that attempt to refuel on the island. 

But the country faces other hurdles in the fight against drug trafficking which have little to do with technical equipment, Fernandez admitted during the security forum. Cases related to organized crime in the Caribbean see a 90 percent impunity rate, he said. Corruption in the Dominican security forces has been another significant problem, with more than 5,000 members of the police and army reportedly fired over the last three years for their alleged links to crime.



Related article from

Dominican Republic’s Anticorruption chief again admits failure

The head of the Government’s anticorruption agency (DPCA) affirmed Monday that most of those penalized for corruption and other crimes are those who lack economic power or a position in the State.

Hotoniel Bonilla, who’s controversial statements on the country’s failed war on corruption are commonplace, said the justice system isn’t conceived to sanction corruption cases, and cited the political class as an example. “Penal law has been established as a mechanism to control the power over the governed and as such those who have economic power such as the levels which drug trafficking handles are seldom penalized in the Dominican Republic.”

Bonilla, interviewed in the Ministry of Youth, said the penal right law was conceived to punish those vulnerable, people who don’t have the means to defend themselves.

When asked about president Leonel Fernandez’s statement past week that 90% of criminal cases taken to court go unpunished, Bonilla noted that he had already denounced that situation. He said the percentage is even higher and placed it at 95%.

Lack of will

The noted attorney Francisco Alvarez affirmed that Bonilla’s statement reveals that the problem of impunity isn’t in the codes, and instead in the people which must persecute it. “It’s dismally clear that what’s been lacking aren’t norms to sanction corruption, but will.”

Talking via telephone for the Huchi Lora program on CDN Radio, Alvarez added that it’s the great failure which exists in the country’s justice system.


Dominican Watchdog Note: This anti-drug aid should be given on the condition that police and other corrupt officials are finally jailed for being involved in the drug business that drives the Dominican Republic. Don't forget that besides the thousands of fired officials, NONE WENT TO JAIL !!

Read also: Largest Caribbean drug case points to high level corruption in Dominican Republic

Go back | Date: 22 Jul 2011
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