HomeNewsBriefDominican Republic Politician Warns of Criminal Influence in Politics
BRIEF

Dominican Republic Politician Warns of Criminal Influence in Politics

CARIBBEAN / 21 JUL 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

The head of a major political party in the Dominican Republic has become the latest high-profile figure to denounce the influence of organized crime in the Caribbean nation’s political scene.

Carlos Cota Lama, leader of the Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana – PLD), recently expressed his concern that some of the candidates who emerged victorious in May’s general election had received support from actors tied to drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

“Investigating these citizens that were elected as legislators, mayors, aldermen in the past electoral process … will not be enough to stop the claims of these sectors permeating the national congress, as well as other government agencies, including those charged with combating drug trafficking and organized crime,” said Cota Lama in comments reported by El Viajero.

Last month, Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito also warned that some of the elected candidates were suspected of having criminal ties.

“It is worrying that there are elected congressmen who were involved in matters of drug trafficking,” Domínguez said in comments reported by Acento. “The next Congress will have to pay close attention, because there are legislators who received drug money and before the [election] process we did everything possible to investigate that the law would allow.”

Prior to the May elections, civil society organizations warned that the Dominican Republic’s campaign finance laws do not allow for regulation of private contributions, opening the door for politicians to accept funding from dubious sources.

These concerns were echoed in a preliminary post-election report (pdf) from the Organization for American States Electoral Observation Mission, which monitored the elections. Media outlets also published reports of rampant vote buying on election day.

InSight Crime Analysis

Allegations that criminal elements are attempting to gain influence in Dominican politics are neither new nor surprising. But they are nonetheless worrisome given the Caribbean nation’s importance as a hub for trafficking drugs and other contraband.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Dominican Republic

Last year, a high-level Dominican prosecutor suggested that security forces may be involved in 90 percent of organized crime cases, including drug trafficking, gun running and murder for hire. Earlier this year, a police officer and several members of the military were arrested and charged with arms trafficking in another indication of the deep ties between the Dominican security forces and organized crime. The corruption of lawmakers and executive officials is the next logical step for criminal organizations seeking protection from the state.

Although violence in the Dominican Republic has been declining recently, some experts have warned that this trend may represent a “calm before the storm.” Corruption of state institutions could make it much more difficult for the country to handle a potential escalation of violence should Dominican criminal organizations come into conflict with one another or with outside groups.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 16 MAY 2013

Jamaican authorities are targeting over $300 million dollars worth of alleged narco-properties in the western part of the island, reportedly…

CARIBBEAN / 16 FEB 2011

Reports from the Dominican Republic warn of the presence of Russian and Italian mafia on the island, buying up land, perhaps…

CARIBBEAN / 10 NOV 2011

More than 70 days after Trinidad and Tobago declared a "state of emergency" due to crime concerns, the prime minister…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…