HomeNewsBriefUS-Funded Naval Base Stirs Controversy in Dominican Republic
BRIEF

US-Funded Naval Base Stirs Controversy in Dominican Republic

CARIBBEAN / 28 FEB 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Plans for a US-funded naval station on an island off the coast of the Dominican Republic have sparked a controversy over sovereignty and natural resource issues.

Earlier this month, the Dominican government announced that the US military's Southern Command (SouthCom) would contribute $1.5 million to the construction of a naval base and dock on the eastern island of Saona. The funds will come from the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, a multi-million dollar US State Department security aid fund established in 2009.

Vice Admiral Nicolas Cabrera Arias (pictured) told local press that the facility is intended to help target drug trafficking and smuggling on the eastern coast of the country. According to Cabrera, the base "will increase the operational capability of the Navy to address the all kinds of trafficking, from the illegal drug trade to smuggling, in order to protect this part of the country and promote tourism."

Some in the country have objected to the plan, however, claiming it represents a violation of sovereignty and could potentially have a negative environmental impact.

In response to this criticism, the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a statement last week assuring Dominicans that "there will not be any military personnel involved in the construction or operation of the base or based on the island of Saona."

InSight Crime Analysis

With a price tag of only $1.5 million, the facility is likely to be small and relatively unobtrusive. If the facility is to actually be staffed by only Dominican personnel, concerns about sovereignty seem overblown, considering that the country's president requested more anti-drug aid in 2011. With an election approaching in May, much of the controversy likely amounts to opportunistic politicking by the opposition.

Politics aside, the Dominican Republic has its share of challenges in the fight against drug trafficking, as the island nation is a key transshipment point for cocaine bound for the US. In 2011, a top anti-drug official was gunned down in Santo Domingo, the country's capital. What's more, corrupt security forces make the drug fight difficult.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 2 AUG 2021

Spiraling violence around Madrid is being blamed on the fracturing and spread of Dominican gangs, which have become Spain's primary…

CARIBBEAN / 7 JUL 2021

Armed gunmen have murdered Haiti President Jovenel Moïse and severely wounded First Lady Martine Moïse in a coordinated attack on…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…