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Dominicans Return to Streets to Protest Against Corruption

LADB Article ID: 80245
Category/Department: Dominican Republic
Date: 2017-03-23
By: Crosby Girón

Corruption has once again led to a wave of indignation among the Dominican people. Two years ago, anti-corruption protests were sparked by the case of Félix Bautista, who served as chairman of the Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, PLD) and was appointed coordinator of the Bureau for Public Works, a position he used for his personal enrichment, his opponents claim. After being charged with corruption, money laundering, illicit enrichment, and falsifying public and private documents, the Supreme Court allowed him to walk free. As a result, Dominicans took to the street in 2015 to demand an end to impunity. This year’s demonstrations were set off by another corruption case––accusations by the US Justice Department that the Brazilian firm Odebrecht had bribed public officials in 12 countries in exchange for public works contracts. Dominican officials reportedly received around US$92 million, making the Dominican Republic the country that received the second highest amount in bribes, according to the charges. Although the names of all those involved have not been revealed, Brazilian João Santana, an expert in political marketing who allegedly received money from Odebrecht to fund election campaigns in several countries, was arrested in Brazil in February 2016. He had just returned from the Dominican Republic, where he worked as campaign advisor for President Danilo Medina when he ran as a candidate of the Dominican Liberation Party, according to the television news channel Telesur.

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