SANTO DOMINGO. The United States ambassador to the country said Monday that one of the main concerns of her government is that in the Dominican Republic, probably because of the lack of transparency and an independent judicial system, the corrupt are not presented to the courts.
Robin Bernstein said that, speaking in general terms and based on data from Transparency International, one of the most worrisome, though not the worst, complaints of his government is that the country does not present the corrupt to justice.
He assured that the United States is closely following the development of the Odebrecht case, since a transparent and democratic Dominican Republic is also very important for its country.
“The position of the embassy is that the corrupt should be brought to justice,” he said, but noted that this process takes time and that their hope is that these people will be judged and receive the full weight of the law.
He added that the US authorities are contributing to strengthening the judicial capacity of the Dominican Republic and that representatives of the United States judicial system have come to the country to offer training in that area.
Deletion of visas to corrupt
Interviewed Monday by journalist Alicia Ortega, Bernstein said that the United States has mechanisms of pressure against people involved in corruption cases who manage to get out of judicial processes without a sentence that punishes their crimes, such as the suppression of visas.
“By law we are prohibited from talking about individual cases related to visas, but I can tell you that if we see something in a diary that clearly indicates that someone has been charged or tried and that this person is transporting drugs, washing assets or doing any other illegal activity, we use these tools that we have available to remove the visa, we do not want this type of people in the United States, “he said.
He said that these mechanisms also allow not only stripping the visa of the person involved in corruption, but the same is done with his family, so that they can not use the ill-gotten goods here and take them to the United States.
Bernstein affirmed that in general terms and due to the conversations he has had with the members of the commercial mission of Florida and through the OPIC (financial institution of development of the government of the United States), he understands that there are interested foreign investors in the Dominican Republic, attracted by the “fabulous” development of its economy.
However, he added that when these investors learn about the Dominican issues that have to do with corruption or non-transparent contracts, this may have an impact on their final decision.
The US diplomat said that although the situation is positive for both parties at present, the United States has no interest in carrying out a renegotiation of the DRCAFTA free trade agreement in the Dominican Republic, as happened in Mexico.
He stressed that the treaty has had a positive impact on the Dominican economy, with a GDP that has doubled in the last 10 years, as well as contributing to the growth of national exports.
Bernstein said that unfortunately the records held by his government indicate that the vast majority of the drug that arrives in the United States through the Caribbean passes through the Dominican Republic. He said that 100 percent, about 80 of it passes through Central America and Mexico and the remaining 20 percent, 70 is the one that touches Dominican soil.
He said that the case of drug trafficking is a huge challenge for the Dominican Republic because it has 800 miles of coastline, which makes it easier for drug traffickers to move from one place to another when authorities monitor a specific area.
He added that the Dominican government has requested help from the United States to fight drug trafficking, consisting of resources such as boats, equipment to scan phones and training and that his government has also offered its cooperation to face this problem together.
He stressed that through the International Office of Counternarcotics Affairs, the State Department has invested more than 20 million dollars for the Caribbean basin and that this figure is likely to exceed 40 million if the different types of cooperation are taken into account. in the security area.