Concerning a Recent Visit to the Dominican Republic

September 25, 2007

The U.S. press, by its lack of coverage, would have us believe that the Dominican epublic is no longer in a state of crisis. The rightness of the April, 1965 Marine invasion and subsequent violations of international justice seems to be borne out, in the eyes of the U.S. Government and its spokesmen in the press, by the formation of the Garcia Gody provisional government (Garcia Godoy is currently Joaquin Balaguer's ambassador in Washington and was formerly Vice-President of his Partido Reformista); by the June, 1966 "free" elections; by the exit of foreign troops, and by the "return of constitutional rule" under Balaguer (one of the pillars of the Trujillo regime).

However, the present situation is anything but stable. Political assassinations of "Constitutionalists" and "communists" have continued under the Balaguer regime. According to the Dominican Human Rights Association's report, the following violations of human rights have occurred for political reasons between July and December, 1966 (Balaguer assumed power in July, 1966): 36 assassinations, 16 disappearances, 31 wounded, 277 imprisonments, 27 beatings, 70 search raids. These repressive acts reportedly occur more openly than they did under Trujillo.

Political opposition parties border on fictional entities. Juan Bosch, who lost to Balaguer in the '66 elections, resigned as head of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) and left the country in the fall of 1966, declaring he could not lead the major opposition party under the existing oppressive conditions. The PRD, now under the presumably more militant leadership of Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, is having to confine its efforts to seeking guarantees of political freedom and modifications of a reactionary constitution. There are widespread rumors of infiltration of opposition parties. The Partido Revolucionario Social Cristiano (PRSC), the Movimiento Popular Dominicano (MPD), and the 14th of June Movement (1J4) have at times been acting in ways which appear contrary to their stated purposes and which, in the end, seem to support Balaguer's aims. For example, The Washington Post reported on February 6, 1967, that Balaguer had uncovered a communist plot to foment revolution in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which was reportedly exposed upon the arrest of a Dominican union leader by Venezuelan police, and which allegedly had the financial support of Fidel Castro. This charge was the basis for the series of arrests hroughout the country. The leader, Fernando de la Rosa, returning from an international workers meeting in Caracas, was, I discovered, charged with bringing $10,000 of Castro money into the Dominican Republic. The police apparently found no such money. The interesting thing is that, a few days later, the 14th of June Movement publicly accused the IIPD of stealing $13,000 that de la Rosa brought from Cuba. Balaguer then used this statement from a Communist party as "proof" of Castro's intervention in Dominican affairs and sent the newspaper clippings about this to the Organization of American States.

Pressures against political parties are apparently also being exerted from the outside. One unconfirmed report says that Angel iioln, one of the three men sent by Bosch to the Dominican Republic immediately after Trujillo's assassination to lay the groundwork for Bosch's return, is now working for Balaguer as minister without portfolio and Director of Tourism. According to some reports, while traveling within the country, he is working to destroy the opposition parties, particularly the small but effective PRSC.

As one would expect, under such circumstances, fear and suspicion of both Dominicans and North Americans are rampant. U.S. advisors in the Dominican Republic provide a major support for the armed forces and government. Dominican police have been shipped to Washington, D.C. for special training (a little known fact until one of them was killed by an automobile last fall). then I visited the Dominican Republic in June, 1966, I heard kind words for Peace Corpsmen, largely because many of them had worked side by side with Dominicans during the "revolution" when U.S. troops were killing their people. Now, there is considerable suspicion that P.C;.members (there are now more than 150) may collaborate with the CIA. People are convinced of CIA involvement in other areas, particularly certain foundation operations, like the International Development Foundation, but specific data is difficult to obtain. Reports in the Dominican press and conversations I had provided many leads that are simply not available in this country and which I had no time to follow up. There is a tremendous need for a full-time correspondent in the weary, troubled land of the Dominican Republic.

Tags: Dominican Republic, political instability, Joaquin Balaguer

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