DOMINICAN PRESIDENT REJECTS U.S. ASSISTANCE TO FIGHT CRIME, OPTING FOR LOANS
(Defend Haiti) -
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declined on Thursday the type of economic benefits the United States was offering his country to combat organized crime and drug trafficking.
Fernandez claimed rather than aid and assistance his government would rather have financial support, consisting of the granting of credits and loans on favorable terms to enable the country to procure equipment for the fight against crime and drug trafficking.
The Dominican Head of State who attended a Dominican Forum on Safety in Santo Domongo, criticized the American assistance to the Dominican Republic to fight crime; assistance that is estimated at $15 million. Much more "assistance" is granted to other countries including Colombia.
"It is better that they (USA) give us nothing in terms of economic aid, said Fernandez proposing the extension of credit that allows the Dominican Republic to buy speedboats and radar to monitor its borders with Haiti in lieu of insufficient donations."
Fernández said that "this fight we can win it, explaining that substantial resources would enable his country to have control of land, sea and air of the total territory in the Dominican Republic, and thereby achieve better results in the fight against drug trafficking."
The Dominican president recalled that in the region, 90% of cases of drug trafficking and organized crime go unpunished. He said he is in a country affected by this disease. A tax problem and weak state is being enjoyed by drug traffickers. "The situation causes," he said, "a lack of trust of the population vis-à-vis institutions charged with responsibility for combating drug trafficking. He acknowledged that Dominican police officers who are receiving low wages are influenced and seduced by the narco-traffickers."
"There is a problem that has to do with the salaries of police officers. Police officers are poorly paid in our country and because they are poorly paid, they are vulnerable to mafia groups and criminals."