A Graft Machine’s Collapse Sows Chaos in the Caribbean

BloombergHipolito Polanco was locked in a primary against President Danilo Medina in the Dominican Republic when he got a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize.

It was January 2016, and Polanco, a 39-year-old lawyer, was the last candidate still standing to challenge the president for the Dominican Liberation Party nomination. The voice on the phone was offering him a bribe and a high-ranking political position if he quit the race. “They asked me, ‘What’s your price?’” says Polanco. “They said they would arrange everything.”

The woman who called him, he says, was Monica Moura, the wife and business partner of Joao Santana, the president’s longtime adviser and a powerful political guru in the country.

Polanco says he refused her offer. But it provides a window into how one of Brazil’s largest companies and its intermediaries entwined themselves in Dominican national politics, just as they had in at least 11 other countries. …



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Latest Tweets by @IASecurity

Videos Featuring Our Experts

Kingpins and corruption: Targeting transnational organized crime in the Americas Roger Noriega on the Crisis in Venezuela: The world's response | IN 60 SECONDS

Venezuelan crisis: A brief history by Roger Noriega | IN 60 SECONDS

WAC Philadelphia: Latin America’s Role in 2017 and Beyond, feat. José R. Cárdenas

Promo for CNN's AC360°: "Passports in the shadows", feat. Roger Noriega

Ambassador Roger Noriega on PBS NewsHour discussing U.S.-Mexico relations under Trump

José Cárdenas Interview with Opinion Journal: "Hungry in Venezuela"

Ambassador Noriega Analyzes President Obama’s visit to Cuba on PBS’ ‘Newshour’


During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.