Viewing cable 06SANTODOMINGO344, DOMINICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RUN FOR SENATE

08.07.2011 00:17

Viewing cable 06SANTODOMINGO344, DOMINICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RUN FOR SENATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANTODOMINGO344 2006-02-01 13:57 2011-06-21 08:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Santo Domingo
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HQS DHS WASHDC PRIORITY
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTO DOMINGO 000344 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR D, WHA, WHA/CAR, WHA/CEN, INR/IAA, INL, G/TIP, 
L/T, L/LEI; 
STATE PASS DEA FOR OEL-LUIS PIZARRO; 
NSC FOR FISK; USSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD; 
JUSTICE FOR CRIM/OIA-MAZUREK AND ORJALES; 
TREASURY FOR OASIA-J LEVINE; DHS FOR CIS-CARLOS ITURREGUI 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/27/2021 
TAGS: PREL PGOV DR SNAR KJUS KCOR EFIN PHUM NU HA
SUBJECT: DOMINICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RUN FOR SENATE; 
REACTIVATES ALEMAN CASE 
 
REF: A. SANTO DOMINGO 0287 
     B. SANTO DOMINGO 0273 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Hans Hertell for Reason 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary: On January 26 Dominican Attorney General 
Francisco Dominguez Brito previewed for the Ambassador that, 
at the request of his political party (the ruling PLD), he 
will take a three-month leave of absence to run for senator 
from Santiago in the May 16 election.  He is responding to 
the request of the ruling PLD.  He plans to announce this 
decision February 2.  If elected, he will reassume his AG 
duties from May 16 only until the August 16 inauguration of 
the new legislature. An eventual possible replacement as AG 
is respected presidential legal adviser Cesar Pina Toribio. 
Dominguez Brito told us he has just called Nicaragua's 
Attorney General to obtain documents needed to investigate 
charges of money laundering here by Nicaraguan ex-president 
Aleman. The two-hour meeting touched additionally on 
extraditions, combating trafficking in persons, the Quirino 
Paulino narcotrafficking cases, possible accession to a 
multilateral treaty for transfer of prisoners, progress in 
reducing killings by the police, and Haiti.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) On January 26 Dominican Attorney General Francisco 
Dominguez Brito accepted the  Ambassador's invitation to drop 
by the Embassy to discuss his political plans as well as law 
enforcement and human rights issues.  DCM and poloff attended. 
 
Attorney General to Make Senate Run 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
3. (C) Dominguez Brito said that his party, the ruling PLD, 
had asked him in the May 16 elections for senator from his 
home province, including Santiago, the nation's second 
largest city.  He was initially reluctant, but President 
Fernandez was granting him a leave of absence from February 
16 to May 16 for the effort.  If Dominguez Brito wins the 
election, he will reassume his current duties for the three 
months until the August 16 inauguration of the new 
legislature. If defeated, he will retain the post of Attorney 
General.   He said the PLD faces a difficult situation in 
contending with a probable opposition alliance of the PRD and 
the PRSC.  "My party's generals have told me I'm needed on 
the front where the battle is raging.  How can I say no?" 
The campaign poses some risk to him personally, he said, 
because an election loss would have a high cost for his 
political future. He will conduct an intense campaign.    The 
PLD planned to announce most of its candidates for the 
congressional and municipal elections on January 30 (Note: 
This announcement was subsequently postponed until February 
5.  End note.); Dominguez Brito said he would announce his 
bid separately.  He asked the USG to hold this information 
closely until then. 
 
4.  (SBU) Dominguez Brito is generally regarded as an 
individual of principle, a view shared by the Ambassador and 
Embassy staff.  He ran for the same senate seat in 2002 and 
narrowly lost.  He believes that operatives from he PRD, his 
opponent's party, carried out electoral fraud.  "And they are 
still there."   Dominguez Brito is widely viewed as a 
potential presidential candidate, if not in 2008 then in 2012 
or later. 
 
5. (C)  The AG said that, if opposition parties' "pink 
alliance" holds, his most likely adversary on May 16 will be 
PRD elder Rafael Abinader, university rector and unsuccessful 
aspirant for the PRD's 2004 presidential election.  Embassy 
shares the AG's view that if Abinader becomes the opposition 
candidate, Dominguez Brito is likely to win. 
 
6. (C)  Deputy AG Rodolfo Espineira Ceballos will run the 
Justice Ministry during the AG's leave.  Dominguez Brito 
believes that if he wins, his most likely successor as 
Attorney General will be presidential legal Cesar Pina 
Toribio.  Dominguez Brito sees Pina Toribio as an honest 
legal expert favoring an institutional approach with ethical 
weight and strong ties to civil society groups and to the 
Supreme Court.  Comment:  We know that President Fernandez 
thinks highly of Pina Toribio, but do not know whom he would 
pick.  End comment. 
 
7. (U) The Ambassador expressed appreciation for the Attorney 
General's close collaboration with the Embassy over the past 
17 months on law enforcement, judicial system reform, 
improving respect for human rights, and measures concerning 
counternarcotics and trafficking in persons.  He said the USG 
looks forward to a continued productive relationship with him 
and any eventual successor as AG.  The AG expressed similar 
appreciation for USG support. 
 
Money Laundering 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
8. (C) The Ambassador spoke of the need for Dominican 
authorities to investigate money laundering in this country 
by Nicaraguan ex-president Aleman (Ref A).   The AG 
acknowledged that the United States and Nicaragua had asked 
him to pursue this topic last year, but he had never received 
the originals of documents requested from Nicaraguan 
authorities.  Earlier the same day he had spoken with 
Nicaragua's Attorney General, who replied that he had 
dispatched the documents last June 5.  Dominguez Brito said 
he had never received them.  The two agreed to task their 
staffs to locate the missing materials and deliver them as 
soon as possible.  With those in hand, the Dominican 
authorities can investigate.  Dominguez Brito said he had 
discussed the matter with Hieromy Castro of the Financial 
Investigation Unit of the Superintendency of Banks. 
 
 
9. (C) The Ambassador inquired about evidence collected by 
DEA that two prominent politicians -- ruling PLD secretary 
general Reinaldo Pared Perez and opposition PRSC secretary 
general Victor Gomez Casanova -- had acquired luxury 
apartments paid for in cash from the Ulloa brothers, 
subsequently extradited to the United States to face drug 
trafficking charges.  Dominguez Brito indicated that no 
investigation of the two politicians was contemplated, on 
grounds of insufficient evidence; "hundreds of businessmen 
buy similar properties," he said.  He dismissed the idea that 
the PLD was removing him from the AG position in order to 
protect party members 
 
Drug Trafficking 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
10. (C) Dominguez Brito expressed disappointment that so far, 
U.S. investigators of extradited drug traffickers, including 
Quirino Paulino and the Ulloa brothers, had not provided 
evidence implicating others still in the Dominican 
Republic,and implied that the slowness of the U.S. cases hurt 
the ability to hold and prosecute additional persons 
connected with Quirino in the Dominican Republic.   He noted 
the recent Dominican judicial decision to release alleged 
Quirino accomplice Eleuterio Guante for lack of sufficient 
evidence.  He asserted that many high-ranking military 
officers in the Mejia administration, such as former 
Dominican army commander Gen. Zorrilla Ozuna, had received 
money from the Quirino gang or other traffickers. 
Traffickers in the barrios buy protection from police and 
military personnel.  Also he asserted that Quirino's band is 
still operating under the leadership of one of his family 
members. 
 
Extraditions 
- - - - - - - - - 
 
11. (C) The Ambassador expressed disappointment that the 
names of four persons whom the United States had requested in 
extradition had been published this month in local 
newspapers. The news of the Supreme Court's issuance of 
extradition orders was published before the suspects could be 
located and detained.  The AG acknowledged a procedural error 
within his office, which was being investigated, and he 
undertook to tighten and clarify the procedures.  He believed 
that the press leak had come from "a secretary."  He informed 
us that, despite this, one of the persons wanted for 
extradition had already been arrested. 
 
Trafficking in Persons 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
12. (C) The Ambassador reiterated to Dominguez Brito our 
concern that Dominican authorities need to prosecute and 
convict more traffickers in persons under the Dominican 
Republic's 2003 TIP law.  The DCM asked about a couple of 
potential cases. 
 
13. (C) Noting that assembling documentary evidence can be 
difficult, the AG promised to review Dominican progress with 
Assistant Attorney General for TIP Frank Soto to see if any 
cases could be moved along.  On a positive note, the AG said 
that some of the trafficking networks that existed in 2003, 
such as one that trafficked Dominican women to Argentina, had 
been dismantled.  Trafficking had shifted toward other 
regions such as eastern Europe. 
 
Prisoner Transfer Treaty 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
14. (C) The Ambassador asked about prospects that the 
Dominican Republic might join a multilateral treaty on 
prisoner transfers.  While keeping alive the prospect of 
eventually joining such a treaty, the AG expressed concern 
over how many prisoners might take advantage of the treaty to 
return and, if they did, where the Dominican Government could 
put them.  "There is no place to put 2000-3000 repatriated 
prisoners," he said.  The Ambassador suggested consideration 
of privately operated penal facilities, but Dominguez Brito 
countered that such a solution would be very expensive.  The 
AG said Dominican authorities were working to improve prison 
conditions, and he invited the Ambassador to visit one or 
more newly renovated and reformed prisons. 
 
Killings by Police 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
15. (C) The Ambassador raised the issue of indiscriminate 
extra-judicial killings by police in so-called exchanges of 
gunfire.  The AG said that in December the number of such 
killings was at the lowest point in years, at 14 for that 
month -- a holiday season that has usually shown an increase 
over the average rate.  Official figures indicate that the 
number of such killings had declined steadily since June. 
The AG attributed this reduction to the appointment of a new 
police chief in August, more vigorous investigation of 
policemen suspected of unjustified killings,  implementation 
of the ciminal procedures code, and the effects since early 
2005 of the government's "Plan for Democratic Security." 
 
Haiti 
- - - - 
 
16. (C) On Haiti and recent incidents involving Haitian 
immigrants in the Dominican Republic, Dominguez Brito 
disagreed with those who would characterize as anti-Haitian 
the attacks in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Santo 
Domingo on January 22, which left 81 persons, mostly of 
Haitian origin, homeless and injured 10 or more.  He 
acknowledged that a disturbance on the Dominican-Haitian 
border (Ref B) had been motivated by national resentments. 
Normally, Haitians and Dominicans live and work together 
peacefully, he said.  He expressed concern over various 
recent outbreaks of hostility.  As for Haiti's problems, he 
informally urged the United States to rebuild institutions 
there and improve conditions for the people, especially via 
education.  "You should stay for 10 years, not less." 
HERTELL