Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dominican Republic holds largest march against corruption yet

By on August 13, 2018

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Turning one of Santo Domingo’s main avenues into a sea of green, tens of thousands of Dominicans wearing their movement’s emblematic color protested what they consider is rampant government corruption.

Although the so-called Marcha Verde movement began in 2017 after brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht admitted to the U.S. Justice Department it had bribed officials in a dozen countries to win infrastructure contracts, Dominican demonstration Sunday is considered the largest in the country’s history.

Odebrecht has reportedly paid some $786 million to government officials worldwide, with reportedly $92 million going to Dominican lawmakers and the island’s administration. In May 2017, 15 island officials were apprehended in relation to the giant contractor’s case, with eight of them charged with taking bribes. Protesters claim the government has been slow, and perhaps has even been stalling the justice people have been demanding.

Nearly every Dominican newspaper Monday featured a cover photograph of the massive demonstration against government corruption, but at least five major dailies were delivered with a front-page wraparound ad. (CB photo)

On Monday, five major island dailies were printed with a government-paid wraparound, which social media users interpreted as an attempt to hide front-page coverage of the massive demonstration.

Even as officials continue to be prosecuted in relation to a $2 billion construction underway, a  coal-fired 750-megawatt plant, the island’s justice department made a deal to cease charging Odebrecht executives in exchange for a $184 million fine. The massive infrastructure project is one of 17 developed by the company throughout the island.

–María de Lourdes San Miguel contributed to this report.

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Thousands march against corruption in Dominican Republic

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