Compulsory reading for DR politicians

Lambada

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Mar 4, 2004
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Yes that is indeed a sobering read & thank you for posting it. Can I pose a question? Is it possible that the situation is different in the DR because the Government and military are so involved in this business? The article suggests that Mexican authorities have lost the battle which now rages between rival gangs. Could a state-sponsored 'gang' actually act as an agent for keeping the excesses under control? And is that what we have here in the DR?
 

pierods

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I have no idea! I am not even in the country at the moment.

My uninformed opinion is that the situation is somewhere in the middle, i.e. there is some sort of silent consent, or tolerance if you would, of merchandise going through the country.

It is also true that. as the article says, trafficking in Mexico has surged because it has become more difficult in the Caribbean.

Personally, I see one resemblance between the two realities, that is, drugs are exacerbating violent behaviors of marginal actors, which in the case of Mexico, were a few "bronco" villages in the mountains, and in the case of DR, are (yet unorganized) "tigueres" in the barrios.

How long will they stay unorganized?

For reference, the Italian Calabria mafia, once unorganized, got into trafficking, and nowadays it grosses 44 BILLION euros per year. It has so much cash that it owns substantial parts of the Eastern European economies, and oftentimes just acts as a bank for drug purchases of the Sicilian mafia. It is deeply interwoven in the civil society, and you can safely says that Calabria has been lost for Italy.

Or, as another example, in Phoenix there have been 300 kidnappings last year.

So, I wonder if it's not a better strategy to nip it in the bud instead of losing a whole country to the narcos.
 

Lambada

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Yes I would agree it is better to nip it in the bud but if the country has gone beyond that point because of institutionalised involvement? Unfortunately I don't think it is just 'silent consent' by Government and military - that used to be the case about 20 years ago. What I suspect we have now is deep involvement, the sort of things Senator Wilton Guerrero has been talking about. And while that is scary it is not as scary as what is going on in Mexico. In other words the very involvement of governmental and military personnel ensures control of the worst excesses of violence (as Mexico can't and doesn't). My guess is that everyone plays the game that tourism is the great moneymaker and therefore security issues pertaining to this are addressed, whilst underneath it all greater profits are being made from the narco industry. In a sense what I think we have here is the lesser of two evils. I don't see us going the way of Mexico whilst there is institutional involvement. If that institutional involvement was to stop, or be stopped, who knows? We do know that something always rushes in to fill a vacuum.
 

Islander777

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Thank you Pierods for the link. Fascinating article. Very disturbing.

Lambada, I believe the Mexican government is heavily infiltrated also, however the 2,000 mile US Mexican border with 250 million legal crossing and an estimated 50 million illegal crossing per year makes smuggling into the US far easier from Mexico than the route from the DR by boat or airplane over the Mona passage crossing to Puerto Rico, or north to the Bahamas and Florida. A recent US intelligence threat assessment identified Mexico (and Pakistan) as dangerously unstable.

Of course Mexico's drug violence results from "prohibition" in the USA and Europe. Decriminalization followed by massive efforts at education and treatment would address the problem and remove the profits for narcotraffickers, but that is easier said than done and creates another set of problems.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that the DR has also become a narco-democracy heavily dependent on billions of dollars in revenues from the business of transiting drugs, and now exacerbated by growing distribution and use within the country. In 1983 when crack cocaine arrived in NYC the results were horrendous with entire neighborhoods decimated and a generation of youth badly damaged. A similar process appears to be at work in the DR.

I think drug trafficking and associated problems are beginning to spiral out of control in the DR to the point that the government, if it wanted to, may be unable to put the genie back in the bottle!

The night of Valentine's day in formerly peaceful Cabarete saw stabbings on the beach followed by a raging gun battle in the very center of town (at least a dozen shots) that moved on to Callejon de la Loma where the battle continued for over an hour. Grapevine rumor has it that the precipitating cause was a turf struggle over drug distribution points and that young gangeros from several different towns were involved. A gringo tourist friend of mine who was caught in the cross-fire in the center of Cabarete on the night of the Dia del Amor reported to me that he was "terrified". This incident does not portend well for our future here. Of course, at the same time the Dutch man was killed in ProCab and the Puerto Plata National police were arrested for their involvement in drug distribution.
 
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FernieBee

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Feb 20, 2008
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Of course Mexico's drug violence results from "prohibition" in the USA and Europe. Decriminalization followed by massive efforts at education and treatment would address the problem and remove the profits for narcotraffickers...
I doubt said prohibition will be lifted, as there's probably more money to be made in keeping these drugs illegal. Too many palms are being greased in this industry, on the Mexican and US sides.
 

FernieBee

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Feb 20, 2008
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This is the reason the war on drugs will not be won...

There's too much money to be made in feeding people's voracious appetites for recreational pharmaceuticals.

That's one of several pictures, from a raid in Mexico City, which netted over 200 million US$, almost two years ago...

LINK
link

:ermm:
 

pierods

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Same difference - 44 billion euros is the GDP of Estonia or what Microsoft grossed in 2005, for ONE mafia organization only.

The photo is very compelling though.
 

FernieBee

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If the DR ever gets around to manufacturing and/or importing large quantities of methamphetamines: God help us, all! :ermm:
 

pierods

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Very interesting.

When living in the country, I have always had the impression that the whole thing was ruled by the few big families (Vicini Brugal etc) who basically put into power whoever they picked by paying for their campaigns and so forth.

To me, it looked like the philosophy of those families was to have an old style country, a kind of "survival of the fittest" environment, with salary levels one inch above starvation, zero human rights, police acting as judge and executioner and so forth.

The only "right of citizenship" would be be granted by adherence to strict Catholic customs.

But capitalism caught them off guard, albeit indirectly, through money spent by US citizens on drugs, the advent of the internet etc.

Question: which option will the controlling families of the country will pick for the future, #1 or #2?

1. live in gated communities and spend a lot of time in Miami while the country turns into something akin to Mexico

2. opt for social justice at last, letting some redistribution of wealth happen so that people do not HAVE TO turn to drug trafficking and other crime for sheer survival.

I think both options are equally likely.

On the one hand, those families have resisted the Spanish, the Haitians, Communism, an American invasion, so they might just let the rest of the people marinate in a few decades of hell (think Trujillo) and wait for this tide to recede.

But it is also true that the Dominican elite is cultivated, well read and travelled. They might just decide it's time for a change.

Because if they don't, there are powerful Colombian mafiosos that might notice that DR is a lovely place, at which point the only option for the ancient Dominican elite might be to pack up and move to Miami, while the mafiosos sit in their villas and mansions in Cap Cana.

My 2 cents.
 

NALs

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Jan 20, 2003
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Very interesting.

When living in the country, I have always had the impression that the whole thing was ruled by the few big families (Vicini Brugal etc) who basically put into power whoever they picked by paying for their campaigns and so forth.

To me, it looked like the philosophy of those families was to have an old style country, a kind of "survival of the fittest" environment, with salary levels one inch above starvation, zero human rights, police acting as judge and executioner and so forth.

The only "right of citizenship" would be be granted by adherence to strict Catholic customs.

But capitalism caught them off guard, albeit indirectly, through money spent by US citizens on drugs, the advent of the internet etc.

Question: which option will the controlling families of the country will pick for the future, #1 or #2?

1. live in gated communities and spend a lot of time in Miami while the country turns into something akin to Mexico

2. opt for social justice at last, letting some redistribution of wealth happen so that people do not HAVE TO turn to drug trafficking and other crime for sheer survival.

I think both options are equally likely.

On the one hand, those families have resisted the Spanish, the Haitians, Communism, an American invasion, so they might just let the rest of the people marinate in a few decades of hell (think Trujillo) and wait for this tide to recede.

But it is also true that the Dominican elite is cultivated, well read and travelled. They might just decide it's time for a change.

Because if they don't, there are powerful Colombian mafiosos that might notice that DR is a lovely place, at which point the only option for the ancient Dominican elite might be to pack up and move to Miami, while the mafiosos sit in their villas and mansions in Cap Cana.

My 2 cents.
You have quite an imagination, too bad its put to such drastic waste.

BTW, Dominican politicians and top business people don't make decisions based on what is printed in magazines and pamphlets or on some internet board. Their decisions are based on studies and investigations done by renowned institutions in the respective subject matter desired. They don't throw darts at a board.

-NALs :tired:
 
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FernieBee

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I get enough of that negative/perilous drug vibe when I travel into (Tijuana) Mexico. The last thing I need is to be made to feel the same way while visiting the DR. Once that happens, I'll probably start traveling to Costa Rica.
 

pierods

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Sep 22, 2006
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You have quite an imagination, too bad its put to such drastic waste.

BTW, Dominican politicians and top business people don't make decisions based on what is printed in magazines and pamphlets or on some internet board. Their decisions are based on studies and investigations done by renowned institutions in the respective subject matter desired. They don't throw darts at a board.

-NALs :tired:
Fair enough. I am no sociologist or politician either, just a layman, or maybe I can be qualified as an "Internet expert" or "bulletin board expert". :cheeky:
 

mountainannie

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Dec 11, 2003
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Since the DR is just a transhippment point, we are very much like Mexico in that.

Clearly there the "war on drugs" is a no win situation as long as there is a demand.

Can Mexico learn from Colombia's drug war?

And we are going to have to just deal with the reality that it is. Holland will keep importing from here and keep using Dominicans to do it. The US will keep expecting the DR to do everything it can and then keep sending back all the very well trained dealers from US prisons.

However, the DR could direct it differently. The issue that is of grave concern is the "unpacking" of the product here in the DR- the use of payment in kind, the addicting of the local population. That is what is going to turn this country into hell on earth.

That is what is going to make it impossible for foreigners to live here, for tourists to visit, and for the locals to have a decent life.

I have seen ABSOLUTELY NO educational campaign on television about the dangers of CRACK cocaine. And I just finished reading a study that said that 96% of the people here have TV.

But there are NO WARNINGS whatsoever. Nothing. Why not? Are we going to just pretend that it does not exist?

Obviously - there are plenty of people who use cocaine in the world at large who are functional, who can control their use, who do not become craven addicts. BUT I have never heard this about CRACK. CRACK addicts in a matter of a few tries. It is the drug which will make the user completely insane - only thinking about the next dose.

I have it from a very high source (who asks to remain anonymous) that as much as 20% of the product that is now transhipped through the DR is now staying here. Things are much worse here in the last five years because 90% of this traffic used to be through Haiti and 10% through the DR. Now the situation is reversed.


Clearly they are not going to be able to stop the transhipment -There is too much demand from Europe and the States and too many Dominicans are too involved. BUT they could do two things to make the place habitable perhaps:

1) They can start getting their best people to cut ads for TV on the dangers of CRACK and run them over and over and over -- in songs, in bars, in every available market--

The one drug treatment program that they have here Crea Hogar - does not make any distinction between alcohol or marijuana or cocaine or crack -- just does a standard 12 step program about addictions. This is, to my mind, a very big mistake since there is a HUGE difference between these different drugs. But Crea only deals with people after they are addicted. As far as I know there is NO program at all to educate or protect the people.


2) They can pass really STRICT laws about CRACK - about its SALE and USE and come down HARD on those DOMINCANS who care so little about their own country that they will infect their own nation.

They could devise their own policy.

Something radical-- Make a deal with their own dealers. Make CRACK use in the DR absolutely illegal. Turn a blind eye to transshipment. Not fight the US war for the US. Legalize marijuana and tax it. Enlist these returning deportees in a campaign on the dangers of drug use. Something creative.

Otherwise-- it's gonna be Mexico at worst or Jamaica at best and all of us who have other passports are going to pack and leave--- or at least it looks that way from the crime reports that are coming in from the coastal towns on this board.

The War on Drugs in the US is certainly already lost. Over one third of all US federal prisoners are there for drug charges. And now the biggest drug use is methamphetemines which are made from cold medicine - not even imported. Makes you wonder about life in the land of the free and the brave, right?

What do you Dominicans think?
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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The problem in Mexico is exacerbated by racial tensions and the much greater divide between the rich and the poor, not to mention the simple fact that the location of Mexico is a much logical choice for drug runners. As long as the Mexico border is so porous and easy to violate the running of drugs through the DR will be much much less.
 

Bronxboy

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Jul 11, 2007
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Obviously - there are plenty of people who use cocaine in the world at large who are functional, who can control their use, who do not become craven addicts. BUT I have never heard this about CRACK. CRACK addicts in a matter of a few tries. It is the drug which will make the user completely insane - only thinking about the next dose.
100% correct!!!! There is no such thing as a functional crack or heroin addict!!!!!!

I grew up in the 80's in The Bronx where the crack epidemic was everywhere.

Crack use has curb down alot since then. I hear heroin is the drug of choice nowadays.

I will stick to my Vodka!!!!!
 
Mar 2, 2008
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"Once that happens, I'll probably start traveling to Costa Rica."

I am sorry to say this my friend, but you will get the vibe in Costa Rica as you do in Tijuana (at least in San Jose).