Diario Libre reports that despite a purge of dozens of superfluous appointees in foreign service, the Dominican Republic continues to be one of the few countries in the world with a consular system that is based on political patronage. The leading media outlet says that consular positions continue to be a way for enrichment for a privileged few.
Diario Libre explains that in addition to high salaries, Dominican consuls receive for use at their discretion the bulk of extra charges made to issue documentation or stamps required by Dominicans living abroad and for other services for trade and commerce. The most lucrative consulates are those in the United States, Spain, Italy and Haiti, where large populations of Dominicans live.
The consuls are allowed to collect fees above those set by the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Mirex).
Diario Libre highlights that the Dominican consul in New York, Eligio Jaquez is of the former President Hipolito Mejia faction of the ruling Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) and has been in the position for three years, accumulating millionaire resources.
Diario Libre explains: “By discretionary dispositions dating from the Trujillo dictatorship, with no clear legal basis, each consul retains a percentage of the resources received for services. Depending on the commercial relations, tourist flows requiring visas and migration flows with the host country, this percentage can amount to several times the monthly salary or allowance of the consul. Since the income depends largely on the needs of Dominicans living abroad, the consuls get rich at the expense of mostly poor immigrants who would pay several times less for the same services, for example, issuance or renewal of passports, if they were to request them in the country of origin.”
According to Diario Libre, in this and previous administrations, the most profitable consulates are granted to politicians according to their party hierarchy, influence or proximity to people in power. The newspaper mentions the appointments of Eligio Jáquez, member of the executive board of the PRM and of the Hipolito Mejia faction in the PRM, to the New York consulate; Miguel Ángel Vásquez Peña, grandson of José Francisco Peña Gómez and who served as assistant to President Luis Abinader, to the Madrid consulate.
Others benefited with lucrative consular positions are: Geanilda Vázquez, also a member of the PRM executive board, to the Miami consulate; César Julio Cedeño Ávila, another member of the executive committee of the ruling party, to the San Juan, Puerto Rico post; Katherine Estela Peña Rodríguez, sister of Vice President of the Republic Raquel Peña, to the in Seville, Spain consulate; Fausto Rafael Jáquez Hernández to the Hamburg consulate; Antonio José Gómez Peña, who was PRM campaign coordinator in Europe during the 2020 campaign, to the Barcelona consulate.
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13 September 2023