The Vatican has reported that the appointment of Bishop of the diocese of San Pedro de Macoris, Francisco Ozoria, chosen by the Vatican to be Archbishop of Santo Domingo, is to be effective on 4 September 2016. The Bishop Ozoria has served in San Pedro de Macoris for 18 years. He was appointed Bishop of San Pedro in March 1997.
He was presented by the Apostolic Nuncio Jude Thaddeus Okolo together with Santo Domingo auxiliary bishop Victor Masalles in a press conference on Monday, 4 July 2016. “I’m sure this has been a surprise to you all,” the archbishop-elect told journalists at the early-morning press conference in Santo Domingo.
“I can assure you that the most surprised of all was me!” he said.
At the press conference on Monday, 4 July 2016, the nuncio clarified that while Ozoria replaces Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez in his role as Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Lopez Rodriguez will continue in his role as cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic. Soon to be 80 years old, Lopez Rodriguez had been archbishop since 1991.
Ozoria is described as a defender of the human rights of immigrants in the Dominican Republic, especially Haitian immigration. In 2012, he criticized that the Central Electoral Board (JCE) had overridden the identity documents that had been issued to Haitian immigrants. At the time the JCE argued these had been irregularly issued by government offices. Subsequently the government would issue Law 169-13 that regularized the status of those who had irregularly received the documentation from the government.