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2005-11-15 17:12:00
Embassy Santo Domingo
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 SANTO DOMINGO 005038 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/15/2015

Classified By: Ambassador Hans Hertell for reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary. President Fernandez told FBI Director
Robert Mueller III during his October 24 visit to Santo
Domingo that Venezuelan drug trade via the Dominican Republic
to the United States was a "crime against humanity." The
Ambassador,s suggestion that a high-level Dominican
government team go to Caracas would be feasible, said
Fernandez, if the delegation could carry declassified U.S.
Government information to support the view that illegal drugs
were being shipped from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic.
Fernandez advocated a long-term commitment by the
international community for peacekeeping and nation-building
in Haiti. On Cuba, Fernandez said he expected Castro,s
influence to be felt for many years after his demise, similar
to Trujillo,s lingering effects in the political culture of
the Dominican Republic nearly 45 years after the Dominican
dictator,s death. For the Dominican Republic, Fernandez and
his top advisors asked the FBI and other U.S. agencies to
consider establishing streamlined bilateral
information-sharing mechanisms, especially on Dominicans
convicted of serious crimes in the United States who were
later deported. They also sought a system in which Dominican
convicts could finish out their sentences in the Dominican
Republic. Fernandez urged the United States to restore
traditional levels of public affairs activities and cultural
exchanges, including scholarships. He invited President Bush
to visit. End summary.

2. (SBU) President Fernandez hosted FBI Director Robert
Mueller III for a luncheon conversation with Dominican law
enforcement authorities October 24, during the first stop on
the Director,s five-nation tour of Latin America. The
principals met briefly before lunch and had an exchange with
the press. Accompanying Fernandez were Chief of Staff Danilo
Medina, presidential legal adviser Cesar Pina Toribio,
Interior and Police Secretary Franklin Almeyda, intelligence
director Major General Luis Damian Castro Cruz, Attorney
General Francisco Domnguez Brito, and presidential drug
advisor Vinicio "Vincho" Castillo (who is also the lawyer for
the Baninter bank fraud defendants). Accompanying the FBI
director were Ambassador Hertell, FBI special assistant Tim
Murphy, Legatt Andy Diaz, an EcoPol notetaker and an FBI

Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, China, and U.S. assistance
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -

3. (C) Cuba. Fernandez mentioned that in the Dominican
Republic the influence of Trujillo, assassinated in 1961,
remained pervasive. Castro had been in power almost 50%
longer than Trujillo. Fernandez said that Castroism had
deeper roots than Trujillo,s personality cult because of the
greater ideological content and the more extensive
transformation of the Cuban state. He anticipated that the
specter of Castro would remain in the mind and society of
Cuba for many years - - at least as long as his 45 years in
power. Legal Adviser Pina Toribio pointed to the example of
the continuing influence in Argentina of Juan Peron. The
Director, citing developments in China, noted the influence
of information flows via the internet in pressing
dictatorships for political change. Fernandez replied that
the "digital divide" reduces the impact of the internet in
countries like the Dominican Republic, where only 5% of the
population uses the internet despite policies promoting
computer literacy. But he agreed that eventually China would
have to liberalize,

4. (C) Venezuela. Director Mueller raised U.S. Government
concerns regarding illegal narcotics flows from Venezuela
into the Dominican Republic. Fernandez offered his good
offices to address the problem of interdicting drug flights
from Venezuela. On this topic, the Venezuelan authorities
might trust Fernandez more than they would trust U.S.
authorities. Fernandez replied that if the U.S. Government
could provide contacts, the Dominicans would like to send a
high-level delegation to Venezuela to discuss this problem,
which affects both the Dominican Republic and the United
States. He would like to be able to share declassified U.S.
Government information supporting the contention that drugs
are being flown into the country from Venezuela. He would
ask the Venezuelan government to put a stop to it. Fernandez
said the illegal drug flow was a "crime against humanity"
that transcended politics. He believed the precedent of
U.S.-Cuban cooperation in fighting illegal drugs, despite the
political differences between the countries, might make
President Chavez more receptive.

5. (C) Democracy promotion in Cuba and Venezuela. The
Director suggested that the Dominican Republic could serve as
a beacon to Cuba and Venezuela on the conduct of a
representative democracy, on judicial independence, and on
transformation of the criminal justice system. Fernandez
replied that he was always willing to collaborate to promote
constructive dialogue between the United States and
Venezuela, but that this would require real engagement from
both sides.

6. (C) Haiti. Fernandez commented that elections are
important for Haiti, but are only a first step toward
resolving the country,s problems. Haiti is a failed state.
The international community must remain involved. Haiti is a
national security problem for both the United States and the
Dominican Republic; with its corrupt police and lack of an
army, Haiti has become a space from which various interests
can cause problems for both countries. Director Mueller
noted the presence of MINUSTAH, and Fernandez replied that
MINUSTAH should stay - both to keep the peace and to promote
nation-building. Mueller commented that the United States
had domestic political limitations on support for additional
nation-building overseas, and suggested that a multilateral
approach would be more effective. He acknowledged U.S.
skepticism about the effectiveness of multilateral
institutions in intelligence-sharing.

7. (C) Deported Haitian criminals. Counter-narcotics advisor
Vincho Castillo asserted that Haitians convicted in the
United States and deported subsequently to Haiti were
strengthening criminal networks and endangering democracy and
security in both countries on Hispaniola. Attorney General
Domnguez Brito agreed. He described Haiti as a bridge
country serving as a point of transit for drugs and other
types of trafficking. Dominguez Brito commented that
deportations of Haitian convicts potentially posed threats to
Haiti,s democracy and to the security of the Dominican

8. (C) Development assistance and U.S. cultural programs.
Fernandez agreed that multilateral efforts were better than
unilateral ones and expressed hope that developed countries
could meet a proposed goal of donating 0.7% of GDP in foreign
assistance. He hoped the U.S. Government could do more
public diplomacy and cultural activities, and, especially,
could offer more scholarships. "If Cuba can take 10,000
students, why can,t the United States double that number?"
Fernandez mentioned that his request for forest fire
assistance earlier this year had been rebuffed by most
countries, but that Venezuela had responded. Fernandez
acknowledged that his refusal to issue a declaration of
emergency -- so as not to hurt tourism -- had been a factor.
The Ambassador cited two hurricane emergencies in the region
-- in Guatemala and previously in Honduras -- for which the
United States had provided prompt and generous aid.
Fernandez also urged the United States to restore previous
levels of public affairs programs in education and culture,
such as scholarships on a large scale, donations of books and
films, speaker engagements at universities, and operation of
cultural centers. He commented that such activities could
help meet new, post-Cold War challenges to U.S. influence

Dominican deportees and law enforcement cooperation
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

9. (C) Deported Dominican criminals. Presidential anti-drugs
advisor Vincho Castillo said that some years ago, during the
Reno-McCaffrey period in Washington, the Dominicans had
proposed to the U.S. Government a reciprocal prison
assistance treaty under which the United States would set up
a high security prison here run according to U.S. practices
and standards, so that convicted Dominicans could serve out
their sentences in the Dominican Republic. He asserted that
many Dominicans convicted in the United States are deported
back to the Dominican Republic after serving only one-third
of their sentences. He said they bring back wealth,
resources and a life style that help improve the techniques
of the drug traffickers here. The returning convicts might
get involved in politics and become candidates, including for
Congress, raising the possibility of convicted drug
traffickers making Dominican laws, a catastrophic situation.
Castillo asked whether the FBI could help set up a program of
police vigilance to help the Dominicans prevent such
individuals from entering politics. The request was for
logistical support to provide information.

10. (C) Response on deportees. Director Mueller replied that
to his knowledge there were no rules that facilitated early
release of persons convicted of serious crimes. He noted the
existence of prisoner transfer treaties with some countries.
(Note: The Embassy had delivered much earlier Department
guidance encouraging the country to accede to either of two
multilateral prison transfer treaties. End note.) The
Director said it might be possible to explore setting up an
exchange of information on Dominicans convicted of serious
crimes in the United States, so that they could be
identified, monitored, and, if local law permitted, prevented
from holding public office. The FBI database includes
convictions in federal, state, and local jurisdictions, and
there may be a way to cull the cases of Dominicans. The
Legal Attache explained that a mechanism currently in place
provided the Dominican police and immigration authorities
with the names and criminal conviction records of the
deportees for entry into local databases; the information was
provided by the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration
and Customs Enforcement - ICE).

11. (C) Identification. Attorney General Dominguez Brito
said it was important to foster a streamlined mechanism to
provide fingerprints and other means of identifying
criminals. He noted that the Dominican Government was
working with the Legal Attache on a specific case in this
regard. A more rapid and efficient mechanism to exchange
this kind of information would help both sides. He commented
that a high percentage of Dominican deportees eventually
returned to the United States, where they could become a
concern to law enforcement authorities.

12. (C) Information sharing. Anti-narcotics advisor Castillo
complained about a Dominican drug trafficker who had worked
with the Cali cartel, was convicted in the United States, and
after serving his time in a U.S. prison was deported to the
Dominican Republic and started rebuilding his network with
Cali. The Dominican Government had been unaware of his
release and were surprised to see him in the country. The
Director described his deep interest in improving the FBI,s
capability to gather intelligence on terrorism, narcotics
trafficking, and violent crime. He offered to explore the
possibility of sharing more information with the Dominican

13. (C) Interagency counter-narcotics cooperation. Fernandez
commented that the Dominican authorities were trying to
improve cooperation on drug issues between the anti-narcotics
agency DNCD, the National Police, and the Directorate of
Intelligence. The FBI Director empathized with the problem.

14. (C) Public defenders. The Director said that it was
important to build a network of public defenders, and he
encouraged the Dominican Attorney General to continue his
work on this. In the United States, contrary to some
criticisms, public defenders often performed very well
because of their intense exposure to the courts.

Invitation to President Bush
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15. (C) Suggestion of a Visit by President Bush. Fernandez
asked for a visit by President Bush, for its symbolic
importance in recognizing the Dominican Republic's progress
as a model for other countries. Director Mueller said he
would take that invitation back to Washington. Fernandez
commented that U.S. presidents regularly visit big countries,
but tend to visit small ones only in times of crisis. He
noted that former President Bush and many Bush family members
had visited the country, but that the current President has
not done so.

16. (U) Embassy Santo Domingo Legal Attache has cleared this

17. (U) FBI did not have an opportunity to clear this cable.