Abinader Government Attacks Report as “Aggressive” and “Unfounded”

This week, the U.S. State Department issued its 2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in the Dominican Republic, detailing a serious deterioration of human rights over the past year in which the government of President Luis Abinader “did not take credible steps to identify and punish officials who may have committed human rights abuses.”

The Abinader government immediately expressed its “astonishment at the aggressive and unfounded tone” of the extensively documented report and denied its findings. The State Department report “does not reflect the current reality of human rights in the Dominican Republic,” said a statement by presidential spokesman Homero Figueroa.

But the facts are clear and verified by actual events that have been widely reported.

According to the State Department, the following human rights abuses have been documented in the Dominican Republic:

The scale of human rights abuses detailed in the 2023 State Department report is terrible and clearly getting worse. But it also illustrates how there is a disconnect within the Biden Administration between the State Department’s recognition of the reality on the ground and the political cover granted by Biden appointees like Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya who declared the Dominican Republic as a “bright spot country” under the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal.

The State Department’s report puts the target on the Dominican National Police (PND), General Directorate of Migration (DGM), and the Public Ministry (MP) as the chief perpetuators of the country’s litany of human rights violations. These agencies, which receive funding from the United States, are responsible for the “unlawful or arbitrary killings; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention” and other serious “significant human rights issues” that the State Department reported in the Dominican Republic.

There is no “bright spot” for human rights in today’s Dominican Republic, and the double talk from Washington is protecting the perpetrators of worsening abuses that the Abinader government refuses to hold accountable.