Mass marches against government corruption and impunity took place in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo on Sunday demanding justice for the more than a dozen state officials involved in the 2017 Odebrecht case.
Named the ‘Green March’ and ‘March of the Million’ nearly that many people dressed in green t-shirts demonstrated through the streets of Santo Domingo on Sunday. They are demanding that justice is brought against the dozen or more current and past state officials accused of accepting at least US$ 92 million in bribes from Odebrecht between 2001 and 2014.
Anti-corruption activist Franiel Genao told TeleSUR, "we are tired of political thieves and criminals stealing our money that should be invested in public policies, education, health, housing, decent employment. That’s why we’re protesting," Genao said.
This is the second Dominican Green March; the first one took place on January 22, 2017, shortly after the Latin American-wide Odebrecht corruption scandal was revealed.
In a statement released by the Green March, activists say they want: “citizens to be committed to changing structures in order to once and for all remove criminal politicians and their economic, business and military allies from institutions and from all public spaces of the Dominican pueblo, because criminals belong in jail, not in the state.”
In May 2017 Roberto Rodriguez, former director of the national water authority INAPA and 11 other government officials were arrested and brought to court in relation to the bribes the Brazilian construction company gave to state officials in exchange for public works contracts.
Sunday’s demonstrators, which represent a wide swath of Dominican society, say that the current administration under president Danilo Medina is protecting previous presidents, Hipolito Mejia (2000-2004) and Leonel Fernandez (1996-2000, 2004-2012). They allege Mejia and Fernandez conducted high-level corruption schemes during their presidential terms. ‘The Green March: For The End of Impunity’ is also demanding that Medina himself be investigated on potential corruption charges.
In their communique, ‘Green March’ representatives say they want all state funds stolen by government officials to be returned, and for all Odebrecht contracts in the Dominican Republic to be repealed, including a US$2 billion Punta Catalina coal station project set to be finished in months.