Tuesday, February 4, 2014


A curious little article innocuously appeared February 2, 2014, in one of the various and sundry Dominican digital newspapers, which in willy nilly fashion constantly bombard the neurons of the hapless inhabitants of that beautiful part of Hispaniola Island known as Dominican Republic.  A casual reader who might not be a Middle East expert, would be astonished to the point of imagining this was a scene from that Hollywood classic Lawrence of Arabia.  But ex-president Leonel Fernandez in his dapper conservative business suit, hardly qualifies as a facsimile thereof, of that legendary British officer who in World War I campaigned throughout the Arabian Peninsula, crossed the Nefud Desert and captured Aqaba from the no less equally brave Turkish army.  Not having a military background though, Fernandez is content with merely having been a sort of an enlightened statesman, who among his shiny nuggets of wisdom has been quoted by more than one Dominican journalist with the strange phrase that, "Dominicans cannot conceptualize."  In other words, Fernandez's messianic narcissism has deluded him into thinking, that he is the only Dominican alive on this planet, who's been anointed by the gods to be able to devise grandiose and Napoleonic plans, such as this virtual state visit to H. M. Sheikh Isa Bin Hamad Al Khalifah, King of Bahrain. Thus, to bring plenipotentiary contextual equilibrium to this meeting, in order to do justice to his pompously cultivated mercurial image, we shall hereby grant Fernandez the Wise, the honorary title of "Archduke of the Caribbean", so as to set proper palatial protocol for this intercontinental visit, which by the way has been given a rather antiseptic treatment not only by Dominican Republic media, but by the so-called "free press" of the globalist-corporate media matrix at large, which as we all know is amply known for its lack of intellectual curiosity, not to mention its notorious lack of ethical standards & professionalism in the digital age.

On the other hand, those readers that might not be "Middle East experts", should be interested in knowing that since February 14, 2011, a rebellion by the Shia majority of the population of Bahrain has been taking place, against the Al Khalifah regime.  Instead of describing at length the brave Bahrain rebellion, which for the most part was a peaceful movement and has remained so; we'll limit ourselves to mention that among the many barbaric reactions by the governing Al Khalifa regime to these peaceful demonstrations; assassinations, tortures, illegal detentions, etc., have taken place with no abatement in sight.  A curious footnote to Bahrain's strategic geographical location within the Persian Gulf by the way, leads us to the fact that the U.S.'s Fifth Fleet is based in that far away outpost, known also to be a part of the British Empire in those nostalgic bygone days of "East of Suez".  Incidentally, recent events indicate now that the well known longing of the Brits, more specifically the Royal NAVY's longing for their former days of glory going back to Nelson's exploits at Trafalgar; are turning Bahrain into a sort of 21st Century Singapore, with the new and flamboyant Royal NAVY base of Mina Salman on Manama's waterfront.  On that note, let's all hope the Royal NAVY tincans moored in Bahrain, will have enough supplies of those horribly tasting cans of British warm beer, which as some old salts superstitiously contend, they serve as sort of an amulet, against the possibility however remote armchair experts at the CIA and MI6 might think, of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria expanding their area of operations into the Persian Gulf region, including the real estate of the Mina Salman waterfront.  Getting back to our more mundane subject, of our politically hyperactive "Archduke of the Caribbean", after carefully analyzing these geopolitical and strategic military points we just mentioned, we just might have another hint as to why perhaps our wise and all knowing Archduke of the Caribbean, took it upon himself to visit a country which also is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, again, led in turn by the de facto antediluvian monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  To bring to a close our geopolitical and military analysis of Bahrain's strategic importance in the region, vis-a-vis our Archduke of the Caribbean's enigmatic visit, let us not conveniently forget this monarchy's working relationship with the ever expanding NATO, a military alliance well known in its intent to spread "freedom and democracy" in the world, as the notorious case of the "humanitarian bombing" of Libya has now been recorded for history, which in turn has converted that country into a hotbed of extreme Islamism spilling over into the current Syrian conflict.

Our ultra-cosmopolitan Caribbean Archduke however, is no stranger to the aforementioned unsavory practices of the Al Khalifah regime and their brutal repression of the Bahrain rebellion, as he has skillfully built a somewhat questionable political career over the years.  You see, Fernandez was a faithful disciple of another dark character of Dominican Republic's turbulent 20th Century political history, to wit President Joaquin Balaguer.  Balaguer himself, collaborated with the bloody Trujillo dicatorship for three decades, a regime installed in Dominican Republic at the end of the days of Gunboat Diplomacy in the Central American-Caribbean Basin by U. S. imperialism.  Fernandez's myopic view of Dominican history among other things, has produced such aberrant concepts like "Balaguer is the father of Dominican democracy."  Our "Caribbean Archduke" however, conveniently omits the fact that Balaguer came to power on the heels of the U.S. invasion of Dominican Republic in 1965.  In fact,  U.S. Department of State unclassified files revealed that it was Uncle Sam himself, who conveniently helped finance the "father of Dominican democracy's" first elections in 1966.  In addition, a recent book by Tim Weiner of the New York Times also revealed according to FBI files, that Balaguer actually was an FBI informant and his FBI handler transferred Balaguer from New York City to San Juan, during those turbulent days of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1965, and was later brought to Santo Domingo.  We won't bore you with the aftermath of the ascent to power of Balaguer and his brutal 12 year rule, when he decimated the Dominican Republic's leftist and progressive ranks, through extra-judicial assassinations, torture, forced exile and disappearances. We can thus begin to imagine with this historical capsule, what the real inclinations are of our media savvy and itinerant planetary traveler, otherwise known as the Archduke of the Caribbean.

The big question mark that has popped into our inquisitive minds has been the following-Exactly what was the Archduke of the Caribbean attempting to achieve, not only by visiting the King of Bahrain, but by graciously extending to him an official invitation in person, to the impending Arab-Latin American Forum to take place the month of February 2014?  Was it absolutely necessary for Fernandez to travel all the way to Bahrain, to extend this personal invitation to the King?  Was the timing of this enigmatic trip, in any way connected to the recent dire results of the pro-Fernandez bloc of candidates, which lost their bids for the corporate-neoliberal PLD party's central committee recently, against the pro-President Medina bloc which were elected to this ruling clique of the PLD?  Would all this synchronous posturing by Fernandez be connected to the openly known possibilities, of Fernandez being considered by some power brokers in the PLD, to be that party's candidate for the 2016 presidential elections in D. R.?  And would the openly known unquenchable thirst for electoral funding by Fernandez, also have some bearing on this trip, given the obvious fact that Bahrain is one of the prime financial hubs in that part of the world ?  

More recent events however, indicate that our Archduke's star could finally be declining over the horizon, at least for the time being.  During a recent meeting of the ruling "bosses" of the corporate-neoliberal as well as corrupt ruling PLD party's political committee, it was decided to modify the current Dominican constitution, in order to pave the way for the re-election of President Medina, thus eliminating our proverbial Archduke as contender for another term, as caretaker of the 21st Century sugar plantation, otherwise known as the Dominican government.  Some acute observers of Dominican politics therefore, have reasonably posited that this mafia-like move by the PLD's political committee, which considers therefore the Dominican constitution as a sort of a de facto roll of Charmin toilet paper, would be in effect an insult to the collective intelligence of the Dominican people, inasmuch as it circumvents the mechanism of  a people's referendum for its modification.

Parenthetically, regarding the ruling PLD party which Fernandez currently leads as it were a sort of 19th Century Caribbean sugar plantation, this political collective well known for its rampant corruption has undergone a strange metamorphosis from originally being a progressive oriented political entity during its origins in 1973, under the historical figure of Professor Juan Bosch, to a more corporate-neoliberal party that is totally out of sync, with the newest wave of Latin American progressive entities like the PSUV-GPP bloc that leads the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, or the MAS movement in Bolivia.  What characterizes the success of the new progressive collectives in the hemisphere, has been their unique alliances which incorporate grassroots social movements, that coincide with their ideological programs.  Also, it is now a given fact that U.S. hegemony has been declining in the hemisphere since the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and this decline was accentuated recently at the hemispheric meeting of the CELAC group of 33 nations in Havana, a subtle slap in the face to the anachronistic U.S. policy of containment of the Cuban Revolution, dating back to the Eisenhower administration when the U.S. was the sole imperial master of Latin America.  The blatant absence of the U.S. and Canada at the historic CELAC Summit in Havana, spoke loudly as to where the winds of change are blowing in the Caribbean Basin-Latin American region.  We may add now to our reasonable analysis, President Obama's 180-degree turn to the U.S.'s admittedly failed policy of containment of the Cuban Revolution, by re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, a tacit admission of the U. S.'s gradual isolation and out of step policies within the hemisphere.  Naturally however, there is no real possibility that the U.S. Orwellianized press, would ever admit to this openly known fact, a fact that augurs the decline of U.S. imperialist hegemony in Latin America, to the point that it would make the father of American modern imperialism Teddy Roosevelt, turn in his grave.  

But Dominican Republic on the other hand hasn't been endowed with the divine blessings, of those countries of the region which have shifted their GNPs into heavy social investments, like improved public education, providing for more affordable housing, better health , and overall improved quality of life and social investment for the masses.  The Dominican Republic's ideologically heretical, and openly corrupt PLD party has opted to adhere to a neoliberalism that has kept the overwhelming majority of the population, in a sort of suspended animation balkanized capitalist-consumerist society, which offers practically no real upward social mobility, in order to erradicate its rampant poverty.  One of the results of this outdated thinking, has been the growth of an informal economy which is estimated at over 50%, of the overall economic output of Dominican Republic, thus depriving the state of much needed tributary revenue.  Incidentally, the PLD's monopoly of political power has been responsible for the creation of a population of over 700,000 youth which neither work nor study, according to well placed sources, this grim statistic exists in a country of approximately ten million inhabitants.  In addition, due to the current internal schism of the main opposition party the PRD, the PLD has become a de facto one party system since it is open knowledge that it controls all branches of government, due among other things to the 12 year rule of Fernandez, wherein the PLD for instance nominated the majority of the judicial appointments in the higher courts.  Therefore, the current scenario points to the real possibility of a realignment of electoral forces for the 2016 elections, inasmuch as the PRD by then in all likelihood will not exist in its present form.  Some scholars that have studied the political history of the Dominican Republic, have posited that a broad opposition front  could be an alternative, in order to challenge the current stranglehold that the PLD has on Dominican society, and which is the blocking force that is keeping it from thrusting forward, in order to transition into the re-foundation of the nation-state, much like has already happened in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia for instance.  This thesis is beginning to be confirmed, as recent developments have manifested in Dominican media, which indicate that the various small progressive parties and movements, are beginning to consider a united opposition front as the main alternative to the PLD for 2016.  It is also noteworthy, that the presently disenfranchised wing of the PRD, has already attended some preliminary meetings with other progressive social movements, lending even more weight to this theory of a future broad opposition front.

Going back to Fernandez's intercontinental personal invitation to the King of Bahrain, to the Arab-Latin American Forum, Dominican media have reasonably speculated that Fernandez's own brainchild, a sort of Apotheosis of the NGO industrial complex in the Caribbean Basin known among common folks in Dominican Republic as FUNGLODE, will act as the plenipotentiary host to this multicultural, polyglot conclave of economic neoliberal wizardry.  FUNGLODE incidentally is an NGO with a rather controversial reputation within the Dominican Republic's media.  In early 2013 for instance, prominent Dominican attorney and presidential candidate Guillermo Moreno, filed a complaint with the Dominican Republic State Prosecutor's office in Santo Domingo, alleging a series of illegal financial transactions against Leonel Fernandez and his "brainchild" FUNGLODE, through the labyrinthine use of this rather byzantine NGO.  FUNGLODE by the way, is no run of the mill NGO with humble origins in a Third World country.  This uppity Caribbean think tank boasts facilities in downtown cosmopolitan Manhattan, as well as in that venerable and sacrosanct swath of urban real estate, known to us common mortals as "K Street N. W."   in Washington, D. C., the historical den of lobbying and influence peddling of the world.

We probably have generated more questions than answers, concerning former president Leonel Fernandez's recent trip to Bahrain, and his official invitation to Sheikh Isa Bin Hamad Al Khalifah to attend the flamboyant Arab-Latin American Forum, ostensibly to be conducted within the gilded premises of the "Archduke of the Caribbean's" own brainchild, that crown jewel of the Caribbean Basin's NGO industrial complex commonly known as FUNGLODE, over which as we already know, hangs a rather dark cloud of doubt as to the transparency of its dubious financial transactions.  

Some of the other questions we should thus be asking ourselves are, what was the real purpose of Fernandez's trip to Bahrain besides what was said in the press?  Did Fernandez consider at all, the egregious human rights record of the Al Khalifah regime especially since February, 2011?  Did he give even the slightest thought within his reputed scholarly mind, to the known record of assassinations, tortures, illegal detentions, false accusations, mass use of toxic gases in residential areas etc., etc., against the mostly peaceful demonstrators that have been on the receiving end for over three years in Bahrain?  How was this trip actually arranged?  Was it really through the auspices of the persons mentioned in the original article in Dominican Republic?  Or did the U.S. State Department play any role at all in arranging for this grotesque meeting, being that the U.S. has a major naval base in Bahrain and the country has a working relationship with NATO?  After all, since the United States is the dominant imperial power in this vital region of the world, after the departure of the British from "East of Suez", didn't the U. S. play any role whatsoever in this meeting?  These are just some of the questions we should be asking ourselves, in order to shed some light into this seemingly enigmatic intercontinental conclave of dissimilar potentates, which was given such an antiseptic and disdainful treatment by the so-called "free press".


You may draw your own conclusions from this rather cryptic meeting, and if we were to speculate on what Fernandez also accomplished offstage while visiting this exotic kingdom, we definitely would have to be assisted by a crystal ball.  On a more serious note, it is open knowledge in Dominican Republic that former president Fernandez has been tossed about in its national media, as a very possible presidential candidate for 2016, in this still impoverished country plagued by a plethora of social and economic problems-The recent outbreak of the chikungunya virus in D.R., which now incredibly has spread to Central America and even points of the U.S. as well as to neighboring Haiti, is typical of the constant headaches, afflicting the Dominican government.  To add to the unending parade of calamities that one sees daily in Dominican media, this country is becoming increasingly isolated in the region, as result of a recent Apartheid-like ruling by its so-called constitutional tribunal-(this apparently lofty term we think is a tad too kind for this shameful judicial instrumentality in D. R., with all due respect "Xenophobic Kangaroo Court" could be a more apt term for it).  This so-called tribunal ruled that Dominicans of Haitian descent, but actually born in Dominican territory, were de facto and de jure de-nationalized persons, condemned therefore to live in a sort of legal limbo status, stripped of most if not all of their basic human rights, such as education, travel, civil marriage, voting rights, etc., etc.  It is openly known by the way, that the political figure most responsible for the creation of Dominican Republic's so-called constitutional tribunal, happens to be our "Archduke of the Caribbean", during one of his recent presidential terms.  We must add here, the eerily similar practice of the current regime of Bahrain, to strip some its citizens born in its territory from their nationality, for arbitrary and capricious political reasons.  So I guess our two main characters, in this rather surreal encounter of seemingly dissimilar potentates from distant latitudes, might have something in common after all; the systematic violation of human rights under the Orwellian veneer of so-called royalty, and/or academic luminescence and populist pomposity, shared in turns by the two protagonists of this political charade, both of which we might add are graced with the imperial mentorship of our all powerful and dear Uncle Sam, who in turn just adores to have such grotesque pupils scattered throughout the globe, in order to promote its distorted version of "human rights and freedom".  

Incidentally, it is this selfsame "Archduke of the Caribbean" who has ruled the Dominican Republic for no less than twelve years in the recent past. However, notwithstanding Fernandez's impressive political resume, and his well known inclinations for international attention and pomp and circumstance as we have so graphically seen in this latest junket of his, it is the perception within Dominican Republic according to a recent Gallup poll, that during his 2004-2012 tenure his administration was the most corrupt in recent memory.  One would have to ask himself if H. M. Sheikh Isa Bin Hamad Al Khalifah, King of Bahrain, had the slightest notion with whom he was dealing with during this royal audience, or did he perhaps even receive a friendly "intel report" on the subject from Uncle Sam's embassy in Manama?  

More recent events in Dominican Republic in 2015, have brought to the fore the wholesale putrefaction of corruption existing throughout all branches of government.  The recent outlandish decision by the so-called "Tribunal Supremo de Justicia", D. R.'s counterpart to the U. S. Supreme Court, to arbitrarily and capriciously dismiss corruption charges against an openly known money launderer and front man ("testaferro" in Spanish), for our "Archduke of the Caribbean", known colloquially in Dominican street lingo as "El Gato", to wit Felix Bautista; this putrid judicial decision in turn has brought widespread condemnation throughout Dominican Republic.  Mr. Felix Bautista could best be described as a sort of post-modernist Meyer Lansky within the dark realm of the ruling PLD party, inasmuch as years back when living in the U.S. he was known to have worked at a local "bodega", or neighborhood grocery store.  Well, lo and behold, suddenly after years of wheeling and dealing under the close tutelage of our "Archduke of the Caribbean", Mr. Bautista is suspected of having laundered as much as a cool U. S. $100 million.  Coincidentally, in keeping with his Meyer Lansky aura, it was a popular rumor a while back throughout Dominican Republic that Mr. Bautista was known to take weekend joy rides to Las Vegas.  As a footnote to this corruption scandal, Mr. Bautista happens to be the ruling PLD's "director of finances"; a true financial wizard whose Merlin-like qualities defy the most elementary logic, insofar as if the aforementioned Mr. Bautista were to step inside any court of law worth its salt, there is no possible way he could justify the overabundant wealth he has astronomically accumulated in his rather short span of life.  But if this weren't enough, Mr. Bautista is also suspected of illegal campaign financial contributions to neo-Duvalierist  Michel Martelly in Haiti, as well as Alejandro Toledo in Peru, this latter case being a target of investigation in that Latin American country.  This of course is but one mere example, of the widespread corruption tentacles that spread out from under our pompous international jet setter, otherwise known as the "Archduke of the Caribbean."  It goes on without saying, that if the corporate-neoliberal, and rampantly corrupt ruling PLD party didn't own lock, stock and barrel, all three branches of the Dominican Republic's government, there would be no possible way, that openly obscene corruption cases like those of Mr. Bautista as well as of other PLD "underbosses" and "front men" also known to exist, could possibly relish the widespread degree of impunity they do now, an impunity of course which has been masterfully installed over the years in Dominican Republic, by the "Boss of all Bosses", our notorious "Archduke of the Caribbean."

#9deAbril #DestitucionSCJ Action in repudiation of the so-called "Tribunal Supremo Constitucional's" recent outlandish decision to dismiss corruption charges against one of the "Archduke of the Caribbean's" better known money launderers, whose smiling mug shot appears below.

Mr. Felix Bautista-The Merlin-like "finance director" of the "Archduke of the Caribbean's" ruling PLD Party-This gentleman has a lot to smile about, as he was recently acquitted of a corruption indictment brought about by the Attorney General of Dominican Republic.   

To conclude with a more apocalyptic and somber note, not atypical of the dubious political record which has been so masterfully concocted by most media reporting about our proverbial Archduke of the Caribbean, it is well known that it was President Fernandez who pushed for the signing of the virtually neocolonial contract between Dominican Republic, and Barrick Gold/Goldcorp, for the concession of one of the world's largest open pit gold mining operations, located in Cotui, province of Sanchez Ramirez, on the foothills of the Central Mountain Range-This is the same orographic formation of Hispaniola Island now imperiled by another Canadian mining emporium, locally still known as Falcondo/Falconbridge, but more accurately known as Glencore Canada in North America and Glencore PLC in Europe-Falcondo/Glencore is currently targetting Loma Miranda in North Central Dominican Republic, for a nickel exploitation concession which threatens the vast acquifers of D.R. in that region.  This pending mining operation, now faces overwhelming opposition from broad sectors of Dominican society.  Getting back then to our all knowing, media savvy, profoundly wise, silver tongued, and planetary itinerant traveller to exotic outposts throughout the globe-little did our very own mercurial Archduke of the Caribbean realize at the time, that the Barrick Gold/Goldcorp mining operation would eventually become an environmental ticking time bomb in this still mostly impoverished Dominican Republic.  Most unfortunately, owing to the percolation and sedimentation flowing downstream from its cyanide leaching El Llagal tailings dam, it is not completely out of the realm of possibilities, that the Dominican Republic's most productive rice producing region, the Lower Yuna Valley, could very well be eventually affected by mining pollution, in similar fashion as it is already tragically happening within the proximities of the area of Cotui, as a recent report indicates.  When this environmental disaster finally hits Dominican Republic, as even now in the Cotui area different livestock and poultry species continue dying, agricultural production is already affected, critical water sources are ruined, and ultimately human life in this impoverished island country will be in real and present danger, resulting from the aforementioned neocolonial contract between the Dominican State and Barrick Gold/Goldcorp; we will all finally scratch our heads and quizzically muse upon, what will ultimately become of our dapper, all knowing and all wise, stupendous potentate plenipotentiary of the fifth magnitude, and media savvy and exotic planetary traveller, otherwise known in these mundane chronicles as the "Archduke of the Caribbean."