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  • An earlier "Green March" against impunity in the Dominican Republic.

    An earlier "Green March" against impunity in the Dominican Republic. | Photo: EFE

The eruption of the Odebrecht scandal in the Dominican Republic has brought droves of protesters demanding an end to corruption and impunity.

Hundreds of protesters in the Dominican Republic filled the streets Sunday, demanding an end to impunity and slamming the state’s decision to honor Odebrecht construction agreements after widespread corruption was revealed in the Caribbean country.

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People came from all regions of the island to Sunday’s march in the capital, which is being called “the mother of all marches” due to its overwhelming numbers and support within the Dominican Republic, as well as internationally.

Indignant crowds of protesters have hit the streets repeatedly since news of the corruption broke that six of the 14 defendants of corruption cases left their pre-trial detention in Najayo prison July 8 after paying the bond imposed by the court.

Green Marches have pushed for the company to be removed from the country and for investigations into each of the accused and for punishments to be given out accordingly.

“We have decided to reclaim the end of impunity and the end of corruption because we believe they steal the nation’s right to justice, education and healthcare,” Green March protest organizer Senen Caba told HispanTV.

The protesters have four demands: prison for the corrupt; the recovery of stolen money; the cancellation of all Odebrecht contracts; and the establishment of an independent commission to investigate President Danilo Medina and former presidents Leonel Fernandez and Hipolito Mejia, among others.

The Dominican Republic is one of many Latin American countries implicated in the Odebrecht scandal, with 14 of its ministers under investigation for connections to the Brazilian construction conglomerate, allegedly receiving campaign funds and a bouquet of benefits amounting to a whopping US$100 million.

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Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez, a member of the ruling party's central committee, signed an agreement with Odebrecht executives in January that will allow the company to continue operations in the country and its executives will not be charged in court in exchange for information that would lead to the prosecution of local officials and a US$184 million fine to be paid over a period of eight years.

The protesters have four demands: prison for the corrupt; the recovery of stolen money; the cancellation of all Odebrecht contracts; and the establishment of an independent commission to investigate President Danilo Medina and former presidents Leonel Fernandez and Hipolito Mejia, among others.

The Odebrecht construction company is accused of distributing US$92 million in bribes to obtain 17 contracts for road construction, dams and a thermoelectric plant in the Dominican Republic. One of the main stakeholders reportedly worked as an adviser to two electoral campaigns for Medina.

Claiming that it was for safety reasons, the company moved its Department of Structural Operations to the Dominican Republic in October 2014.


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