Former US official Says Odebrecht scandal “threat” president RD

Posted on August 11, 2015 by Ramfis


By: Roger_Noriega

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former US Undersecretary for Hemispheric Affairs Roger Noriega says the scandal of Brazilian company Odebrecht “threatens” Dominican President Danilo Medina.

In an article he wrote on the Internet site of the famous American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), the former senior government official George Bush Jr. explains in detail the Could involve Medina as well as the former Brazilian president Luis Ignacio Da Silva for the aforementioned scandal.

The AEI is a center-right based in Washington, DC. His research is devoted “to questions of government, politics, economics and social welfare,” according to his own statement of principles. Founded in 1938, its stated mission is to “uphold the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and government.”

AEI is an independent, non-profit organization supported primarily by donations and contributions from foundations, corporations and individuals. Some of its members are considered as the main architects of the second Bush administration’s public policy. His internet address is: aei.org.

Article

The text of the article by Noriega (http://www.aei.org/publication/odebrecht-scandal-threatens-dominican-president/), translated into Spanish, is as follows:

“Odebrecht Scandal Threatens Dominican President

Recent reports suggest that the public corruption scandal involving Brazilian state-owned multinational Odebrecht could have spread to the Dominican Republic. The popularity of President Danilo Medina has actually declined, a month after his supporters in Congress orchestrated a constitutional reform that empowers him to aspire to re-election.

As a result of the investigation of Brazilian state-owned energy company Petrobras, Odebrecht has been accused of bribing government officials to obtain contracts with the state. In a dramatic action, the authorities arrested the influential president of the company, Marcelo Odebrecht, last June 19.

Odebrecht has played a leading role in the Dominican construction industry, and is one of the 21 countries in which the company has a presence. According to the Brazilian magazine Epoca, in January 2013 former President Luis Inacio “Lula” Da Silva traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet with President Danilo Medina and his predecessor Leonel Fernandez on behalf of Odebrecht. According to the report published (by Epoca), Lula apparently lobbied to secure the company (Odebrecht) a contract with the Dominican Corporation of State Electric Companies (CDEEE) for the construction of a thermoelectric plant in Punta Catalina. Within about three months of Lula’s visit, Odebrecht benefited from the contract, in an apparent violation of the rules governing public contracts, and although its price was twice as expensive as a Chinese competing company.

Chinese firm Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) has appealed the decision alleging lack of transparency in the public works auction. The contract to build the coal plant was awarded to Odebrecht-Tecnimont Consortium, although its proposed $ 2.04 billion ($ 2.04 billion) was more than twice the $ 900 million proposed by the Chinese group CGGC. Further, because odebrecht was being investigated at the time the contract was awarded, the company must have been disqualified from participating in the auction.

To date, Odebrecht has not been able to demonstrate that it has the resources to finance the project, which was the reason for excluding other companies from participating in the auction.

Independent MEP Minerva Tavarez, an assiduous critic of President Medina, has publicly quoted rumors in the National Congress that the contract for the Punta Catalina plant was awarded to Odebrecht to raise funds for the re-election of Medina. Officials in the energy sector have dismissed these charges as baseless.
Presidential candidate Luis Abinader, who will face Medina in next national elections next May, called on the president to accept an independent audit and investigate scandals involving several public projects: “We ask the president to act as his Counterparts in other countries that have ordered high-level investigations ”

Medina enjoys an extraordinary rate of approval, but his popularity has dropped since his supporters pushed for constitutional reform to allow him to be re-elected a month ago. With Dominican politics heating up ahead of the election, Medina’s aspirations to be re-elected could be jeopardized by the Odebrecht scandal.

Political scandals have hit hard the efforts of several leaders in the region – particularly in Brazil and Guatemala, Dominican President Danilo Medina, could suffer the consequences, if evidence of corruption emerge or if it is presumed that he is evading responsibilities. ”

¿Who is Roger Noriega?

Ambassador Noriega was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on July 31, 2003. Below is an unofficial translation of a brief biography of Noriega, as published by the State Department.

BIOGRAPHY

Roger Francisco Noriega
Deputy Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Term of appointment: July 31, 2003 to the present.

Roger F. Noriega was appointed by President George W. Bush Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on March 24, 2003; Was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 2003, and swore on July 31, 2003. Ambassador Noriega is responsible for administering foreign policy and promoting US interests in the region.

Before becoming deputy secretary, Ambassador Noriega was from 2001 to 2003 permanent representative of the United States in the Organization of American States. While in the OAS, he worked with hemispheric leaders to strengthen democracy, advance human rights, foster economic integration, and promote peace and security throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Prior to his appointment at the OAS, Ambassador Noriega was a senior staff member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From 1994 to 1997 he was a senior member of the International Relations Committee of the United States House of Representatives.

Ambassador Noriega also served as senior policy adviser and alternate representative of the United States in the United States Mission to the OAS from 1990 to 1993 and as principal adviser to Public Information of the OAS from 1993 to 1994.

He has held other positions at the Department of State, with USAID and the Negotiations on Inter-American Affairs and Public Affairs, where he served as program officer from 1987 to 1990 and principal editor / editor from 1986 to 1987. Prior to this, he served as secretary of Press and legislative aide to Congressman Bob Whittaker (Kansas Republican) in the US House of Representatives from 1983 to 1986.

President Bush also named Ambassador Noriega a member of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation. He is currently an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of the Pan American Development Foundation.

In December 2001, the government of Peru awarded Ambassador Noriega “Grand Master of the Order of the Sun” for his support for the democratic transition and the promotion of human rights in that South American country. In 2003 the president of Nicaragua invested the ambassador Noriega member of the “Order of José Marcoleta” for his actions to preserve and defend democracy in that nation. The Ibero-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Washington appointed him in 2003 as “ambassador of the year”. He has received the prestigious “Circle of Excellence” award from the Latin Coalition for his leadership.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1959, he attended Washburn University in Topeka, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981. He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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