U.S. is the nation that has contributed most to Dominican development, says Rodriguez Huertas

Olivo Rodriguez Huertas is very clear: the Dominican Republic has no reason to haggle anything for the precheck to the United States, because that country is an important ally, because more than two million Dominicans live there, and because there are and have been and will continue to be American investors who trust and love the Dominican Republic. He firmly declares himself pro-American and understands that the Constitutional Court should support the agreement signed in 2016, and says that it does not lend itself to do a grievance to the US, because it is the nation that has contributed the most to the social, economic and political development of the DR in the last 50 years.

Olivo Rodríguez Huertas
With Rodriguez Huertas there are no half measures. He understands that those who oppose the preclearance are the nationalist groups. He said that the airports will not be affected, and that if anyone understands that there is discrimination in favor of the Punta Cana International Airport, they should go to the United States, to form lawyers there, and claim before the American justice system.

The following is a summary of Dr. Rodriguez Huertas’ presentation.
He recalls who was Dominican ambassador to Spain, that at the end of 2013 he joined, at the request of the Minister of the Presidency, Gustavo Montalvo, to provide external advisory services to the Dominican government. He started with a rather complex issue, derived from the debate on the TC 168/13 sentence, and the need to seek a way out not only at the national level, but also at the international level, to the criticisms directed against the country.

Olivo recalls that new work issues arose, including the observation of the Penal Code approved by Congress, without the three grounds, and a negotiation with the Catholic Church, which resulted in the approval of a Penal Code with the three grounds in 2014, but which was declared unconstitutional by the TC. He was also in the legal solution of the issue of the exploitation of Loma Miranda by Falconbridge.

A legal surgery to the agreement

He was involved, at the request of the government, in an issue that put in concern the relations of the United States with the Dominican Republic, because a traditional military agreement that has existed for decades was declared unconstitutional by the judges of the TC.

At the same time, this pre-authorization agreement arose, and given the sentence 315/15 of the TC, it was necessary to check the document.

He recalls that it was up to him to make a review of each of the arguments used by the TC so that the text of the US agreement with the DR on travel preauthorization would not collude with the criteria of the judges.

“We sought to make an exercise of legal surgery so that the text of this new agreement would not collude. When this was advanced, a large delegation from the U.S. Government came. Several working sessions were held. The Dominican delegation was headed by the then Deputy Foreign Minister César Dargam, whom I learned to respect in those sessions for his intelligence and capacity, and on behalf of the Presidency of the Republic there was Flavio Darío Espinal, myself, Josué Fiallo, Nassef Perdomo, and for the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic there was the Human Rights Attorney, Danissa Cruz, and the authorities of CESAP”.

James W. Brewster, ambassador of the United States, and Gustavo Montalvo Franco, minister of the presidency in the government of Danilo Medina.
He relates that there was an article-by-article discussion, with many changes, because originally the text was an agreement between a government (the United States) and an airport (Punta Cana), “and that was not possible. It had to be a State agreement”.

He says that a decision was made by the U.S. authorities, and they were the ones who pre-selected the Punta Cana airport.

For the jurist “nothing moves in life if it is not for an interest”, and in this case the two States coincide. He said that 60 percent of the air traffic to and from the US was in Punta Cana, and the US is interested in improving its control capacity ex ante in terms of terrorism. He explained that from the Dominican point of view, the agreement is important because it facilitates the movement of American tourists to the DR. That is an advantage for Dominicans.

He recalled that in the conversations with the Americans, the fact that after the preclearance agreement with Abu Dhabi, after three years, the air traffic between both countries had doubled.

For Olivo Rodriguez Huertas “that is the reciprocity of the interests of both countries”: For the US it is a magnificent mechanism of ex ante control of possible risks associated with terrorism and for the DR it is a mechanism that facilitates the movement of tourists. “That is the essence of the framework in which this agreement should be understood”.

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