Dominican Government clarifies its position on the Latino District

New York Observer, The (NY) - Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Author: Hunter Walker

Last month, Dominican Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States Roberto Saladin sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his support for the creation of a new, predominantly Latino Congressional district in New York. After the letter drew criticism it was an inappropriate foreign intervention, Dominican Ambassador to the United States, Aníbal de Castro sent an email to The Politicker disavowing Mr. Saladin’s letter and clarifying his government’s position on New York’s redistricting dilemma. 

“I would like to categorically state that the Dominican Republic views the electoral affairs of the United States, including redistricting issues, as internal and sovereign concerns,” Mr. de Castro wrote. “While it is true that the Dominican people would be pleased and proud if the valuable contribution of Americans of Dominican descent were celebrated through the election of one of their representatives to Congress, we respect the absolute right of the competent authorities in the United States to handle the enfranchisement of its citizens in different jurisdictions without external interference.” 

Mr. Saladin’s letter was sent February 21 following a visit to Albany where he attended a ceremony where the State Senate proclaimed February Dominican Heritage Month in New York. During that visit, Mr. Saladin spoke to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressing his support for the Latino district. In his letter to the governor, Mr. Saladin described the creation of the district as a “question of utmost importance” for the Dominican diaspora. 

The Politicker was first to report on Mr. Saladin’s letter. In our story, we referred to Mr. Saladin as “the Dominican Republic’s Ambassador to the United States” rather than the Dominican Ambassador to the Organization of American States. Mr. de Castro described this as a “false attribution” and said he is the only person who can “convey the official position of the Government of the Dominican Republic in any matter pertaining to this country.” Mr. Saladin held the title of Dominican Ambassador to the United States until May of last year. 

Despite the difference in their titles, it is clear Mr. Saladin is indeed an official ambassador of the Dominican Republic and America is one of the 35 member states of the Organization of American States. Mr. Saladin’s offices are in the Dominican embassy in Washington, D.C. and his letter was written on official stationery.