Fausto Rosario Adames, a respected journalist in the Dominican Republic and editor of the well known Acento news website, has called on Dominican President Danilo Medina to launch an investigation of possible fraud in the disputed and controversial port security deal involving Dr. Salomon Melgen and his friend, Senator Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
In an editorial published in Spanish on Wednesday at Acento, and translated into English by this author, Adames says that efforts by Senator Menendez to prevent the United States from donating a second port security X-Ray machine to Dominican customs officials represent “an attack on the interests of the Dominican Republic”:
We suggest that the President Danilo Medina appoint a committee to investigate the ethical responsibilities of those who have pushed this private ICSSI project, and determine whether they have acted on behalf of their own individual interests, or on behalf of the country. . .
The Dominican government’s silence is more than obvious in the case of the X-rays in the ports, which would cost the country 500 to one billion dollars over the next 20 years, and officials involving relevant interests Dominicans.
The United States has opened an investigation into the ties between Bob Menendez, Senator from New Jersey, with Dr. Salomon Melgen, who says he is now the owner of company with the X-ray contract. . .
The central issue remains the X-ray project in the Dominican Republic. Dominican government officials have bet, pushed and talked about the need for the project. Because they understand that system would prevent drug trafficking via port.
The United States initiated a program to strengthen surveillance in the country’s ports, donating to the Dominican State X ray equipment for use in port security inspections, but it is now known that [Senator] Bob Menendez used his influence to suspend that program, and to give that authority to the private contractors of the ICSSI company. That is an attack on the interests of the Dominican Republic.
The accompanying Spanish language video statement by Adames can be seen here:
In 1999, Adames wrote a Spanish language political biography of Melgen’s uncle, Vinicio “Vincho” Castillo, titled Vincho Castillo’s Reign: Drug Policy in the Dominican Republic.