OBSERVANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
During the period covered by this report, the Commission received more than 150 specific denunciations concerning violations of human rights and approximately 100 denunciations of a general nature.
An account is given below of the most important cases that were denounced before this agency.
A. VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE
1. The case of Major Luis Arias Collado
On November 2, 1965, the Commission received a denunciation stating that Major Luis Arias Collado, of the Constitutionalist Army, had disappeared and his whereabouts was unknown.1
Further to this denunciation, the Commission was informed of the finding of the cadaver of Major Arias Collado close to the Boca Chica highway in Santo Domingo. The Commission was also informed that Major Arias Collado had been arrested by members of the Army and taken in an automobile bearing an official license plate to the Air Base of San Isidro.
On November 4, the Commission requested the corresponding information from the Dominican Government.
2. The case of the student Pedro Tirado Calcagno
On October 1, 1965, it was denounced before the Commission that the student named Pedro Tirado Calcagno had been killed on September 27 of the same year by a soldier on duty at the corner of the streets named Pedro Henríquez Ureña and Dr. Delgado.2
The denunciation was transmitted to the Dominican Government on the same day, in compliance with the provisions of Article 36 of the Regulations of the Commission. This case provoked a dispute between the civilian and military jurisdictions, since the latter considered that the case should be heard by the military courts.
Despite the order of the Executive Power that the case be transferred to the ordinary civilian judge, the accused soldier, Antonio Cuevas Pérez, was tried by a court-martial in November 1965 and sentenced to one year in prison.
3. The case of Feliciano Matos
On January 8, 1966, the Commission received a denunciation regarding the murder of Feliciano Matos, allegedly committed by members of the Inter-American Peace Force. The Commission requested the pertinent information from the Commander of the Force and repeated that request after thirty days.
The Commission was informed that the accused had been subjected to the appropriate legal action.
4. The case of Juan Alcides Castro
The Commission was informed, on February 15, 1966, of the death of the “frogman” Juan Alcides Castro in the city of Monseñor Nouel (Bonao). This denunciation, signed by the full Municipal Council of that city, also mentioned the climate of terror prevailing in the locality.
The denunciation was amplified on the spot by various residents, who indicated as the person chiefly responsible for the situation the National Police Captain stationed there, José Paulino Coma.
The Commission transmitted this denunciation to the appropriate Dominican authorities.
5. The case of Luis Tomás Aquino and Félix Bidó
The disappearance of Luis Tomás Aquino and Félix Bidó was denounced to the Commission by their parents in January 1966.3 This denunciation was confirmed to the representative of the Commission in the city of Barahona on February 20, 1966.
When the Commission endeavored to verify in that city the facts denounced, he found that a climate of terror under the local military authorities prevailed, and that it was difficult to obtain information from them.
This case was transmitted to the Dominican Government.
6. The case of Alfonso Carrasco
The Commission received a denunciation on February 1, 1966, in which it was stated that Mr. Alfonso Carrasco, while standing in the doorway of his house on Calle 16, Ensanche Luperón, was shot dead by the National Police Private Fidias Adhames Abreu, for no apparent reason.
The case was made known to the Government of the Dominican Republic.
7. The case of Eustaquio Agramonte Merán (Maclean)
The Commission was informed by Professor Juan Bosch, presidential candidate of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, of the death on March 6, 1966, of a member of his personal guard, Eustaquio Agramonte Merán (alias Maclean).
The Chairman of the Commission, Professor Manuel Bianchi, went to the site of the events and verified that it was a case of an attack by firearm, which caused the death of the young man Agramonte Merán. The case was made known to the courts and the author of the deed tried, and the Representative of the Commission was requested to accompany the body to the town of Hato del Padre, near San Juan de la Maguana, where it was delivered to his relatives.
8. General cases of murder and terrorism
In addition to the specific cases cited by way of example, the Commission received denunciations of a general nature on woundings and deaths caused by shots from firearms or by explosion of bombs or grenades.4
B. VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO LIBERTY AND PERSONAL SECURITY
1. The case of Ramón Cabrera Mayol
On October 22, 1965, serious bloody events took place in Santiago de los Caballeros, in which the Governor of Cotui lost his life and several other persons were wounded.
On account of these events, the Provisional President of the Republic and the Ad Hoc Committee of the Organization of American States requested that the Commission go to Santiago de los Caballeros to observe the transfer of the wounded to the capital. They also requested the Commission to give provisional refuge to the only surviving witness of the occurrence, Mr. Ramón Cabrera Mayol, whose life was in danger.
In view of the exceptional circumstances that motivated this request, the Commission provided temporary refuge to Mr. Cabrera Mayol in its offices in the Hotel El Embajador. Once the emergency situation was over, the Commission arranged for the transfer of the refugee to the military base of Sans Souci under the protection of the Inter-American Peace Force.
2. The case of José Rafael Espaillat
On November 26, 1965, the Commission received a denunciation stating that Mr. José Rafael Espaillat had been unjustly deprived of his liberty, since it was not true that he had been involved in the abortive revolt of November 22.5
This denunciation was personally confirmed by the wife of Mr. Espaillat to the Commission, and she added testimony as to his innocence.
The Commission transmitted this denunciation to the Dominican Government and later received information from that government to the effect that the case was in the hands of the competent courts and subject to investigation.
3. The case of Mr. José Antonio Abud
On November 16, 1965, it was denounced before the Commission that Mr. José Antonio Abud was being held in solitary confinement, suffering deprivation of liberty of undue severity.6
The Commission transmitted this denunciation to the competent authority, requesting the information necessary to determine the truth of the facts denounced.
4. The case of Eladio Pérez Saviñón
The Ministry of the Armed Forces denounced to the Commission that the paratrooper Private Eladio Pérez Saviñón, Nº 8-3792-2, while he was traveling along the street Treinta y Dos “A” in Santo Domingo, was hit by a shot from a firearm, and the attacker managed to flee.
The Commission requested the corresponding information from the Dominican Government. This request was repeated several days later, in view of the silence of the authorities.7
5. The case of Luis Ramón Roca
On January 10, 1966, the Commission received a denunciation stating that citizen Luis Ramón Roca had been physically maltreated by members of the Inter-American Peace Force.
The Commission processed this case before the Commander of the Force, who informed this agency that the pertinent investigations had been made and that those found guilty would be subjected to the corresponding discipline.
6. The case of Lieutenant Domingo Andújar Grullón
The Commission received on January 1, 1966, a personal denunciation from Lieutenant Andújar Grullón, in which he stated that his life was in danger, since he had been threatened by members of the Regular Army as well as by members of the Constitutionalist Army.8
In this case the Commission made immediate representations that facilitated the departure of the complainant from the country.
7. The case of Sergeant Luis Alcántara Veloz
On January 5, the Commission received a personal denunciation from Sergeant Luis Alcántara Veloz to the effect that his life was in imminent danger.
The Commission took steps that resulted in the departure of the complainant from the country.9
8. The case of Pedro M. Casals Victoria
On February 8, 1966, the Commission received a denunciation in which the lawyer Pedro M. Casals Victoria stated that he had been the victim of an attack intended to murder him, when he arrived at the door of his house, at Avenida Bolívar 96 in the city of Santo Domingo. The denunciation added that the motive for the attack was of a political character and that it was related to a series of persecutions he had suffered during the civil strife.
This case was presented to the corresponding authorities.
9. The case of Professor Juan Bosch
The Chairman of the Commission received, directly from Professor Juan Bosch, a denunciation in which he stated his fear that his residence would be attacked, in view of the murder of one of his personal guards, Eustaquio Agramonte Merán, on March 6, 1966.
The Commission negotiated with the civil and military authorities for the guaranties and protection necessary for the house of Professor Bosch, which was achieved the same day through the Chief of Police, General Morillo, who obtained from the Inter-American Peace Force the sending of forces for the purposes mentioned.
10. The case of Héctor Aristy
The Commission was informed on Saturday, June 4, 1966, that the residence of Mr. Héctor Aristy, former Secretary of the Presidency in the former Constitutionalist Government, had been attacked by gunshot and that in the fray that followed two persons had been killed and others wounded, without it being known where Mr. Aristy was.
The Chairman of the Commission visited the site of the events, along with high civilian and military authorities of the Provisional Government, and verified the facts denounced.
On the same day, at 4:00 p.m., the Chairman of the Commission was invited by Professor Juan Bosch to visit his house, where Mr. Aristy was staying, and the latter denounced to the Commission that he was the victim of constant persecution and that his life was in danger.
The Commission took the necessary steps to obtain the pertinent guaranties for the complainant, which were extended by the Provisional Government and the Ad Hoc Committee of the OAS.
11. The case of Santiago Rey y Perna
On May 29, 1966, the Commission received a personal denunciation by the wife of the Cuban journalist Dr. Santiago Rey y Perna, stating that during the morning of that same day immigration officials of the Dominican Republic had compelled her husband to leave the national territory and embark for San Juan, Puerto Rico, without even carrying his personal documents.
Mrs. Rey added that her husband had been serving as a journalist, duly authorized by the Dominican Government, and she exhibited the pertinent documents. Mrs. Rey was accompanied by the candidate of the Partido Reformista for the office of Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Francisco Augusto Lora.
The Commission made the appropriate representations to the high national authorities and informed the Ad Hoc Committee of the OAS about the case. Dr. Rey was permitted to return to Dominican territory during the afternoon of that same day.
C. VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO PROTECTION FROM ARBITRARY ARREST
1. The case of Rafael Ortiz and Timoteo Herrera
On November 8, 1965, the Commission received a denunciation in which it was stated that the citizens Rafael Ortiz and Timoteo Herrera had been arbitrarily arrested by elements from the former Centro de Enseñanza de las Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces’ Teaching Center, CEFA), and had been sent to the San Isidro Air Base, where the were maltreated.10
The Commission visited that base and requested the pertinent information from General Juan de los Santos Céspedes.
With regard to Mr. Ortiz, the Commission was told that serious charges existed and that they were being investigated. With respect to Mr. Herrera, since there were no specific charges against him, the Commission requested that he be freed, which was done 48 hours after his arrest.
2. The case of persons arrested in Bonao
The Sindicato de Empleados Municipales (Union of Municipal Employees) denounced to the Commission the fact that arbitrary arrests had been made in the city of Bonao by forces of the Army and the Police, on December 27, 1965.
The Commission, in addition to transmitting this denunciation to the appropriate authorities, visited the prison of Bonao, to verify the facts denounced, and transmitted the results of its inquiry to the denouncing entity. In this case, only one arrested person was found, and he was freed on the same afternoon on which he was arrested.
3. The case of persons arrested in Barahona
The Commission was informed, through a denunciation, that 14 persons had been arbitrarily arrested in the city of Barahona on November 24, 1965.
The pertinent information was requested from the authorities.11
4. The case of Agustín Pérez Sánchez and Juan Oviedo
Because of the various denunciations received by the Commission with respect to the maltreatment the military authorities were giving to the people of Nagua, the Commission went to that city on May 20, 1966, accompanied by Mr. Bienvenido Figueredo, the representative of the Attorney General of the Republic.
The Commission ascertained that citizen Agustín Pérez Sánchez, in charge of the office of the Organización del Desarrollo de la Comunidad (Community Development Organization – ODC), an agency not involved in Dominican politics, had been arrested some days previously and subjected to such physical mistreatment that he had been confined to the Abel González Clinic. Juan Oviedo, also of Nagua, met the same fate.
These cases, and other similar ones, were corroborated before the Commission by numerous persons in the city of Nagua, who pointed out as the authors of those arbitrary arrests and maltreatments the Police Major Tadeo Guerrero, the Police Private Morris Onil, and Messrs. Velázquez and Bermúdez, of the medical corps of the National Army.
The Commission made urgent representations to the high national authorities, for the purpose of obtaining a cessation of the state of terror prevailing in Nagua, and it was informed by the Commandant of the National Police, General José de Jesús Morillo, that on May 24 the Chief of Police of Nagua, Major Tadeo Guerrero, was replaced.
D. VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RESIDENCE AND MOVEMENT
1. The case of Diego Valdés Alvarez
On October 29, 1965, the Commission went to the International Airport, accompanying Mr. Valdés Alvarez. Although Mr. Valdés Alvarez had all his documents in order for leaving the country and held a visa for entering the United States, he was taken off the aircraft by order of the military commandant of the airport.
The Commission made appropriate representations until it achieved permission for Mr. Valdés Alvarez to board the aircraft again. It also sent a note to the Dominican Government on this case.12
2. Other cases
The Commission received various denunciations of a general nature, in which it was pointed out that on the route between the city of Santo Domingo and the Punta Caucedo International Airport persons who were going to that airport to leave the country were detained, in some cases for from 4 to 5 hours.13
It was also denounced to the Commission that the military authorities of the airport were questioning people about their political background and activities and were examining their documents even though they had been inspected and approved by the authorities of the Immigration Department.
The Commission, in addressing the Dominican Government with reference to these cases, pointed out the incompatibility of this attitude with the provisions of Article 33 of the Institutional Act in force, which fully established freedom of transit.
E. VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY AND THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF OPINION, EXPRESSION, AND DISSEMINATION OF IDEAS
The Commission observed that, in general, there were guaranties for political meetings throughout the Dominican territory, especially in the capital and in the large cities of the rest of the country.
1. The cases of San Francisco de Macorís and Bonao
The Commission received denunciations in which it was indicated that arbitrary acts were being committed in these cities against those who were organizing political committees of tendencies contrary to the military authorities. These cases, according to the verifications the Commission was able to make, were sporadic, and were adequately resolved as the military chiefs against whom the accusations were made were replaced.
2. The case of the city of Cotuí
The Attorney General of the Republic informed the Commission that in the city of Cotuí, capital of the province of Sánchez Ramírez, there was an Army officer who appeared to be interfering with the electoral process, in abuse of his powers.
The Commission made the necessary representations to establish a climate of confidence and tranquility for the inhabitants of this city.
1 Document 624 in the files of the Commission.
2 Document 622 in the files of the Commission.
3 Documents 1415 and 1416 in the files of the Commission.
4 Documents 627 and 644 in the files of the Commission.
5 Document 661 in the files of the Commission.
6 Document 646 in the files of the Commission.
7 Document 730 in the files of the Commission.
8 Document 737 in the files of the Commission.
10 Document 634 in the files of the Commission.
11 Document 659 in the files of the Commission.
12 Document 623 in the files of the Commission.