Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Discourse of the West of Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago and their Hijrah to Islamic State The Discourse of Western Media

The Hijrah of Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago to Islamic State: questions for Western media

The accounts in Western media to-date on this reality of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) all suppose that the Muslim population of T&T is in keeping with the western discourse deeply radicalised and they are all seeking to explain why this radicalisation in T&T. Most have concocted simply laughable propositions like the influence of the Nation of Islam, Black Power and the Jihad of 1990. They all therefore need to answer a crucial question as follows: if the Muslim population of T&T is radicalised to the point of undergoing hijrah to the Islamic State (IS) why haven’t they abided by the ruling of the IS in Dabiq 15 to launch attacks in T&T on the kaffirun and the apostates chief among them being the Jamaat al Muslimeen? Why haven’t the radicalised Muslims of T&T abided by the call of Al Qaeda and especially Anwar Al Awlaki to wage war on the kaffirun via lone wolf and other attacks? Why choose to leave and fight in far off Syria and Iraq rather than here in T&T if we of the Ummah of T&T are so deeply radicalised? The kaffirun of the west who have written on T&T simply cannot ask and answer these questions as it questions their entire worldview of Islam and by extension the efficacy of their war on terror. The answer lies in the history and sociology of the Ummah of T&T. The writers refer to the minority position of Islam in the belief systems profile of T&T some point to the African minority within Islam and some point to the race tensions that continue to divide the Ummah whilst they fail to indicate the causal relations between of all of this and the decision to undertake hijrah to IS rather than to undertake war on the kaffirun and the apostates in T&T. To all the writers Why remains unanswered. What they don’t grapple with is the fact that the minority Muslims are overwhelmingly made up of the two major races of T&T Indians and Africans who are all tied to the social order via blood, community, race and the politics of race. Muslims as a visible minority especially since 1990 and 2001 all know that there is grave price their family, friends, community and Din will continuously pay for any attacks on the social order and the interpretation of this price at the personal level varies with family and race. The price paid by members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen before and after 1990 is the living reality to be grappled with by all those choosing to wage war on T&T from within T&T. Perhaps the most painful lesson of the experience of members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen is the willingness of Muslims to aid, call for and take part in this systematic persecution of fellow Muslims which adds potency to the threat of marginalised un-relenting punishment awaiting those who go too far and their family, friends and fellow Muslims. The threat is palpable. So you spurn the threat of internal war and readily embrace the call to hijrah not only to fight and die given the number of women and children that made the hijrah from T&T to IS. To travel to fight and die in Syria and Iraq was then perfectly acceptable to those Mujahidun but to fight and die a Shahid in T&T was totally out of the question. You are then radicalised to fight and die in Syria and Iraq but not enough to fight and die in T&T the land of your birth. The explanation is obvious where are your ties to Syria or Iraq that will suffer as a result of your decision? There are none. Those that travelled with their wife or wives and children made the journey with the realisation that they were called to war with the enemies of Islam in the furtherance of the Islamic apocalypse. This was a hijrah premised on hope as all are in Islam but hope realised through war and all of those making the journey were aware of this position of IS. The belief that the war was the will of Almighty Allah (swt) was in fact the cement to the motivational matrix necessary to human action in the face of death. This belief insisted that the will of Almighty Allah (swt) will prevail and at least their children will reap the benefit of their sacrifice for there was no concept of the destruction of IS at the hands of the kaffirun and the apostates. The destruction of Islamic State at the hands of the kaffirun and the apostates is of grave impact on those who have made the journey and are still alive as the promise they believed was a promise from Almighty Allah (swt) was and is being proved false on a daily basis. For many death is the only release from this condition of bewilderment and shame for you are literally as a Muslim now divorced from Almighty Allah (swt). To understand this pain and bewilderment one has to be Muslim.

Muslims are a visible minority in T&T but the dominant schools of jurisprudence of Sunni Islam all insist that in order to fully expedite the Din a Muslim has to live in the Muslim lands and it’s our duty to move to the Muslim lands for the proper and acceptable practise of our faith. Those of us living in the west are then less than the ideal and necessary Muslim and we must leave the west to end this unacceptable compromise. The very said schools of jurisprudence teach that war with the enemies of Islam is compulsory on all Muslims therefore part of our duty as Muslims to take part in whether as combatants or as supporters of the logistics of war in both cases it is acceptable and compulsory Jihad. How then does a Muslim end his sojourn in a kaffir society and obey the call to jihad? Al Qaeda never answered that question to Muslims in T&T as they insisted on war in your minority position exonerating your compromised Muslim practises. Islamic State posed and answered the question to Muslims in T&T where you move to the Khilafah and waged war on the enemies of Islam towards the realisation of the Islamic apocalypse making you the vanguard of Islam today. The discourse of IS resonated with specific Muslims highly motivated to respond and they made the hijrah to the Khilafah. The answer lies within Islam not the causal, binary social sciences of the kaffirun. Now the kaffirun wants to impress upon us that they can teach us how to prevent “radicalisation” within Islam. A position that reeks of racist, colonial, imperial arrogance driven by the north Atlantic fear of Islam. The challenge for Islam is to learn from the ability of the Islamic State to propagate false ideas as truth and with this false discourse motivate Muslims to buy into their discourse and the agenda it drives. Thereby paying a very high price for so doing.

The abiding question arises with the collapse of the Islamic State if Muslims from T&T so inclined to undertake the hijrah but now forced to remain in T&T will now abide by the moral order to evade turning T&T into an operational zone as demanded by Dabiq 15? This question also arises with citizens of T&T returning from their sojourn with the Islamic State especially faced with grappling with the backlash they expect from the state and the social order. What they expect will impact their interpretation of what they are exposed to and the choice of action they make in response. The lesson of the run up to the events of 1990 testify to this where the means to conciliation were spurned by the worldviews of the parties caught up in zero sum games as winning the game trumped peace and reconciliation. To refuse to address the issue of the threat posed to T&T outside of the discourse and worldview of Islam signals the refusal to respect Islam thereby rejecting any attempt at peace and reconciliation clearing a path for a military solution again zero sum games. Any refusal to accept the reality that we are a Muslim minority without the means to pursue a winnable military engagement thereby taking war off the table for Muslims sends the message that we are in fact in denial constituting a lunatic fringe. And in the era of neo-Nazi final solutions to Islam in the west we are then inviting our destruction. As Muslims we must then act for a grave threat is now posed from within Islam to Muslims.

Sura 109: The Unbelievers

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Say: ’O Unbelievers

I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve, nor am I serving what you have served, neither are you serving what I serve.

To you your religion, and to me my religion.’

The Discourse of the western media

It’s necessary and instructive to deconstruct the discourse that drives the articles on the number of Muslims of T&T that travelled to Islamic State to understand the range of possible responses that the west will champion to deal with this T&T reality.

“The Spectre of ISIS: Trinidad’s unfolding jihadi nightmare” dated August 8, 2018 by Sanjay Badri-Maharaj

Sanjay Badri-Maharaj insists that the successful recruitment efforts of IS in T&T is the product of an internet campaign supported by the Jamaat al Muslimeen and its affiliates such as Jamaat al Islami al Karibi, Waajihatul Islaamiyyah and Jamaat al Murabiteen on the ground in T&T. The author is then insisting that these organisations are facilitators of IS in T&T without clear evidence presented. What is most revealing is his quotation from Dabiq 15 at the beginning of the article but he fails to question this position of his by the statement of IS in the said article he quoted from in Dabiq 15 that the Jamaat al Muslimeen is the premier apostate of Islam in T&T. The author then has an agenda to insist that the Jamaat al Muslimeen is an effective instrument of IS in T&T and he hopes the accusation sticks because of the events of July 27th 1990. Statements that impact national security without evidence is an attempt to destabilise. The author then presents his next core position which is that the Muslims of African descent in T&T are more susceptible to embracing Islamic extremism unlike the Muslims of Indian descent and he uses the key concept of the Muslims of African descent being converts to Islam with the logical conclusion being that the Muslims of Indian descent are the “original”, “core” Muslims of T&T. The exemplar of this propensity of Muslim converts of African descent to embrace Islamic extremism is then the Jamaat al Muslimeen. Racist discourse that has been used in T&T within the Ummah since the 1970’s the author wields as a weapon in his discourse to demonise the Jamaat al Muslimeen and Muslims of African descent in T&T. The author insists that it must be noted that the rural poor and persons from the rural areas have not heeded the call of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, the call of IS and that of the criminal gangs of T&T. In T&T the “rural” areas are predominantly populated by Indo Trinbagonians which leads to the conclusion that the author is in fact demonising the urban African population of T&T as the pool from which criminality is spawned and flows impacting the social order. The author moves to discredit the Sunni Muslim credentials of the Jamaat al Muslimeen by insisting that the discourse of the Muslimeen is a mixture of Islam and Black Power to appeal to the urban African poor. In this racist discourse the author presents no evidence to support and buttress his discourse. The author then destroys his discourse of the Muslimeen by insisting that there is a trend amongst Muslims of Indian descent to embrace Islam extremism which is disturbing as these Muslims are “usually moderate and well integrated into society”. The author insists that from the position of groups as the IS these Muslims of Indian descent are far superior recruits than the Muslims of African descent as they are “generally better educated and wealthier than the Afro-Trinidadian converts” and more importantly they “offer a potently attractive source of skilled and motivated manpower”. The Muslim of Indian descent is then an inherently superior asset to Islamic extremism than the Muslim of African descent making this trend of Muslims of Indian descent embracing Islamic extremism the gravest threat posed to T&T outstripping that of the Muslim extremists of African descent. The author states that young Muslims are recruited by Salafist doctrine via the internet and through an “aggressive campaign in many of Trinidad’s 85 mosques”. The author is then positing the existence of a recruitment campaign for IS within the Ummah of T&T. Is the Muslimeen and its affiliates running the recruitment campaign for Muslims of Indian descent especially in the Masjids dominated by Muslims of Indian descent and organisations other than those of the Muslimeen and its affiliates? Given the terrain of Islam in T&T this position is faulty at best which means in keeping with the author’s position that there are recruiters with access to Muslims of Indian descent doing the recruiting. The author insists that an effective recruitment tool in T&T is the discourse of the inability of Muslims in T&T to practise Islam in the manner it is supposed to be hence the need to undertake hijrah to IS. The author insists that this discourse is a lie as Muslims are nor denied the right to practise Islam in the prescribed manner in T&T but admits that the lie is a potent recruitment instrument. A contradiction in terms as the discourse can only be a potent recruitment tool in his estimate if it resonates with an issue within Islam of grave significance.

The author has accepted the reality that Muslims of all race groups have accepted the call of IS to undertake hijrah but failed to express the reality that Muslims of both genders and of various socio-economic groupings have made the journey. The author admits that at the time of his article no study was done to uncover the reasons for Muslims of T&T accepting and acting upon this acceptance of the call of IS. His article is then largely speculation and at the time of writing of this article no study has been done neither is there in the public domain profiles of all those who travelled to the Islamic State. What exists is the experience of Muslims of T&T of the entire process which remains silenced in the public domain for various reasons.

“Caribbean to Caliphate-The Trinidadians fighting for the Islamic State” by Amandla Thomas-Johnson

The author is seeking to explain the high rate of Muslims of T&T undertaking hijrah to the Islamic State through the life of the poster boy of IS from T&T Shane Crawford. The author did this by relying on stated discourses he was exposed to by a small group of listed and quoted respondents which impacted the conclusions the article presented. The prime reality is Shane Crawford was created by the propaganda arm of the Islamic state and the IS myth of Shane Crawford impacted the story of Shane Crawford in T&T before the myth. The IS myth of Shane Crawford is a filter through which the reality of Shane Crawford in T&T before the hijrah is massaged and formed into the discourse of Shane Crawford that gives continuity and realism to the IS myth. To-date no one has challenged this IS myth of Crawford on the simple grounds that IS constantly utilises lies, half-truths and innuendo in its propaganda wars why then do the article writers and so-called researchers accept and run with this myth without due diligence being done. The pertinent question then should have been: what was the impact of Shane Crawford on the landscape Islam in T&T before he left for Syria? The sole informant named and quoted on the path of Crawford to hijrah fed the IS myth of Crawford but stopped at self-incrimination and in doing so spun the discourse of the T&T hijrah to IS. This discourse insists that it is predominantly a phenomenon of Muslims of African descent who are converts to Islam lacking in the fundamental grounding in Islam necessary to resist the call to extremism. Crawford was the quintessential example of this process. In this discourse the Muslims of Indian descent being non-converts to Islam are well grounded in Islam and able to resist the call to extremism. The discursive agent in the article states that Muslims of African descent feel disenfranchised within Islam in T&T as a result of the racist divide between Muslims of Indian and African descent within Islam in T&T. The insistence that the overwhelming number of Muslims that left and are leaving for IS are Muslims of African descent for this the author points to the Jamaat al Muslimeen but he doesn’t say what role the Muslimeen plays in recruitment but the Muslimeen is under the spotlight. The author notes the position on the Muslimeen in Dabiq 15 but fails to note the contradiction between the IS position of Dabiq 15 and his on the Muslimeen. The article reflects the racist discourse used within Islam in T&T towards the racial segregation of Islam. Finally, the author in the search for explanations of the discourse of the African propensity in T&T to criminality and extremism that they bring to Islam as Muslims of Indian descent are immune to the call of IS the author turns to the kaffirun to explain a Muslim reality. One is quoted as stating that those who left for IS “feel marginalised from the society”, “some of them have been engaged in criminal activity” and “some have spent a long time in remand”. Did this informant interact with every single Muslim who left T&T for IS? How does he know this with certainty? Is he repeating a discourse swallowed without the ability to verify its accuracy? The conclusion then is that the Muslims of African descent in their embrace of extremism is reflective of the condition of the African race in T&T within the social order. As was the case of the kaffirun analysis of the events of July 27 1990 the fact that Muslims have embraced a discourse and acted upon it within Islam is totally irrelevant.

“Political scientists expose hotbed of Jihadi radicalism in Trinidad and Tobago” by Geoff McMaster April 25, 2017

The article is a report on research done in T&T by Andy Knight and John McCoy, both academic members of staff of the University of Alberta, Canada, on “radicalisation” in T&T. Early in the article Knight states that whilst he was attached to the University of the West Indies, St Augustine a Muslim scholar who Knight describes as his colleague took him into what the scholar described as an Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” in Trinidad. Knight found the many women in hijab at the “sleeper cell” to be unusual but what set off his interest was the number of persons moving from Saudi Arabia to the “sleeper cell” and back. This led to Knight’s conviction that it was necessary to now study “radicalisation” in T&T. For this study he teamed up with McCoy and the conclusion of the study is that T&T was “a hotbed for recruitment of Al Qaeda and its offshoot ISIS.” The discourse is then rolled out in the article no different from other western media which illustrates the attempt to create a hegemonic western discourse on IS and T&T. The main plank is the events of July 27, 1990 with the trailing concepts being the Nation of Islam and Pan-Africanism which indicate that Knight and McCoy are toeing the Muslim of African descent line. So the race tension in the Ummah between Muslins of Indian and African descent pushes Muslims of African descent to seek the Khilafah. So the identity of those who left for IS was stated as follows: “but the bulk were converts from the Afro-Trinidadian community who grew up impoverished.” The article through statements made indicate that Knight and McCoy are insisting that they know the modus operandi of the recruiters in T&T which in turn establishes the existence of recruiters on the ground. And they spoke to a returned IS fighter who told them what it was like to walk around armed in the Khilafah. What is amazing about this article is the apparent lack of an operational knowledge of Salafi-Jihadi discourse and practise of Knight and McCoy and the fact that they are Kaffir did not hinder their ability to be walked into an Al Qaeda sleeper cell and to speak of the methodology of the recruiters in T&T. This speaks volumes to the operational indiscipline of IS in T&T which enabled Knight and McCoy to state in the article: “What’s clear is the country simply doesn’t have the security and intelligence apparatus to confront the threat head on, said McCoy.” The government of T&T needs then to hire Batman and Robin to save us. The reality on the ground simply doesn’t fit into the neat, simplistic, imaginary box of Knight and McCoy.

Did the propaganda arm of IS manufacture the myth of Shane Crawford to entice Muslims to undertake hijrah to the Islamic State or did the volume of Muslims of T&T knocking on the door of IS for entry spark interest in the Muslim population of T&T? Did this flow of travellers then present IS with the opportunity to boast to the world that they were present in an operational zone in the Caribbean which afforded access to South, Central and North America? To-date there is no poster boy from Guyana. By this act of propaganda IS placed more spotlights on the Muslim population of T&T and Crawford became a listed celebrity marked for a meeting with a drone. The western media has pursued the discursive line of IS expressed in Dabiq 15 doing all in their power to embellish the IS myth of Shane Crawford including the Islamic State persona of the ideal mujahid they manufactured for him much to the detriment of T&T and Muslims in T&T. A persona that demands deconstruction whilst the T&T state answers with silence.

All media accounts have singularly failed to deal with the security requirements which must be satisfied for entry into the IS in its short heyday. The foreign and local media paint a picture where you want to go to IS and all you do is simply go. But go where and how? To answer this question, you must enter the shadow world of recruiters, enablers, financiers, the door keepers of the Islamic State and their security apparatus known for its mercurial brutality driven by paranoia buttressed by dramatic spontaneous inconsistencies and arbitrariness. Those from T&T had then to run this gauntlet and the only tried and tested way to successfully run this gauntlet was to be referenced by an organisation of repute with IS, to be properly financed and to be rigidly disciplined Muslims undertaking hijrah who obey without question. Those traveling to IS who fail to make the grade will simply fall along the way including at the gates to the Khilafah. How then Muslims of Africans descent of limited financial means and most of all “converts” were able to make the jump? Answer the question experts of the west as your discourse describes a manufactured reality of your making for your perceived benefit! The effectiveness of recruitment is exponentially enhanced when the means to transport the recruited to their desired destination exists. What use is the commitment to go to IS and you simply cannot command the resources for those so committed to go. Remember you have to move people from T&T to Turkey at minimum, house them there until they are handed over to the structure of IS, moved through the transition zone to IS’s territory and then successfully admitted to IS. No mean undertaking and in T&T it was done repeatedly. Think about that reality! Especially since it was sustainably accomplished supposedly by Muslims of very limited financial means and lacking in the fundamentals of Islam. Propaganda masked as analysis for personal and geopolitical gain.

To-date the most profound article on the hijrah of Muslims of T&T to the Islamic State from the local print media was written by Miranda La Rose of the Newsday. This article potently indicates the heterogeneity of the terrain falsifying those attempts at creating a homogeneous, single track reality. The article follows:

Newsday 24 August 2016

Dad calls ISIS son’s death ‘happiness’

Miranda La Rose

THE DEATH of Trinidad-born Mikail Ali, 27, during an air strike last week in Syria is happiness for his immediate family, but not so for some of his friends and comrades who were mourning the loss of someone brave and popular. “This is happiness. We know where they are going” Mikail’s father, Ali, told Newsday yesterday during an interview at his San Juan home. Ali said his son died on August 16 somewhere between Aleppo and Raqqa from shrapnel during an air strike. At the time he was fighting for the Islamic State (lS), also known as ISIS. Another of his sons, who is also in Syria, Ali said, called him and gave him the news. Asked how Mikail’s mother took the news. Ali said, “She is happy for her son. Friends are coming and crying, and she is consoling them. We know where he has gone. We are happy. Only a Muslim will understand that” Mikail is survived by his wife. Asked who is taking care of her in Syria, Ali said not to worry about that and that she was being well cared for. She told family members who offered to travel to Syria to bring her back home to Trinidad that she does not want to return and that they must go to live with her instead. Mikail and his brother and their families, Ali said, left Trinidad a year and a half ago to fight for IS. He said when they left, he expected that they would have lasted three months at the longest. So it was no surprise when he got news that Mikail had died. He said he would normally talk to his sons once a week. Mikail was pursing Islamic studies in Saudi Arabia. He and his wife had initially gone to Egypt to study where he was among the top five – topping the five – to be selected for a scholarship to study in Saudi Arabia. It was during a break from school, Ali said, that Mikail and his brother, who became impassioned over the devastation being wreaked on Muslims by the war, joined the fight for IS. “They said they would like to fight to help Muslims. We all have to die” Ali said, contending that Muslims were fighting to survive in a world that was against them. Yet, quoting an anonymous Russian commander fighting against the jihad, he said, “How do you defeat an enemy who looks into the barrel of a gun and sees paradise?” AIi said that while over 700.000 Muslims have been killed in the war no one says anything, but if one American was killed. it becomes a war. Meanwhile. friends of Mikail remembers him as being “popular, brave and someone who could take chances” Mikail attended El Socorro Islamia TIA Primary School and Barataria South Secondary. One colleague said Mikail and his brother were not the only two who left to join in the fight. He said they were associated with a mosque in Cunupia, the membership of which appeared fractured on the issue of IS. “It is a whole set who gone” he said, noting that from San Juan alone about 50 people or more have gone over the past two to three years. “Many are brilliant guys. They leave to go to one destination, then make their way to Syria” one man said, noting that just “a few days ago” one of his friends came crying to him telling him that his son was leaving to go and fight for IS, and he could not change his son’s mind.


Illicit Drug Trafficking in the Dominican Republic 2013-May 2017 in the image and likeness of Pax Mexicana!

Illicit Drug Trafficking in the Dominican Republic (DR) 2013-May 2017

This study of the terrain of illicit drug trafficking in the DR is a continuation of studies presented in “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean Volume 2” and “Cocaine Trafficking in the Caribbean and West Africa in the Era of the Mexican Cartels”. For the period 2013-May 2017 the most important instances of the evolution of the illicit trades of the DR in the public domain will be presented.

Drug Laboratory

The premier event of this study was the discovery of a cocaine hydrochloride production facility converting coca paste to powdered cocaine. The DR1 Daily News of 2 September 2013 reported the discovery of the underground laboratory on 1 September 2013 at a compound at La Rosa, Sabana Toro, San Cristobal in an operation in which the DEA participated. DR Police reported that 225 kilos of coca paste were found on the compound and the laboratory was built by two Colombians Johan Jairon Estrada and Angel Fernandez Vargas. The presence of coca paste indicates that the facility was in production confirming that the strategy of the MTTOs to locate production facilities within export points is in operation in the Caribbean. It is therefore expected that there are other facilities in the DR but even more in Haiti with facilities in Jamaica being a distinct possibility.

Italian Organised Crime

The DR1 Daily News of 28 April 2014 reported the arrest of Nicola Pignatelli in Juan Dolio on the 27 April 2014. Pignatelli a fugitive from Italian justice was sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking in Italy is a member of the Ndrangheta and linked to Roberto Pannunzi an apex trafficker. The DR1 Daily News of 24 November 2014 reported that a person carrying the name of Italian citizen Lucas Finocchiaro was refused entry into the DR on the grounds that he was prohibited from entry since May 2010. It was discovered that in spite of the prohibition on the grounds that he is a suspected drug dealer Finocchiaro made several entries into the DR since May 2010 with the compliance of immigration officials. The DR1 Daily News of 14 November 2016 reported that two Italian fugitives were arrested in the DR on 10 November 2016 Giovanni Ponticello was arrested at Calle Altagracia in La Romana and Nazzareno Di Stefano at Guerra in Santo Domingo east. Di Stefano is wanted for illegal association and drug trafficking in Italy and Ponticello for robbery. The continued presence in the DR of Italian organised crime personnel indicate that Italian organised crime especially the Ndrangheta have operationalised a long term presence in the DR. Proof of this came with the DR1 Daily News report of 11 January 2017 which reported that the Italian Police in conjunction with the Spanish National Police had dismantled a drug trafficking organisation that moved cocaine to Italy via the DR. Members of the Ndrangheta Morabito Bruzzanti-Palamara clan  were among those arrested. The organisation operated between Italy, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic and Spain.

Drug Trafficking

What is now revealed in the public domain is the scale of the cash smuggling operations in the DR as the drug traffickers move the cash generated by drug sales into the DR with a flow out of the DR. Drug trafficking then begets the need to smuggle then wash cash. The issue is not primarily having a sink but creating sustainable cash pipelines to and from the sink. The DR1 Daily News of 15 March 2013 reports on the dismantling of a cash smuggling operation that moved between USD 2.5-12 million per month to Venezuela, Colombia and Panama. This operation comprised Venezuelans, Colombians and citizens of the DR (Dominicans). A key player in the organisation was detained in Haiti indicating that Haiti is also in the play. This key player is said to be a front for the Colombian Buitrago brothers. The DEA was part of the operation to dismantle this organisation. The DR1 Daily News of 11 April 2013 reported on the raid of an apartment and a money exchange bureau used as a sink that resulted in the seizure of USD 417,998 with three persons arrested whilst in the US USD 2.5 million was seized. The DR1 Daily News of 16 April 2013 reported that USD 3, 332, 645 was seized in the Casa de Campo complex in La Romana. With at least seven persons arrested including a member of the National Investigation Department (DNI) who was the logistics coordinator for the trafficking enterprise. The USDs were moved from Puerto Rico to the DR via a yacht where it was transferred at sea off La Romana to a DR catamaran who then made the run to shore at the marina at Casa de Campo. The cash was removed from the vessel in two coolers and a duffel bag and placed in a SUV which then transported the cash to the villa at Casa de Campo where it was interdicted in the operation that involved the DEA. The DR1 Daily News of 27 October 2014 reported the arrest of a cash mule/swallower interdicted at the Punta Cana international airport after her arrival from Brussels. In her stomach was 16 bundles of cash amounting to Euro 55,000.00 and in her luggage EUR 54,602 was found hidden. The cash mule was followed from Brussels on the grounds that she was a cash mule. This was the first cash mule interdicted in the DR. The DR1 Daily News of 28 July 2015 reported the dismantling of a transnational drug trafficking, money trafficking and laundering operation where 8 persons were arrested; four Dominicans, three Colombians and a Haitian. USD 1.7 million, RD$ 1.9 million, firearms, 1.3 kilos of cocaine and 8 vehicles were seized in the operation. The illicit enterprise moved money, firearms and drugs hidden in secret compartments of vehicles which crossed from Haiti to the DR via various border crossings. Once in the DR the money was taken to various luxury apartments in the National District where it was prepared for shipment to Colombia utilising cash mules via air travel. The DR1 Daily News of 3 August 2015 reported the arrest of five Colombians who arrived on a flight from the DR at the El Dorado international airport of Bogota, Colombia. The arrested five persons were found to have together more than USD 1 million hidden in their luggage. One of the arrested five persons had travelled four times to the DR for the year to date and was under surveillance by the Colombian authorities. The DR1 Daily News report of 11 July 2016 reported that two citizens of the US of Dominican origin who travelled to Miami from Puerto Plata, DR were arrested in Miami for attempting to smuggle into the US USD 2,467,000.00 in their luggage. This is the fifth case at the time of persons of Dominican origin charged with smuggling millions of USD from the DR to the US in Miami, New York and Boston. The report stated that money is being smuggled from the DR to Panama, Colombia and Europe and a cash mule is paid between USD 15,000 to USD 18,000 per smuggling run from the DR.

The scale of cash trafficking into and out of the DR potently illustrates the apex position the DR continues to occupy in drug trafficking operations from the Caribbean island chain to the US and Europe. But this scale is also the product of the operational controls that the MTTOs exercise over the movement of their illicit products to consumer markets of the North Atlantic and over the movement of the cash proceeds of illicit drug sales. At the wholesale and retail levels the proceeds of the sale of MTTO product remain firmly under the control of the MTTO. Cash management discourse of the MTTOs demand that cash is repatriated to the central dominant control less the costs of operation incurred in the market of operation as approved by central dominant control. This net cash flow is repatriated to the central hegemonic core which then institutes the next round of cash smuggling for various strategic reasons with the movement of cash to/into the licit financial system for laundering being one of them. All investments towards maintenance and expansion of the illicit trading superstructure and infrastructure doesn’t need washed money. When you pay for state services, purchase other services, maintain your personal militia to name a few you don’t need washed money. The underworld thrives on dirty money. The volume of cash moved into and out of the DR distorts the economy as the volume demands investment in front operations to mask the cash smuggling and more important the purchase of impunity from state agents. Cash smuggling is in itself an illicit enterprise that impacts sectors of the licit economy where the illicit economy exercises hegemony over these sectors creating bubbles. The volume of illicit drugs entering and leaving the DR coupled with the volume of dirty money entering and leaving the DR requires that the MTTOs and their affiliates invest in the DR economy to ensure their presence and activity towards a sustainable trafficking environment. The stock exchange, real estate development and the financial sector all reflect this reality with the most potent indicator being the impunity that pervades the operation of the state and the politicians in control of the state. What must be noted is the pivotal role of Haiti in drug trafficking in the Caribbean island chain especially in relation to the DR. Given the weak institutional case of the Haitian state it’s expected that illicit activity in Haiti will exploit this operational reality making Haiti’s role in the Caribbean illicit drug trade the best kept secret of the war on drugs in the Caribbean basin.

The DR1 Daily News of 19 October 2016 reported that the then US Ambassador to the DR indicated that the DR was becoming the dominant transit country for illicit drugs moving from South America to the US and Europe. This growth in the volume of illicit drugs transiting the DR was taking place in spite of US support to the agencies of the state charged with engaging with the illicit drug trade. In addition, it was stated in a meeting with President Danilo Medina of the DR that a number of drug cartels were now operating in the DR moving illicit drugs to the US.

A news report dated 24 February 2014 in reported that the Sinaloa Federation of Mexico was involved in drug smuggling in the DR in partnership with the Valle Norte cartel of Colombia which is now defunct. Which means that the Sinaloa Federation was operating in the DR during the decade of the 1990s. In keeping with the operational structures of the Federation personal representatives of the Federation have been in the DR since the 1990s and the DR has been impacted by actions of the Federation taken to protect its interests. A DR1 Daily News report of 24 April 2014 reported the arrest in international waters off Barahona, DR of Andres Berroa who served three years in prison for his role in the Paya drug case 2008 in the DR. Berroa was interdicted on a go fast boat with 600 kilos of cocaine on board. In August 2008 in Paya, DR 600 kilos of cocaine were interdicted from a drug trafficking operation subsequently seven persons were gunned down presumably in retaliation for loss of the shipment of cocaine. The DR1 report indicated that the seized 600 kilos of cocaine belonged to Los Urabenos of Colombia and this organisation continues to traffick cocaine to the DR from Peru as revealed with the seizure of the containers containing cocaine at the port of Caucedo, DR. Berroa and the 600 kilos of cocaine were landed at Tampa, Florida. The DR1 Daily News of 13 May 2013 reported that the arrest of Dairo Antonio Usuga reputed leader of the drug trafficking organisation the Usuga Clan that operates in the DR has raised concerns of the activities of the Clan in the DR. Martha Cecilia Madrid arrested by Colombian authorities is believed to have used Clan drug funds to purchase luxury goods and exclusive properties in the DR. Madrid it’s believed used a Dominican protestant church to launder drug funds where humanitarian donations were used to purchase homes, luxury vehicle and  beach apartments. There is also the case of Pastor Jorge a church leader from the DR who moved to Colombia to lead a religious community used as a cover for buying goods in Colombia with funds supplied by Clan Usuga. Transnational trafficking organisations who are at the apex of trafficking to the US and Europe from South and Central America are in the public domain of the DR operating their trafficking enterprises in the DR. The threat is then potent and palpable and is growing in potency and expanse. The war is lost!

The DR 1 Daily News of 3 June 2015 reported on a drug bust in which the DEA was involved in the Santo Domingo city centre. The target was a transnational trafficking group moving drugs from South America to the US and Canada via the DR. Seven members of the organisation were arrested including a Colombian, a Belgian and a Serb. The arrest of a Belgian and especially a Serb involved in drug trafficking illustrates potently the depth and scale of transnational trafficking out of the DR and the operational presence of a variety of transnational organised crime groups in the DR.

The DR1 Daily News of 21 August 2014 reported the dismantling of a transnational trafficking organisation utilising swallowers to move illicit drugs to the DR and from the DR to the US and Europe. This organisation utilised multiple trafficking strategies as persons from Colombia, Venezuela and Peru were used to transport illicit drugs to the DR where it was excreted, then swallowed by a national of the DR for the trip to the US and Europe. Nationals of the DR with US visas or with US residency were the preferred couriers to the US. Nationals of the DR were also recruited to travel to Colombia to swallow and transport illicit drugs to the DR. Both cocaine and heroin were the drugs of choice transported by swallowers out of the DR especially for the eastern seaboard of the US. Swallowers were paid USD 700 to USD 1,000 per trip plus travel and accommodation expenses. The DR1 Daily News report of 6 July 2016 reported that the Civil Guard of Spain arrested 10 persons including Dominican and Spanish nationals involved in cocaine trafficking using couples as swallowers. From the Spanish airports of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga swallowers would transport between 250 to 500 grams of cocaine each in their stomachs to London, Basle and Geneva, Nantes, Stuttgart and Tel Aviv with each swallower having made at least twenty trafficking runs. The cash from drug sales was then remitted to the DR in small quantities. The depth of the transnational trafficking enterprises centred on the DR is illustrated by the use of swallowers to move cocaine and heroin into and out of the DR and then to deepen the distribution of cocaine in Europe and Israel sourced and trafficked to Spain from the DR. The very volume of cocaine and heroin being trafficked into and out of the DR is the basis of the momentum to exploit the trafficking opportunities offered by this illicit trafficking apex of the Caribbean island chain. The same reality applies to the eastern seaboard of the US illustrated by the affiliate status Dominican organised crime groups now posses with the MTTOs and their dominance in the retail and wholesale drug markets of the north-eastern USA. This hegemony is directly linked to the apex position of the DR in the trafficking of illicit drugs from the Caribbean island chain to the US.

Air Cocaine

The DR1 daily News of 22 March 2013 reported on the arrest of 35 persons involved in the trafficking of 26 suitcases containing 682 kilos of cocaine via a private aircraft bound for France from the Punta Cana international airport, DR. Three crew members and a passenger of the private aircraft all French nationals were arrested namely: Pascal Jean Fauret, Bruno Armand Victor Odos, Alain Marc Paul Marie Castany and Nicolas Christopher Pisapia. The others arrested were dominated by state agents enabling and facilitating the trafficking organisation utilising the Punta Cana international airport to move illicit drugs to Europe especially the Netherlands and France. This case is a most potent indicator of the corruption that pervades the state agencies of the DR charged with engaging the illicit drug trade. The DR1 Daily News report of 25 March 2013 reported on the details released by the Justice Department of the DR on the operation of the state agents in facilitating trafficking at the Punta Cana international airport. All the agents of the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), Specialised Airport Security Corps (CESA) and Immigration Officers posted at the airport were on the payroll of the trafficking organisation. They received sums ranging from RD$ 70,000 to RD$ 6000,000 for enabling large shipments of cocaine to depart the airport for Europe. A shipment of 145 kilos of cocaine that left for Brussels was guarded by Police Captains and Army, Air Force and Naval personnel were also paid for their services. Two warehouse officials were also paid off. The DR1 Daily News report of 28 October 2015 reported on the escape of two French pilots from the DR who were out on bail awaiting their appeal to be heard on their 20-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking. News of their escape from DR justice was placed in the public domain when one of the escaped pilots Pascal Jean Fauret held a press conference in Paris, France on the 27 October 2015 announcing his freedom from the DR criminal justice system. The other convicted pilot Bruno Odos was not present at the press conference. The two pilots left Punta Cana via a tourist sea-borne excursion where they were picked up by a speed boat which transported them to St Martin. From St Martin they travelled to Martinique where they boarded a flight to Paris, France. This journey was made without their passports. Both pilots were allowed their freedom with only an exit ban placed on them pending the hearing of their appeal despite the drug trafficking charge they were found guilty of. The other two French nationals arrested on the drug plane are also out on bail awaiting their appeal in the DR. Another instance of the mixed messages the judiciary of the DR has sent and keeps sending on treating with drug traffickers in the DR. The DR1 Daily News report of 29 October 2015 reported that Christopher Naudin stated that he coordinated the operation to free and return the two pilots to France and the operation cost under EUR 100,000 which raises the question of the source of funds for this operation and what made these two pilots worthy of this operation? The DR1 Daily News report of 5 November 2015 reported that a National Front of France deputy of the European Parliament Aymeric Chauprade, admitted in France that he took part in the operation to free the two pilots. For three days until the 18 October 2015 when they fled the DR the pilots stayed at a resort in Punta Cana where they met with Chauprade to plan the escape. Chauprade flew out of the DR two days after the day of the escape of the pilots. Pierre Malinowski a personal assistant of Marie Le Pen of the National Front of France is reportedly the third person in a photo distributed of the two escaped pilots. The report also stated that the two pilots left Punta Cana on a boat then transferred to a sail boat with Naudin on board on the high seas which took then to Martinique. The DR1 Daily News of 13 November 2015 reported that the two pilots had acquired cars, pickups, cell phones, UASD and UAPA university identity cards, credit cards issued by Dominican banks and other items uncovered when they announced their escape from the DR. A most potent illustration of the nature of the social order of the DR where licit and illicit realms have merged.

Human Smuggling

The DR1 Daily news of 23 May 2013 reported on the dismantling of a human smuggling ring in Sosua that brought Indian nationals and persons from the Middle East illicitly into the DR and then to other countries. The DR was connected to Cuba, France, Spain, Sri Lanka and Haiti by this human smuggling organisation. Canadian passports were tampered with and sold to Indian nationals who entered the DR via Haiti. Persons were smuggled into the DR from the Middle East and their whereabouts are uncertain. The leader of the group is said to a Canadian of Sri Lankan origin. The DR1 Daily News of 23 September 2015 reported that 15 Indian nationals were arrested by the Dominican Navy in Samana as they attempted an illegal crossing form the DR to Puerto Rico. The DR1 Daily News of 15 October 2015 reported the arrest of 14 Indian nationals attempting to illegally travel to Puerto Rico. The Dominican Today of 21 October 2015 reported that Indian nationals are second only to Haitians as the nationality most interdicted in the DR attempting to illegally cross to Puerto Rico having displaced the Cubans.

The Courts and Drug Traffickers

In December 2012 the Buitrago brothers of Colombia were arrested for asset laundering and drug trafficking and placed in preventive custody by the Court. The DR1 Daily News report of 6 September 2013 reported that the brothers in the hearing of the appeal at the Court of Appeal of the National District were granted bail in the sum of RD$ 6 million each with a 2 to 1 majority in their favour. The DR1 Daily News of 20 September 2013 reported that the prosecutor of the National District charged the Buitrago brothers with ID document forgery and was now requesting preventive detention from the Court as they were entering and leaving the DR on fake Venezuelan passports. The DR1 Daily News of 25 September 2013 reported that National District judge Jose Alejandro Vargas refused to grant preventive custody and ordered the release of the Buitrago brothers. At 7 am on the 24 September 2013 the Prison Police took custody of the Buitrago brothers and transported them to Najayo prison where they remained until their trial in spite of two court decisions to the contrary. The DEA was an integral part of the dismantling of the Buitrago crime family in the DR hence the special treatment afforded them. Clearly members of the judiciary in the DR continue to dance to the music of the drug traffickers and they are in no way bothered by their subservience. The DR1 Daily News of 27 June 2016 reported that the Buitrago brothers were found guilty of drug trafficking, asset laundering, forgery, illegal possession of firearms and double identity and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The brothers pleaded guilty and made a deal with the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The power relations of the state agencies of the DR state charged with engaging with the drug traffickers are then clear. The DEA enters the fray with their allies in the DR state to bring down a target of interest to the US. If there is a successful interdiction and dismantling operation the battle moves to the criminal justice system: the courts and the prisons especially. When all fails then you make a deal. But this is the play for soft targets who are not extradited to the US so much for the power struggles of the war on drugs in the DR as the upper tier level remain untouched as they are not resident in the DR.

The DR1 Daily News of 11 March 2014 reported that National District judge Elka Reyes released from preventive custody 10 persons charged with drug trafficking from Central America to the DR then to the US placing a bail of RD$ 30,000 each with an exit ban and periodic visits to the court. The group comprised Dominicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, US citizens, Jamaicans and Bahamians and the president of Caribair Rafael Senen Rosado Fermin clearly constituting a transnational drug trafficking organisation.

The DR1 Daily News of 28 March 2016 reported that five Venezuelans arrested at the La Romana international airport on the 24 March 2016 in possession of 359 kilos of cocaine were freed by the La Romana judge Aristida Mercedes on the 26 March 2016. The 359 kilos of cocaine were transported via a Cessna C404 aircraft from Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The DR1 Daily News of 29 March 2016 reported that the judge threw out the charges against the five Venezuelans on the grounds that the search warrant was faulty hence the search of the plane was illegal. The Venezuelans were still in custody according to this DR report. The DR1 Daily news of 31 March 2016 reported that the lawyers of the five Venezuelans had a hearing of their habeas corpus petition seeking the release of their incarcerated clients in spite of the release order of judge Mercedes. The DR1 Daily News of 12 September 2016 reported that judge Mercedes was dismissed from her judicial post by the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ) for serious offences committed with the release of the Venezuelans. The DR1 Daily News of 25 July 2016 reported that three judges of the Penal Court of the Court of Appeal of Santo Domingo were dismissed by the Judicial Branch Council (CPJ) for serious misconduct in the exercise of their functions. The DR1 Daily News of 24 February 2017 reported that in response to the decision of the Court of Appeals of the district of Santo Domingo to quash the conviction of Winston Rizik who was found guilty of drug trafficking and asset laundering and sentenced to 10 years in prison and the 5-year sentence placed on Nelson Rizik Delgado his brother to cancel the US visa of the three judges who voted to quash the convictions. Winston Rizik is a fugitive from US Justice who escaped from a Florida jail where he was serving an 8-year sentence for drug trafficking and fled to the DR. In 2009 the Supreme Court of the DR refused to extradite Rizik to the US. The DR1 Daily News of 24 March 2017 reported that the National Commission of Human Rights had denounced the complicity of the judiciary and the police with drug traffickers in Constanza making these agencies enablers of drug trafficking. The Dr1 Daily News of 5 May 2017 reported that judge Awilda Ines Reyes Beltre of the National District was dismissed by the CPJ for making a number of decisions on the bench that benefitted individuals charged with drug trafficking and murder amongst other charges.

State Corruption and Drug Trafficking

The DR1 Daily News of 7 January 2013 reported that in the sworn statement Sobeida Felix gave to the District Attorney she stated that the president of the PRD political party received campaign contributions from drug trafficker Jorge David Figueroa Agosto. In the said statement Felix also listed the members of the DR military and police who were also on the payroll of Figueroa Agosto in exchange for favours and information. The DR1 Daily News of 20 February 2014 reported that members of the National Police and the DNCD of San Cristobal province were protecting the drug organisation led by Cristian Pozo (El Matatan). The DR1 Daily News of 21 February 2014 reported that El Matatan maintained a monthly payroll of RD$ 6 million for several years to purchase Police protection in San Cristobal province. The DR1 Daily News of 19 March 2015 reported that the District Attorney of the National District stated that in 90% of organised crime cases the military or police personnel were involved with crimes as large scale drug trafficking, murder for hire and organised crime. The DR1 Daily News of 9 January 2015 reported on the investigation into officers of the Police Anti-Narcotics Department (DICAN) who were not reporting drug seizures to the organisation thereby keeping seized drugs for themselves and then selling these drugs. Members of DICAN and prosecutors of the District Attorney’s Office were involved in three seizures with evidence collected for: 250 kilos of cocaine in Miches which was distributed among themselves. The second was in Boca Chica where DICAN agents seized 33 kilos and distributed it amongst themselves and the third in Santo Domingo east where 950 kilos were seized and shared among themselves. These DICAN officers passed these cocaine seizures to drug dealers to place them for sale on retail drug markets. The prosecutors reported that no drugs were seized affirming the position of the DICAN agents

The DR1 Daily News of 10 February 2015 reported that Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo convicted in the US of drug trafficking and was released in January 2014 in a phone call to the TV program “Hilando Fino” stated that he donated more than RD$ 7 million to the Foundation for Global Democracy and Development (Funglobe) run by former president of the DR Leonel Fernandez. Castillo said that Fernandez received money from 2002 to 2004 on behalf of Funglobe and for his presidential campaign knowing fully well that Castillo’s funds came from the illicit drug trade. Castillo indicated that the electricity generator for Funglobe was a gift from him that cost him close to USD 200,000.00 and his contribution to Fernandez’s presidential campaign finances was around RD$ 200 million.

The Terrain of Criminality


The DR1 Daily News of 7 July 2015 reported for the year so far 57 foreigners wanted by Interpol and considered dangerous were arrested and extradited from the DR after residing in the DR as fugitives from justice. The fugitives were nationals of Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. There are 120 Dominican fugitives from DR justice listed on Interpol at the date of the report. The DR1 daily News of 1 March 2017 reported that an estimated 71 fugitives from US justice were hiding out in the DR comprised of 33 Dominicans and 38 non Dominicans. The foreigners include American, Canadian, French, Spanish, Italians, US nationals of Cuban origin, Venezuelans and Colombians. The DR1 Daily News of 5 May 2017 reported that in April 2017 the DR deported 4,787 foreigners from 12 countries as follows: Germany, Cuba, Guyana, Haiti, India, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia and Venezuela.

The Reality

The impunity enjoyed by the drug traffickers who utilise the DR as a trafficking point is simply part of a wider reality of the compromised operational basis of the DR state and its key constitutive institutions. It was the strategy of Pablo Escobar to turn the DR into a drug traffickers safe haven and presently the MTTOs are well under way in the process of transforming drug trafficking in the DR into the operational mode demanded by their strategic vision. The apex position the DR presently occupies in Caribbean drug trafficking is the product of the ability of the drug trafficking organisations to purchase sustainable impunity in the DR. The agents of the DR state and its politicians have done all in their power to reap the benefits of selling this impunity over time. This willingness has created a social order where drug traffickers enjoy and reap the benefits of impunity which sends a message to organised crime and ordinary criminals the world over that the DR is open for business and they flock to the DR in their numbers looking for sanctuary and the means to cash in on an illicit dream. The most telling development that potently illustrates the evolution of the criminal enterprise and the impact of the MTTOs on the social order of the DR is the flood of Indian nationals entering the DR seeking to eventually be smuggled into Puerto Rico. This trade has all the hallmarks of the Mexican coyote smuggling organisation including the kidnapping of Indian nationals in the DR with the demand that ransom be paid by the victim and/or their families (DR1 Daily News 4 November 2016). The journey through the Caribbean and Central America to Mexico then into the US is now buttressed with the choice of a much shorter journey to Puerto Rico via not only the DR but a range of other Caribbean jump off points. Then there is the run into the Us Virgin Islands. The threat becomes sophisticated and geographically diverse driven by a growing array of illicit trades which complement each other and the response is one dimensional, driven by politics and geopolitics and lynch pinned by the sustainable sale of impunity. Whilst the prisons and remand yards are filled with the expendables of the social order whose incarceration is testimony of the zero tolerance approach to crime of those who animate the state structures. The drug traffickers and the agents of the state are the greatest beneficiaries of the rewards of the war on drugs.


Italian Organised Crime in Curacao and Sint Maarten

Francesco and Gaetano Corallo of Sint Maarten and the issue of Italian organised crime

Gaetano Corallo

Gaetano Corallo father of Francesco left Italy for residence in Sint Maarten in the 1970s investing in real estate, hotels and casinos among other investments. In November 1983 he left Sint Maarten for the USA in response to the Italian arrest warrant in his name where he was arrested in 1988. In 1989 the US refused to extradite Gaetano to Italy and he acquired US residence in 1994 where he resided until 2000 when he left the US. In 2014 Italy dropped the charges against him thereby squashing the arrest warrant.  In June 2016 Gaetano Corallo returned to Sint Maarten to his son Francesco and the businesses and assets he placed in the hands of both Francesco and Giuseppe La Rosa in 1983. Gaetano Corallo was linked to the Cosa Nostra of Sicily specifically to Nitto Santapaolo and it was claimed that the investments Gaetano made in Sint Maarten were to the benefit of the Cosa Nostra. An online Italian newspaper report stated that Nitto Santapaolo visited Gaetano in Sint Maarten. Gaetano’s sphere of action from his residence in Sint Maarten up to his departure for the US therefore embraced the Caribbean and Italy. His son Francesco who began his residence in Sint Maarten at age 17 and at age 23 became the face of the investments his father made in Sint Maarten and left in his bid to evade an Italian arrest warrant. A news report on the arrest of Gaetano Corallo in Miami, Florida states that he was charged in Italy with corruption, embezzlement and illegal weapons possession. Gaetano was allegedly the head of a gang that preyed on casinos in Italy. Italy has the process of trial and sentencing in absentia which raises the question if Gaetano was so tried and sentenced to seven years in prison and if in the course of this trial the evidence of his links to the Cosa Nostra was produced in court in his absence. A report in an Italian online newspaper in fact said so If so what did Gaetano and possibly Francesco do to have the outstanding warrant for the fugitive Gaetano squashed in 2014? In the period 2000 when Gaetano left the US to June 2016 when he returned to Sint Maarten where was Gaetano and what was he up to? The reality is that Francesco Corallo since 1983 has denied any operational links to his father Gaetano and to Italian organised crime. In November 2016 Gaetano Corallo filed a criminal complaint against Francesco Corallo for fraud and embezzlement of funds going back to almost 30 years from 2016. If Gaetano Corallo was a front for Cosa Nostra investments in Sint Maarten Francesco Corallo and Giuseppe La Rosa must be made men to assume control over said investments in 1983 via a power of attorney. As it was not Gaetano’s to hand over control to individuals without the sanction of the don of the crime family. In addition, it’s not the prerogative of Francesco to refuse to allow the return of Gaetano to the business providing Gaetano has the sanction of the don. Gaetano’s criminal complaint against Francesco presents the aura of a licit business deal that went sour through criminal action of one party and the turn to litigation both criminal and civil. But the criminal complaint was filed in November 2016, Francesco was arrested on the Italian warrant in December 2016 and this criminal complaint now stands in the way of a speedy end to Francesco’s extradition trial. Is an El Chapo move on the cards?

Francesco Corallo

A news report of May 29, 2012 reported on the outcome of the investigation into irregularly granted loans made by Banca Popolare de Milano (BPM) with its resultant arrest warrants. One such loan of 148 million Euro was made to the gaming company Atlantic-B Plus after it won a contract from the state gaming body of Italy in 2004. Francesco Corallo as the ultimate owner of the firm was named in one of the arrest warrants. Loans were granted in return for cash kick- backs to bank officials and these officials forged the eligibility of the loan recipients for the loans made. Corallo in his arrest warrant was also charged for criminal association and is not in custody hence a fugitive. A news report dated November 2013 reported that Corallo was arrested in Italy in November 2011 and in court papers filed following his arrest Corallo insisted that as of June 11, 2011 he was appointed the permanent representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the FAO. In a news report of November 28, 2011 the government of Dominica states: “By letter dated June 21, 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought the approval of the FAO for the appointment of Mr. Francesco Corallo as Permanent Representative of Dominica to the FAO.” The government of Dominica in November 2011 served notice to the Italian criminal justice structure that a diplomat of Dominica was now facing charges in Italy. At his court hearing on July 21, 2012 Corallo again insisted that at the time of the raid on his premises and his arrest in Italy he was a diplomat of Dominica and he still is at the court hearing. Corallo subsequently fled the jurisdiction of the Italian court becoming an international fugitive from justice with an INTERPOL arrest issued for him. The government of Dominica’s November 2011 news release revealed that at the time of the news release the government had received no communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy as to its objection/no objection to Francesco Corallo’s diplomatic posting to the FAO in Italy. At the time of the raid and his arrest Corallo’s appointment to the FAO was pending. Corallo was living in Italy in 2011 managing the gambling business he was the beneficial owner of when he moved to acquire diplomatic status from Dominica by attaching him to a multilateral institution in Italy. Clearly a strategy to purchase some form of impunity within Europe. But the timetable of the operation and the driving strategy of the state made him an international fugitive. Corallo’s strategy placed on the agenda the questions of what did he do to acquire this diplomatic passport of Dominica and how many of these passports are in the hands of members of organised crime families?

On December 13, 2016 Corallo was arrested in Sint Maarten the result of a multinational effort involving Italy, Sint Maarten, the Netherlands and Saint Martin. Various forms of property of Corallo were seized as real estate, bank accounts, boats, luxury watches and a casino. After fleeing Italy Corallo returned to his original operating base in Sint Maarten a fugitive from Italian justice. Was he seeking the protection of his circles in the former Netherlands Antilles? Rudolf Baetsen was arrested in Saint Martin and extradited to Italy as Saint Martin is an overseas department of France where the EU detention order (EAB) applies. This is not so in Sint Maarten which is a country within the Netherlands which allows Corallo the opportunity to appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court in Holland. It is expected as a result that Corallo’s extradition to Italy will take place in 2018. Enough time to stage an El Chapo? Is it noteworthy that Corallo refused to be transferred to Curacao for incarceration preferring to remain incarcerated in Sint Maarten where he was last reported incarcerated in the Philipsburg police station?

The Italian Indictment

The indictment named Francesco Corallo the beneficial owner of Atlantic World Group which owns casinos in Sint Maarten, Curacao and the Dominican Republic. Corallo also controls Global Starnet Ltd/B Plus gaming which operates video lottery terminals in Italy and online gaming sites around the world. The former Italian legislator Amedeo Laboccetta was named and Dutch national Rudolf Baetsen Chief Financial Officer of Atlantis World Group and compatriot of Corallo. The indictment states that from 2004 to 2014 Corallo hid over 250 million Euro in gambling proceeds in Caribbean companies after feeding the funds through UK and Netherlands bank accounts. This then is tax evasion through money laundering utilising offshore accounts in offshore financial centres which are masked as tax havens in this case in the Caribbean sink to wash dirty money clean. Baetsen is also charged with financing the acquisition of the Monegasque apartment owned by the Italian political party the National Alliance. Baetsen was also afforded the use of two offshore companies owned by Gianfranco Tulliani to move funds to the Caribbean. Gianfranco was connected politically and linked to the apartment in Monegasque. Gianfranco Tulliani was the father in law of prominent Italian politician Gianfranco Fini during these transactions. Amedeo Laboccetta Italian politician and member of Parliament was also connected to Corallo dating back to the investigation of BPM and the resulting arrest warrants of 2011. In the period before 2011 Laboccetta was a member of parliamentary committees that dealt with in their remit gambling and anti-Mafia state activity. Before becoming a member of parliament Laboccetta was directly connected to Corallo’s company in Italy B Plus. Then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in seeking to generate funds following the earthquake of 2009 gave Corallo a new contract expanding the number of VLT machines in Italy under Corallo’s control. In exchange Corallo utilising the state controlled Fortis bank of the Netherlands passed 4 million Euro to Gianfranco Fini the close of associate of Berlusconi. Corallo has therefore exhibited his strategy for cultivating, rewarding and utilising his political contacts in Italy in the service of his personal and business interests whether licit or illicit. Was this strategy applied in the Caribbean especially in Sint Maarten and Curacao?

What is noteworthy is the news report dated March 21, 2013 which reported that the AAMS of Italy had only granted a six-month extension of the license of B Plus for video lottery terminals/amusement with prizes. The Corallo owned company was now under the gun as he was a fugitive from Italian justice and more importantly the Prefect of Rome stated that B Plus “was at risk of infiltration by the mafia.” As with his father Gaetano the issue of Cosa Nostra connections had caught up with Francesco.

Corallo and the politicians of Curacao

On October 10, 2010 the Netherlands Antilles died and Curacao as Sint Maarten became a country within the Netherlands. The first government of country Curacao was led by prime minister Gerrit Schotte the political leader of the MFK party which lasted from 2010 until 2012 when it was replaced by a new government formed on a coalition of parties excluding the MFK. A wave of political instability swept over Curacao in the aftermath of the removal of the MFK from power including political assassination of the political leader of the Pueblo Soberano party Helmin Wiels a onetime ally of Schotte. In 2014 Schotte was charged with a series of charges consisting of illicit acts committed whilst in office and in 2016 he was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison and a five-year ban from political activity. Schotte appealed his conviction and in the interim is free and taking part in the politics of Curacao. Reports on Schotte’s guilty verdict indicate that: Francesco Corallo paid Schotte in excess of USD I million for political influence and government insider information. Francesco Corallo financed the creation of the MFK political party and Schotte was involved in various acts of corruption whilst in office which amounted to abuse of power in favour of Corallo. Corallo was then Schotte’s premier political financier and with victory in 2010 Schotte was beholding to Corallo to the extent of criminal acts whilst being prime minister of Curacao. The question then is the extent of Schotte’s service to Corallo and did it encompass Corallo’s penetration of key signal state institutions as the intelligence agency of the state and all its files and the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten?

A statement from the Curacao Secret Service (VDC) to the Public Prosecutor indicated that before Schotte became prime minister of Curacao he had access to insider information on the activities and intelligence of the Secret Service Netherlands Antilles (VNA). Schotte’s mole was head of the department of internal and external security of the VNA who was connected to Schotte’s compatriot George Jamaloodin. In September 2010 the mole travelled to Sint Maarten without informing the VNA where he met with Schotte, Jamaloodin, Theo Heyliger a politician of Sint Maarten and Francesco Corallo. In retaliation for the unsanctioned meeting the Minister of Justice denied access to the VNA for Schotte’s mole Lawrence Pietersz. On becoming prime minister Schotte suspended the head of the successor organisation to the VNA the VDC and in September 2010 issued a decree to reinstate Pietersz to the VDC. This decree was blocked by the head of the supervisory committee of the VDC and Pietersz was transferred to Customs. Before Schotte’s and the MFK’s accession to power in Curacao Corallo through his political minions had already penetrated the premier intelligence agency of the Netherlands Antilles. This access to intelligence was deemed vital by Corallo which potently illustrates his operational links to transnational organised crime.

An article by Ronald van Raak a member of the second chamber of the Parliament of Holland on the penetration of the VDC by the underworld during the government of Schotte states the following. Through intercepted communications the VDC learned that Pietersz asked and was a recipient of funds from Jamaloodin to purportedly pay off Pietersz debts. Pietersz then willingly approached Jamaloodin thereby compromising himself and the VNA. The leaked VDC screening of the proposed members of the post 10-10-10 stated that Abdul Nasser El Hakim who became minister of economic affairs was linked to Corallo as was Schotte. Jamaloodin was not included in the leaked screening report. During the period October 29 to October 30, 2011 the server of the VDC was hacked by gaining entry via the facilities of the VDC and every single item on the server was copied which included secret security data from the Dutch Secret Service (AIVD) and the CIA. This was not a classic break in it was simply illicit persons empowered with the means to enter the server in a licit manner and copy all the date stored therein. The VDC was literally looted which points again to transnational organised crime utilising its control of the state and the politicians who animate the state to propagate and protect its hegemony over Curacao. Why? It’s the booming illicit drug trade to Europe stupid. Ronald van Raak continues to insist that these illicit incursions on the power and integrity of the state are the actions of the “gambling mafia” failing to understand that the so-called gambling mafia are minions of the transnational trafficking organisations that utilise Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius as trafficking points to Europe with all the connected illicit trades in tow.

In 2011 Schotte pursued having Rudolf Baetsen CFO of Corallo’s company Atlantic World Group appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten which failed. The same Baetsen who is presently awaiting trial in Italy after his extradition from St Martin. Schotte again showed his position as a minion of Corallo a minion wielding state power in Curacao.

Why then this assault on the state during the Schotte regime? Clearly the aim was to dismantle key state institutions and criminalise the state. This agenda fits into the strategy of turning Curacao into the premier trafficking point to Europe of the southern Caribbean island chain. The methodology utilised in pursuit of the realisation of the strategy was seriously flawed as it was not politically sustainable which indicates the lack of discipline and realism that drove the political associates of Corallo in Curacao. In fact, their feeding frenzy forced the hands of Holland generating heat that has retarded the time frame of successful realisation of the strategic ends but it is not derailed. For this they are paying the price and will continue to pay. But the trafficking volume from Curacao continues to grow as is the case of Aruba and Sint Maarten. No similar agenda has emerged in the public domain for Sint Maarten which is noteworthy of the nature of the hegemonic strategy driving the Eastern Caribbean Trafficking Pipeline (ECTP) in which Sint Maarten is situated.

Schotte’s quest for power

With his fall from power in 2012 Schotte and the party he leads the MFK have made several attempts to regain power via coalitions to supplant ruling coalitions. In February 2017 Parliament was dissolved and snap elections were called for April 28, 2017. Schotte, the MFK and 4 MPs formed the Group of 12 thereby constituting a coalition commanding the majority and were installed as the interim government until the general elections produced a new government. The coalition led by the MFK upon installation moved to cancel the general elections of April by instructing the Supreme Electoral Council to cancel the elections. The existing government of Holland was forced to invoke the constitutional power of Holland to ensure the elections were in fact held. This attempted coup by the interim government went down at a time when Corallo is incarcerated in Sint Maarten and Schotte’s appeal against his conviction is also due to be heard. The results of the April election show the MFK receiving the third highest number of votes but the rest of the Group of 12 were decimated with the group ending up with 9 seats from 12 with the PAR, MAN and the PIN in a coalition commanding the majority of seats. Schotte from the benches of the opposition must now jump the hurdle of his appeal.

The Reality

In the aftermath of 10-10-10 it’s now clearly apparent that the structure and operationalisation of key institutions inherited from Dutch colonialism are unable to wrestle with the threats posed to the states of Curacao and Sint Maarten. The management of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten under the leadership of Emsley Tromp and the operational condition of the Police department of Sint Maarten today are but two potent examples of this reality. The fixation on the “gambling mafia” is simply a distraction to mask the failure and refusal to engage with the grave threats that are constituted by the illicit drug trade and its menu of affiliate illicit activities that were prevalent under Dutch colonialism before 10-10-10. Since 10-10-10 the hegemonic transnational trafficking organisations have exploited the operational head start afforded them by Dutch colonialism and are fully exploiting the institutional weaknesses and the politics of musical chairs premised on fragile coalition governments mortally wounded by political elites focused on feeding at the trough of the state. The best gift to the transnational traffickers was 10-10-10 which affirmed the vision of Pablo Escobar when he devised and implemented the strategy to turn the then Netherlands Antilles and Aruba into premier trafficking pipelines to Europe. The institutional structure of Curacao and Sint Maarten that kicked on at 10-10-10 was in severe denial over the legacy of Pablo Escobar and the Netherlands Antilles and since then nothing has been done and is been done to address this reality on the ground. Presently the Mexican Transnational Trafficking Organisations (MTTOs) are hegemonic with a level of organic discipline and strategic vision that surpasses that of Pablo Escobar in his period of hegemony and Curacao and Sint Maarten continue to labour with institutions that failed to address the threat posed by Pablo Escobar’s strategy and are now expected to wrestle with the much more concerted threat posed by the MTTOs. Can these institutions then handle the threats posed by the MTTOs in the 21st century? Dutch colonialism created the terrain that allows the traffickers operational space then Dutch colonialism washed its hands of the Netherlands Antilles and said it’s your problem now. Now those politicians as Wilders will sever all ties thereby blaming the colonised for the sins of the coloniser and the coloniser refuses to accept the sins of colonisation. If the trafficking threat to Holland becomes a weighty political issue in Holland, then the momentum to build a “wall” between the former colonies of the Caribbean and Holland will approach the level of being part of the political mainstream. Another example of a failed European colonial experiment in the Caribbean with the legacy of grave questions about the viability of the countries within the Netherlands created.

The Drug Trafficking Reality


These news stories indicate the extent of the drug trafficking activity from Curacao to Europe. Curacao is now a major operational centre in the realisation of the strategy of the MTTOs to flood Germany with product in the Caribbean island chain and the premier centre in the southern Caribbean island chain. In this scenario the “gambling mafia” must march in lockstep with this overarching agenda and European transnational organised affiliated to or partners of the MTTOs will ensure this. The Ndrangheta, Camorra, Cosa Nostra and Sacra Corona Unita are all in the mix.

Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten as Saint Martin are part of the ECTP with an entirely different operational strategy and methodology in play from that of Curacao. What is noteworthy is the trafficking of cocaine from Curacao to Sint Maarten which indicates the linkages that are evolving in the drug markets of Curacao and Sint Maarten and Saint Martin.


Aruba was the premier trafficking point of the Netherlands Antilles to Europe for the Medellin cartel. Long integrated into the hegemony of Colombian trafficking organisations trafficking on Aruba was impacted by the evolution of the Colombian trafficking enterprise with all its instability. The MTTOs are now inscribing their hegemony over trafficking in Aruba with its drastically new and radical strategy and operational methodology. Aruba is now back focused and attuned to the new reality as seen in the news story that follows.

Every means and mode of transport from Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten are being exploited to place product in Europe contributing to the tsunami of cocaine the MTTOs have unleashed on Europe with the intent to open new markets and grow existing ones. In this tsunami the port of Rotterdam is a prime target for penetration as the chickens bred by colonial domination are coming home to roost as eagles. Pax Mexicana!

Corallo Extradited to Italy, Schotte Appeals to the High Court in The Hague

The Daily Herald of 21 June 2017 reported that Corallo lost his appeal to the Court of Appeal at Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. The Daily Herald of 21 July 2017 reported that Corallo withdrew his appeal to the High Court in The Hague. The Daily Herald of 9 August 2017 reported that the Governor of Sint Maarten has signed the extradition order for Corallo to be extradited to Italy. With the order signed the Italian authorities are charged with the task of taking custody of Corallo for transportation to Italy. The Daily Herald of 16 August 2017 reported that Corallo was taken into custody by Italian Interpol and flown to Italy via Paris.

Why the sudden decision to end the fight to overturn verdicts given and to prolong the process as long as possible? Was this decision influenced by Schotte’s failed gambit to seize power via a parliamentary coup d’état followed by Schotte’s loss at the Court of Appeal?

The Curacao Chronicle of 21 July 2017 reported that the sentence of Gerrit Schotte by the Court of First Instance was confirmed the Court of Appeal. On the 24 July 2017 the Daily Herald reported that Schotte had filed an appeal at the High Court in The Hague.