Dominican Ambassador Calls On Cuomo To Support Latino Congressional District

Politicker reports that Dominican Ambassador Roberto Saladin has thrown his support behind the push to create a new predominantly Latino Congressional district in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.  Mr. Saladin sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last Tuesday describing the creation of the district as

[A] “question of utmost importance” for the Dominican Diaspora that would “open the opportunity to elect a Congressman of Dominican origin to the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.” (Underline is my emphasis)

via Dominican Ambassador Calls On Cuomo To Support Latino Congressional District | Politicker.

IMHO this is an unprecedented intervention by a foreign government in the creation of a US congressional district.  I know that Ambassador Saladin’s letter does not rise to the level of President Johnson sending American troops to Santo Domingo to quell a supposed “communist danger” after uprisings against the military controlled government there in April 1965. But now as then, it’s an unwarranted interference in an internal matter affecting US residents.

Imagine the uproar if China’s Ambassador came out in support of candidates for the new Asian American districts in Queens and Brooklyn. Senator Adriano Espaillat did himself a disservice by being a party to Ambassador Saladin’s political lobbying.

I urge Governor Cuomo to politely turn aside the Ambassador’s letter. The Voting Rights Act was not enacted to create beachheads for foreign regimes. The VRA was meant to be a short term solution to systemic racial discrimination and election procedures that diminished the effective political participation of black Americans. It was later amended to include language minorities (i.e., Native Americans, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans) residing in the American Southwest and Northeast.

The continued misapplication of the VRA is quickening its demise as relevant legislation. I urge the Legislature and/or the court-assigned special master to ignore plans that violate the spirit of the VRA by drawing special congressional enclaves for national groups, racial minorities, or religious groups.

UPDATE: The Dominican Ambassador to the United States Anibal de Castro says he is the only person able to speak on behalf of the Dominican government. Read his statement here.

Do you think that Ambassador Saladin’s letter endorsing a “Dominican” congressional district is appropriate?

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email FOMB08@GMAIL.COM.
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3 Responses to Dominican Ambassador Calls On Cuomo To Support Latino Congressional District

  1. Haile Rivera says:

    As a native of Dominican Republic, it will be a very proud moment when the time comes that Dominican-Americans will elect its first Congressman or Congresswoman to represent us in Washington. It’s the same feeling that all African-Americans felt the moment that Barack Obama was the Democratic Party’s nominee and even more-so when he was declared President of the United States. I agree with my good friend Michael [that] we should follow the VRA and not to create a district for a Dominican or Puerto Rican or Colombian or Mexican. But create a district that is FAIR for everyone.


    • Now, if only everyone were as wise, reasonable and understanding as you. President Barack Obama defeated Senators Hilary Clinton and John McCain on the strength of his ideas, not special treatment. Merit, character and ideas should determine election outcomes, not racial or ethnic calculations.


  2. Geoffrey L. Garfield says:

    We should stop designating elective office seats as the “property” of any racial or ethnic group. An African-American, Anglo or even Puerto Rican should not be barred from running for office in a predominately “Dominican district”, let the voters decide. These seats do not “belong” to anyone but the public (“Charlie’s seat” determines the lines for all of Manhattan, and by that action, the Bronx and every other NYC congressional district) nor should the address of any incumbent be considered when drawing lines. We are not a monarchy, these seats are not inherited (funny for me to say that after getting elected the sons of Basil Paterson, Bruce Wright and Adam Powell). Time to leave the political royalty behind. Adriano should be ashamed of himself for getting anywhere near this, its pandering of the lowest kind and patently illegal for a foreign official to even THINK he can demand who our citizens elect, whether they are dual citizens or not. Unless he is interested in annexing DR as a new congressional district and start paying taxes for the privilege, my best advice to him is to shut up and focus on the myriad problems of poverty and discrimination in his own nation.


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