Dominican Republic truck union leaders mirror US-Jimmy Hoffa mobsters
Santo Domingo.- The leaders and top representatives of DominicanRepublic’s bus drivers and truckers unions have a long history of conflictsincluding murders, assaults and other crimes resulting from confrontations, akin to the infamous Teamsters Union of theUS that many say led to the unsolved disappearance of the legendary mobsterJimmy Hoffa.
The murder of former Sano Domingo State University (UASD) rectorMateo Aquino Febrillet allegedly by Blas Peralta, head of the biggest truckersunion (FENARADO) again puts the spotlight on their chaotic and aggressive style.
In addition to FENATRADO, several killings of union membersor outsiders have been linked to the two major bus owners associations,FENATRANO, headed by Juan Hubieres, and CONATRA, headed by Antonio Marte.
The fear they instill on government officials has earnedthem the moniker "the country’s owners," and their crimes go mostly unpunished
Peralta’s alleged crime comes just months after the arrest ofArsenio Quevedo, leader of yet another powerful bus owners association UNATRAFIN,charged with heading a ring of contract killers charged with murdering severaldrivers of rival unions.
Also being held is Erickson de los Santos, a councilman ofa small town, as Quevedo’s second-in-command,charged in the murders of two drivers belonging to Hubieres’ association.
Marte, in addition to Peralta and Hubieres, were indicted andjailed for embezzling RD$1.8 billion of taxpayers’ money through the so-calledPlan Renove, a government program to provide new vehicles for the unions.
Marte was pardoned by president Leonel Fernandez andreleased in December 2008.
Hubieres, now a deputy, has been linked to many felonies,including the death of two free zone workers when his alleged associatestorched a bus in Santo Domingo Este. In yet another incident, Hubieres was shotand seriously wounded in the face in a shootout during an eviction in a barrio inOctober 2011.