By Nelson Santana
August 26, 2019
Last July, music entrepreneur Santiago Matías “Alofoke,” comedian and actor Aquiles Correa DiCaprio, and television broadcaster Bolívar Valera “El Boli” found themselves embroiled in a national scandal. All three men caused a firestorm when news broke that they sought public office as candidates under the banner of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD). To their surprise, the vast majority of the Dominican population made their voices heard, rejecting the candidacies of the three public figures.
According to several sources, including Listín Diario—an instrument of the government—all three met with President Danilo Medina, received advice and blessings from the president. After his meeting with President Medina, Valera posted the following message onto his Instagram account:
con un “pónganse a trabajar” nos despidió el presidente @DaniloMedina luego de una visita de cortesía que realizamos, tranquilo presi, que yo toy fajao
(with a “get to work” the president @DaniloMedina bid us farewell after a courtesy visit, easy, presi, I’m workin’ hard)
Nonetheless, the original plan backfired for all three aspiring candidates. The public court condemned them. Shortly after the public outcry and barrage of negative feedback, Alofoke—whose name is a play on “Fuck it”—and Correa announced they would withdraw from running for public office. After his meeting with Medina, Correa revealed the following via Instagram:
Ayer con el Presidente @danilomedina luego de comunicarle la decisión de retirarme de la contienda. “Bueno Correa, si es por la familia...”
(Yesterday with the President @danilomedina after informing him of my decision to withdraw from the race. “Well Correa, if it is due to family…”)
Correa, who initially aspired to hold office in Santo Domingo, withdrew his candidacy for “la paz y la tranquilidad de su familia” (peace and tranquility for his family), as he noted in the radio program El Mismo Golpe on Zol 106.5. Among the Instagram users who have responded to the photograph of Correa alongside Medina, one will find yvan_amaya, who wrote:
No entiendo como una persona como tu, humilde, trabajador que lo que tiene es porque se a pelado el c... Trabajando se lanza a diputado con el partido que ha acabado con este pais, cosas como eso no las entiendo o quisiera no entenderlas mejor
(I do not understand how someone like you, humble, hard-working everything you have is because you have worked your ass off…Working launches a political career with the party that has destroyed this country, things like these I do not understand or I rather not understand them).
Alofoke’s F U to All
Several people have criticized the three aspiring political candidates. However, only Alofoke has taken time to address the matter head-on. In a video, Alofoke said “ustedes no le gusta leer, son una balsa de vagos” (None of you like to read, you’re all lazy) and “es una falta de respeto a mi persona ponernos a competir con otros en un torneo interno” (it’s an insult to my character to pit us against one another in an internal tournament). The music entrepreneur received strong backlash due to his poor choice of words, particularly for deeming “lazy” those who have questioned his alliance to the PLD party. It is also important to note that this is a political campaign and not a sports “tournament,” something several individuals have noted on social media.
The moment Alofoke announced his candidacy, information pertinent to his past resurfaced. According to several sources, Esmelin Santiago Matías García was arrested by the Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas (National Directorate for Drugs Control) for coordinating drug trafficking to Europe, while simultaneously seeking a United States visa. In part, Alofoke’s verbal tirade is a product of the circulating photograph of his arrest.
By the same token, Alofoke also withdrew his candidacy almost immediately after the backlash. Nonetheless, Matías flip-flopped and changed his decision, announcing his decision to run once more. Once more in early August, Alofoke announced via social media that he requested to be excluded from the ballot, as a result of a statement made by the president of the Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD), Vice Admiral Félix Alburquerque Comprés, and the drug raid led by disgraced prosecutor Carmen Lisset Núñez. Núñez led a raid in Villa Vásquez, where video footage reveals that accomplices planted drugs in a local barbershop prior to the arrival of her corrupt law enforcement co-workers.
For Alofoke, politics run in his veins. According to CDN, his father also has political aspirations, but not in the Dominican Republic. Santiago Matías Sr. hopes to run for city council in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 2016, Juana Matías, cousin of Alofoke, won an election, becoming a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Therefore, it would not be far-fetched to say that Alofoke has been polished by his kin, whom carry politics in their blood.
Unlike Correa and Alofoke, Valera remains firm in his decision to seek public office.
Analysis: Danilo Recruits Celebrities to Win Over El Pueblo
President Medina’s alliance with celebrities can be attributed to his desire to be elected president for a third consecutive term. Notwithstanding, Medina’s aspirations came to a halt shortly after Puerto Ricans ousted Governor Ricardo Rosselló from office. Weeks earlier, thousands of Dominicans protested Medina’s attempt to reform the constitution when Marcha Verde members organized the Marcha del Cibao in Santiago.
What’s ironic is that Dominicans are fed-up with seeing the same people run for office and at the same time seek new faces and younger candidates. Nonetheless, the people have collectively rejected these three entertainment faces. The majority of the population view the candidacy of Alofoke, Correa, and Valera as a farce.
Correa and Alofoke did not withdraw their candidacies due to classicism or for “peace” and “tranquility” for their families. The truth is that public opinion is harsher and more detrimental to a public figure and their career in comparison to any other punishment. Alofoke announced his candidacy twice and withdrew as many times once he realized the severity of public opinion.
President Medina is a cunning diplomat who is well aware that the PLD and Dominican politics in general are stagnant and are spaces mostly comprised of dinosaurs.
Alofoke and Valera offer something different: an entry into a generation of younger voters as well as a vehicle into popular culture. It cannot be discarded that Alofoke has been one of the most influential figures within the urban music landscape, especially within Dominican rap and Hip Hop. With these two figures by his side, Medina looked to allies who would help him captivate a key constituency.
Social Media Reactions
Todo indica que Danilo impondrá la reforma constitucional alofoke. Es tan bellaco y egocéntrico como el jovencito que quiere que le regalen la candidatura a diputado para escudándose en el poder seguir haciendo y deshaciendo— María Teresa Morel (@maritere25) July 9, 2019
A este zar de las mulas santiagueras, ayer por la tarde Danilo Medina lo llamó a Palacio para motivarlo de nuevo a que retomara la precandidatura y la retomó. Antes lo había llamado Pechito. Fíjense que hasta en chancletas fue al Palacio. https://t.co/5qqQQDDH9P— Alcarrizos News (@AlcarrizosNews) July 4, 2019
Qué dirá un extranjero si lee un afiche: "Alofoke diputado". Ay Danilo por qué has llevado este trozo de tierra ahí? Si te humillaron siendo joven no fue culpa del país, busca cercanos; pagarás este desastre, ya lo verás, y muy seguro tus nietos...— Paulina Santos (@PaulinSantosS) July 8, 2019
....y Danilo lo apoya 💩 https://t.co/usQUXphkoC— Annie Santana (@annysantana07) July 4, 2019