By Nelson Santana
September 10, 2018
Known affectionately as “El Cacique del Amargue” (The King of Bitterness), bachata artist Raulín Rodríguez is accused of attempting to steal several plots of land from a group of farmers. Making matters worse, Rodríguez is the mayor of the town where the land is in dispute. According to Asociación de Pequeños Productores y Ganaderos La Breña de Santa María (Association of Small Producers and Livestock La Breña Santa María) Rodríguez is abusing his political and economic power to unlawfully take from them several plots of land given to them by Instituto Agrario Dominicano (Dominican Agrarian Institute). ESENDOM first broke the story in early August.
Allegedly, the land in dispute was promised to more than 50 farmers by the IAD fourteen years ago. Farmers also allege that Rodríguez asked them for 4.6 acres to close an adjacent plot to which they agreed in good faith, yet they claim he ended up with 31 acres instead.
According to Fernando Hernández Gómez, the attorney representing the farmers from La Breña and president of Coordinadora Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH), noted that campesinos José Reinoso Veras and José Gabriel Ramos along with Bienvenido Sosa Genao, secretary general of the Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO) were arrested by agents of the National Police at the request of Rodríguez.
According to Hernández Gómez:
Justice does not touch Raulín not even with a rose petal, however, abusing political and economic power, he mistreats the campesinos and orders the imprisonment of three citizens on their way to a meeting with the farmers, outside the lands in question, a clear violation of their rights
According to several eye witnesses, the bachatero mayor has led multiple violent attacks against the farmers. Many, including members of FALPO also accuse the Ministerio Público and Policía Nacional of protecting Rodríguez, claiming that these government agencies act as the singer's personal bodyguards. Last year, a video circulated where the bachatero allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman while trying to remove people from a plot of land.
According to FALPO members, Rodríguez is only one of many other government agents using questionable tactics to acquire property. Hernández Gómez further accused Rodríguez of being above the law and Dominican constitution, noting that several elected officials and government employees have unjustly stolen more than 7.76 acres of land from the State, falsifying titles and other documents via force and using their political power in complicity with judges, lawyers, and the National Police.
About Raulín Rodríguez
Raulín Rodríguez is one of the most important artists in the Dominican musical landscape. Along with Antony Santos and Luis Vargas, he is one of three bachateros who revolutionized bachata during the early decade of the nineties. Nicknamed “The Cacique del Amargue” (King of Bitterness, Cacique being the Taíno word for King), Raulín captivated a new generation of bachata listeners with his unique and refreshing voice. He debuted as a solo act after departing from the group of his former friend, Antony Santos “El Mayimbe.”
Because of the contributions of bachateros like Raulín and Antony Santos, bachata broke barriers, penetrating the mainstream, and on many occasions bachata has surpassed merengue as the most popular Dominican genre. For his achievements, Raulín has won several statuettes in the Premios Soberano, Dominican Republic’s award ceremony where the best in music, film, dance, and theater are awarded. In Premios Soberano 2016, the award for “Bachata of the Year” was awarded to the song “Cómo serás tú,” by composer Fray Luis Martínez, and recorded by Raulín. Over the years, Raulín has created an enviable repertoire of songs (bachatas, guitar merengues, and ballads)—predominantly composed by him—such as “Que dolor,” “Una mujer como tú,” “Medicina de amor,” “Anoche,” “Regresa amor,” “Nereyda,” “Me la pusieron díficil,” “Soledad,” “Me siento triste hoy,” and “Navidad, Navidad,” among many other hits.
In 2016, Raulín Rodríguez made history when he was elected the first mayor of Santa María, Montecristi. His status as an artist helped him secure more than 60 percent of the votes.