The President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, is formally backing Adriano Espaillat’s candidacy, announcing his support yesterday on his official website, the news of which promptly spread across Caribbean news agencies. Mr. Espaillat, of course, is a Dominican-American and is hoping for high turnout among that community to propel him to a victory over veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel. The news is even more notable as the Dominican government had previously walked back an ambassador’s endorsement of a new Latino-majority seat in the redistricting process.
“I would like to categorically state that the Dominican Republic views the electoral affairs of the United States, including redistricting issues, as internal and sovereign concerns,” the country’s official ambassador wrote in an email to The Politicker at the time. “While it is true that the Dominican people would be pleased and proud if the valuable contribution of Americans of Dominican descent were celebrated through the election of one of their representatives to Congress, we respect the absolute right of the competent authorities in the United States to handle the enfranchisement of its citizens in different jurisdictions without external interference.”
Nevertheless, it seems that the government’s opinion has evolved and Mr. Espaillat is fully embracing the endorsement, making it the first slide on his website.
“Adriano Espaillat has demonstrated leadership, commitment, and dedication throughout his career—all in the interest of the diaspora in New York”, Mr. Fernandez says, according to the Espaillat campaign’s translation. He further referred to Mr. Espaillat as “a prime example of a Dominican in New York.”