The Dominican Republic has signed a $600,000 lobbying contract with a veteran Latin America hawk as newly elected President Luis Abinader seeks to consolidate the close US partnership he has forged under the Donald Trump administration.
The Ministry of the Presidency signed a six-month, $103,000-a-month contract on Oct. 9 with Vision Americas and its founder Roger Francisco Noriega, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) under President George W. Bush. Noriega is registered to lobby on the contract along with Vice President of Government Affairs Jordan Paul.
The firm is tasked with communicating with the “US executive branch, members of Congress and their staff, and private sector organizations and companies in order to inform them, of the interests of the Dominican Republic in order to promote positive outcomes for the country and its people.” The contract was signed by Noriega and Administrative Minister of the Presidency Jose Ignacio Paliza.
The contract comes as US-Dominican relations have deepened under Abinader after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned former President Danilo Medina against running for a constitutionally prohibited third term in a 2019 phone call. Medina ended up not running and Abinader won the July 5 election, ending 16 years of rule by the center-left Dominican Liberation Party.
Pompeo himself led the US delegation to Abinader’s inauguration on Aug. 16. Two days earlier, the Dominican Republic stood out as the only country at the UN Security Council to vote with the United States to indefinitely extend the UN arms embargo on Iran.
Vision Americas did not respond to a request for comment. Noriega, a visiting fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, had already sided with Abinader ahead of the contract, accusing Medina’s government of trying to pin botched municipal elections in February on the opposition candidate.
“Following the route of the authoritarians who overthrow the elections and abuse the police powers?” Noriega tweeted about the Medina government in April.
Noriega and Paul both previously lobbied for Morocco when Paul was executive director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy and Vision Americas lobbied for the center. The effort ended when Rabat switched its lobbying to firms seen as closer to President Donald Trump and current Republican leaders following the 2016 election.
Vision Americas joins Ballard Partners in lobbying for the Dominican government. The firm led by former Trump White House lobbyist Brian Ballard has represented the Dominican presidency since 2017 and disclosed $2.7 million in payments since then.