In The Pay of Foundations—Part 21
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a "parallel left" media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
Although large numbers of people from the Dominican Republic now live in New York City area from which the parallel left Democracy Now! radio and cable tv show originates, since 2004 Democracy Now! has not provided its listeners with many news segments examining which special U.S. corporate interests benefited most from the Democratic Johnson White House's decision to order U.S. military troops to occupy the Dominican Republic in 1965 or many weekly updates on the 21st-century political and economic situation within the Dominican Republic.
One reason might be because the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy foundation has given the Democracy Now! media firm over $1.5 million in "charitable" grants since 2004; and the long-time president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy foundation, Bill Moyers, was one of the Johnson White House officials responsible for the decision to order U.S. troops to invade and occupy the Dominican Republic in late April 1965, in violation of the United Nations Charter.
But a year before U.S. troops were sent to the Dominican Republic by the Johnson White House in 1965 the U.S.-based Gulf and Western corporation had also begun, coincidentally, to spend $54 million [equal to over $426 million in 2018] to acquire, by 1967, control of the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company that owned 450 square miles or 300,000 acres of Dominican Republic land and a sugar mill in La Romana, Dominican Republic; and the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company was then merged with Gulf and Western Industries.
As a result, Gulf and Western, now controlling 8 percent of all arable land in the Dominican Republic, became that country's largest landowner and largest private employer between 1967 and 1985; and it produced sugar cane on about 50 percent of the land it now owned. In addition, by the early 1980s the U.S.-based corporation owned and operated the Hotel Santo Domingo and Hispaniola in Santo Domingo and the Casa de Campo Resort Complex in La Romana. According to a June 13, 1984 New York Times article:
"In 1974 and 1975, G.and W. made millions by speculating in sugar in the republic. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which later investigated G. and W., estimated that G. and W. may have made as much as $64.5 million [equal to between $306 million and $340 million in 2018] during those years. In 1979, the S.E.C. sued G. and W. charging that... [then-Gulf and Western Chairman Charles] Bluhdorn had made a secret agreement with high officials of the Dominican Government to speculate in sugar... ."
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] also accused Gulf and Western in 1975 of illegally failing to pay the Dominican Republic's government more than $38 million [equal to over $180 million in 2018] in profits generated by its business activities in the Dominican Republic that it was under a legal obligation to pay; and Gulf and Western was compelled by the SEC in 1980 to agree to spend $39 million during the next 7 years funding some kind of development program in the Dominican Republic.
Around 19,000 agricultural workers were exploited by Gulf and Western in the Dominican Republican each year during the cane-cutting season between 1967 and the early 1980s. So, not surprisingly, when the National Council of Churches requested that Gulf and Western fully disclose detailed data on what its agricultural workers in the Dominican Republic were being paid in hourly wages in 1976, Gulf and Western executives refused to disclose this information.
In the early 1980s, however, "rising poverty, unassailable unemployment and inflation running at over 50 percent became the norm" in the Dominican Republic; and following the Balageur government's imposed "price hike under the IMF-induced austerity measures" on Apr. 23, 1984, street protests "spread out" from Santo Domingo "leaving the nation rocked from three days of civic protest" and with "as many as 112 civilians dead, hundreds more wounded in the streets, and over 4,000 demonstrators imprisoned," according to the 2000 book Dominican Republic: A Guide To The People, Politics and Culture.
So, also not surprisingly, in 1985 Gulf and Western sold its Dominican assets after 18 years of exploiting the country's sugar production resources. As the New York Times reported in its June 13, 1984 article, "in a move that would end nearly 20 years of involvement in the Dominican Republic, Gulf and Western Industries said yesterday that it would try to sell its sugar growing operations and holdings there" and "analysts had expected G. and W. to try to rid itself of its troubled sugar operations."
Yet "registered U.S. private investment in the Dominican Republic" still "stood at approximately $660 million [equal to over $1.2 billion in 2018] in 1990" and "a multitude of North American companies and their subsidiaries" still operated "in the country: Abbott Laboratories, Citibank, Colgate Palmolive, Esso, Falconbridge, Ford, IBM, Texaco and Xerox," according to James Ferguson's 1992 book The Dominican Republic: Behind The Lighthouse. And "almost half of all" Dominican "companies" were still "owned by U.S. or Canadian interests" in 2000, according to the 2000 book Dominican Republic: A Guide To The People, Politics and Culture.
Democracy Now! funder Moyers also participated in both a May 13, 1965 meeting with the former long-time Ford Foundation president Bundy, then-CIA official Helms and then-Defense Secretary McNamara and a May 14, 1965 meeting with Bundy that discussed U.S. policy decisions related to the Dominican Republic. And at the May 14, 1965 meeting, former Ford Foundation president "Bundy advocated having United States troops clean out the northern section of Santo Domingo," according to a declassified Johnson White House document.
As payment for his participation as President Lyndon Johnson's special assistant in the Johnson White House policy decision meetings like the April and May 1965 meetings that discussed the situation in the Dominican Republic, Democracy Now! funder and long-time Schumann Center for Media and Democracy foundation president Moyers was paid an annual salary in 1965 of $28,500 [equal to over $225,000 in 2018], according to a Jan. 17, 1965 New York Times article. And on Jul. 9, 1965, Moyers was appointed by LBJ to be his acting White House Press Secretary.
Subsequently, Moyers became Johnson's permanent White House Press Secretary and filled that Johnson White House staff position until Jan. 25, 1967. According to a Dec. 14, 1965 New York Times article, Newsweek magazine later then reported that Democracy Now! funder Moyers' annual salary from his White House gig as LBJ's press secretary was to be increased to $30,000 [equal to over $237,000 in 2018] in 1966.
But when the Johnson White House's National Security Affairs Advisor Bundy announced in December 1965 that he was resigning his White House position as of Feb. 25, 1966 to become the president of the Ford Foundation (which, coincidentally, later also helped fund the Democracy Now! show in the late 1990s and early 21st-century), a Dec. 9, 1965 New York Times article reported that "Johnson will not shift Moyers to Bundy post" because "Johnson wants Moyers free to be troubleshooter," according to the New York Times Index 1965 book. (end of part 21)
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion