US embassy cries foul

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, August 3, 2007 – Chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Roland Bullen, is urging all staffers to refrain from patronizing “the Loft”, a popular Santo Domingo discothèque. 

His comments come following a July 22 incident in which African-Americans embassy employees were denied entry to the Club. Chargé Bullen noted that the recent selective denial of entry was only the latest such action by the club.

In 2005, his predecessor, Lisa Kubiske, met with executives of several clubs seeking changes in admission policies following repeated denials of entry to African American embassy employees.

“I make this decision with great reluctance,” said Bullen.  “It is rare for an embassy to place a popular entertainment venue off-limits to its employees but we condemn such discrimination, which violates Dominican law and US norms of equal access and non-discrimination towards all”.

Bullen officially advised the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DR of his decision.

However, The Loft owners denied the claim of discrimination, telling the Associated Press: “We have no preference for (skin) color inside the club”. He added that the doorman was merely told to limit crowd size.

The charge of discrimination comes amidst constant claims by Haitians and Dominicans of African descent, that they are consistently targeted because of their ethnic identity. (