The neighborhood of Villa Juana, in 1965, was like a breaking point. Poverty was always cute, and now that I think about it, it wasn’t that harsh. In my adolescence I belonged to the study program of La Reforma, which was implemented in the High Schools of Secondary Education in Santo Domingo. My father was a fortune teller, now lives in Washington DC, and my mother was a police officer.
In 1984 I got a scholarship to study psychology in Russia. And although I did not decline, I dedicated myself to studying criminology. Upon my return I became a lawyer and anthropologist.
So, what to say or advise future criminologists or criminology students? The key is in many parts; in the decalogues that have been published on the profile of the criminologist, in the personal lives of those who have generated knowledge of the criminological sciences.
It works for me to achieve a great cultural heritage. Read a lot and be directed by a teacher. In the projects that I have carried out, if I have been successful it is because I have worked one at a time, because there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to changing the state of things.
Criminology is an effect, thanks to the fact that criminal violence is a horizon, and we can discover the essence of the problem; something that only ends with humanity. But, in this matter, violence must be analyzed positively. Violence allows the student to question the teacher, the son to the father; and criminology is a discipline of causes and effects, not of unique causes, although they are human. If violence can be a problem of the social environment or a problem of principles, it forces us to question the authorities that manage the problem.
I met Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni in 1995. And I was fascinated by his work. Through him, I met great criminologists of his time. Some directors of criminology institutes in their countries, prison directors, and winners of the Nobel Prize in Criminology, which Zaffaroni himself won, in 2009. In the scandals in which he was accused of human trafficking and pimping, I wrote an article in his defending.
My graduate thesis in Russia was on Michel Foucault. Today I am convinced that the most important criminologist in these American lands was Alfonso Quiroz Cuarón, from Mexico, the first to obtain a degree in criminology from a university. I was introduced to criminology in my country by publicizing the unpublished works of Professor Leoncio Ramos, of which I was able to publish three in particular.
I was a friend of José A. Silié Gatón, at the UASD Institute of Criminology. In 2008, after the death of Héctor Cabral Ortega, I published his biography as a criminologist, in which I defended the thesis that it was he who internationalized Dominican criminology. In that book, more than 800 friendly criminologists strolled through its pages. Another professor of criminology, who died a few years ago, and I have also made his life known in the classrooms; I am referring to Américo Herasme Medina.
The current situation of the teaching of criminology in the Dominican Republic, how its future should be considered, the extensive bibliography that awaits us, and finally, the professional life as a criminologist, is what we should think about. Criminology is a science of why, and criminalistics of what, which is an empirical-cultural reality of judicial truth.
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Now I’ll talk about myself