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A Graft Machine’s Collapse Sows Chaos in the Caribbean

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Hipolito Polanco was locked in a primary against President Danilo Medina in the Dominican Republic when he got a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize.

It was January 2016, and Polanco, a 39-year-old lawyer, was the last candidate still standing to challenge the president for the Dominican Liberation Party nomination. The voice on the phone was offering him a bribe and a high-ranking political position if he quit the race. “They asked me, ‘What’s your price?’” says Polanco. “They said they would arrange everything.”

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