In the path of the golden horde


Material Information

In the path of the golden horde tourism and rural development in a coastal Dominican community
Physical Description:
2 v. (xi, 428 leaves) : ill. ; 29 cm.
Freitag, Tilman George
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Tourism -- Dominican Republic   ( lcsh )
Rural development -- Dominican Republic   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1993.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 410-426).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tilman George Freitag.
General Note:
General Note:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002290938
notis - ALP4110
oclc - 39178144
System ID:

Full Text








The research upon which this dissertation is based was partially funded by the Inter-

American Foundation. I am grateful for their support and thank them for their critical

insights concerning my research design prior to and during my stay in the Dominican


I am especially appreciative of the help of Paul L. Doughty. Professor Doughty

supervised my graduate training at the University of Florida and was my teacher and

advisor before, during, and after my Dominican fieldwork. I owe Professor Doughty

an immense intellectual debt. I also must thank him and his wife, Polly, for making

their home so inviting to students. Their interest and concern go beyond the hallowed

grounds of academe to make sure students are nurtured socially, as well as

intellectually, and ensure that those individuals far from home always feel welcome.

I would also like to thank my committee members, Professors Anthony Oliver-

Smith, Art Hansen, Gerald Murray, and Gustavo Antonini. Their suggestions made

this dissertation a better piece of work. I want to also thank Professor Robert Lawless

at Wichita State University who made his reference materials freely available to me and

whose interest in the subject matter helped me to initiate this research project.

Many people in the Dominican Republic assisted me in various ways. I want to

especially thank Marcos Peila-Franjul at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez

Urefia who helped me initially organize my research plans to study tourism in the

Dominican Republic and who always gave me a place to stay while in Santo Domingo

during 1989. I want to thank the staff and management at the Luper6n Beach Resort for


allowing me free access to the facilities and their willingness to answer my many

inquiries. I also want to thank Larry and Marylin Boswell for the friendship they

extended to my wife and me during 1989. In addition, I want to thank Larry for his

useful information concerning maritime traditions and the local marine environment;

may the sea always be part of his life.

To the many people of Luper6n who befriended me what can I say but mil gracias.

This is their dissertation as well as mine. People so generous of spirit and full of

kindness are deserving of much more. There are many individuals in the community

who deserve special mention. I want to thank Gabriel Morrobel and his family for

making me feel so welcome when I came to Luper6n. Elida Rivera, her mother, and all

her children exemplify all the best traditions of rural Dominican hospitality. Mario and

Chulita in Cambiaso always made that community a special place for me to visit and the

information they gave me about village life is invaluable. To the members of the

Martfnez and Pilar families a special thank you. They not only gave me a daughter to be

my wife but they made me a full member of a warm and gregarious clan whose help in

my data collection was so important in the success of this project. And finally, I want

to thank Jesus Maria Santos (Chupe) for treating me like one of his sons. His

knowledge of local history, culture, economic activities, and his willingness to impart

this information to me, and his fatherly concern over my welfare, put Chupe in a special

place in my heart and memories. Many other people who contributed to my research

can not be mentioned here. To all luperonenses I say that I am indebted to them.

I want to extend thanks to the people at the Graduate School at the University of
Florida with whom I worked while writing this document. A finer group of individuals

to work with is hard to find. Special thanks are extended to Madelyn Lockhart, Dean of


the Graduate School, and Phyllis G. Schmidt, Director of Graduate Records and

Certifications, for valuing my presence and teaching me much about university


To my parents, Wolfgang and Doris Freitag, I owe an overwhelming

acknowledgment. This dissertation is dedicated to them. Without their care,

encouragement and financial assistance over the whole span of my life I would have

never progressed intellectually to this point.

To my wife, Maria Lidia Pilar de Freitag, I owe another great debt. Meeting her in

Luper6n while conducting fieldwork was the best thing that happened in my life. Her

help collecting and interpreting data while in the field and during the writing stage was

an important contribution to this work. Her sacrifice in coming to the United States,

leaving her family behind, and living the life of a wife of a graduate student was

enormous. With her by my side I always have a little piece of Luper6n nearby to love.



ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS...... ..........................................................................

LIST OF TABLES............................................ viii

LIST O F FIG U RE S....................................................................................................x

A BSTRA CT ................................................ .................................................. x


ONE INTRODUCTION. .................................................................. 1

The Community of Luper6n................................................................ 16
Site Selection: The Research Attributes of Luper6n..............................22
Preliminary Research Plans and their Evolution ................................ 24
Research Methodologies............. ....................... .......................28

ECONOMY TO ENCLAVE TOURISM ................................... 33

Introduction ................................................................ ....................33
Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory, Enclave
Development, and Transnationalism.............................................. 37
The Caribbean and its Political Economy: Living in the Shadow
of its Colonial Past........................... ........................ ......... 48
Enclave Tourism and the Dominican Republic..................................... 73

THREE A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF LUPERON'S HISTORY............................79

Introduction........................................ ............................................. 79
The Municipio in the Early Years........................................82
Luper6n during the Interim Years: 1500 1863 ......... .............. 91
The Town of Blanco and the Municipio of Luper6n: 1863 1950 100
Luper6n: 1960 1989 .......................... .........................................114
Conclusion..................................... ... 118

TO W N ................................................................................... 120

A M morning Interlude..................................................... ......... 120
An Environmental Profile of the Terrestrial Resources in the
M unicipio of Luper6n................................................................. 121

The Shape of the Town............................................................... 136
The Story of Ana M arfa.................................................................... 147
The People of Luper6n .................................................................... 149
Family Life and Gender in the Community............................... ......... 172
Economic Conditions in the Community: Traditional Ways of
M making a Living ........................................................................ 178
Conclusion..................................................................................... 202

TOURISM, AND CHANGE.................................................205

A Cold Night's W ork .........................................................................205
The Littoral and Marine Resources of Luper6n...................................206
The Social Organization of Fishing.................................................223
Harvesting Methods of the Fisher Folk .......................................228
The Offshore Fishing Fleet 236
The Offshore Fishing Fleet ................................................................. 236
The Inshore Fishing Fleet............................... .......................... ...... 242
The Shore Fisher Folk of Luper6n ........................ ................. 248
Changing Marketing Patterns in the Face of Increased Demand:
Providing Seafood Delicacies to the North Coast Tourist............ 255
Conclusions: Tourism and Local Fisher Folk ................................ 261

FACE OF TOURISM............................................................266

Sunday Evening at Armando's............................................... 266
The Resort and the Vacationers: Disfrutando al mdximo at the
Luper6n Beach Resort............................................... ............269
The Tourists......................................................................... .. 274
Attempts at Controlling Tourist Behavior by the Enclave Resort
Management: The Pampered Prisoners of Profit ..... ............ 289
The Birth of the LSLE: Conflict and Cooperation ..................... 294
The Economics of Tourism in Luper6................................. 300
Sonya and Ramona: The Benefits of Serving the Golden Horde....... 304
Tourism and Community Social Transformations...................... 309
Conclusion....... ............................ .........................................315

SEVEN SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS...........................................318
G LO SSA R Y .................................................... ................................................ 331




Introduction................................................................................... ... 347
The Municipio in the Early Years...................................................... 350
Luper6n during the Interim Years: 1500 1863............................. 356
The Town of Blanco and the Municipio of Luper6n: 1863 1950..... 384
The Invasions of Luper6n: 1949 and 1959......................... ........... 397
Luper6n: 1960 1989.................................................................... 404
Conclusion ............................................................................ ....409

REFEREN CES............... ................................................................................... 410

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................427


Table page

1 Population of Puerto Plata Province 1739 -1920....................................96

2 Number of Businesses, Government Offices, and Houses in Luper6n
by Street in 1989.............................................................................. 141

3 House Construction in the Town of Luper6n and Survey Sample............ 144

4 National and Local Holidays observed in Luper6n in 1989..................... 163

5 Land Tenure in the Town of Luper6n in 1989 ..................................... 185

6 Distribution of Land Production for largest Luper6n Landowners............188

7 Agricultural Crops Grown in Luper6n...............................................194

8 Examples of Offshore Catches................................................................. 240

9 Examples of Fishing Returns for Two Inshore Fishermen
in lbs. per species............................................................ ............246

10 Marine Commodities Prices in U.S. $ Paid According to
Location Sold........................................................ ...................... 260

11 Visitor Nationality by Tourist Season at the Luper6n Beach Resort
in 1989........ ...................................................................... ....... 275

12 Resort Guest Length of Stay and Community Economic Impact...............288

13 Population in the Dominican Republic 1500 1970...... ...................363

14 Population of Puerto Plata Province 1739 -1920.................................. 368



Figr pag
1 The Dominican Republic and Government Designated Tourist
Zones in 1989................................ ............................................. 10
2 1732 Map of Hispaniola by Charleveux including Puerto Cavallo
(Bahia de Gracias, Luper6n). Reprinted in Haring 1966:np..............97
3 Partial Map of the Municipio of Luper6n showing Town and Hotel.
M modified from original.................................................................. 124
4 The Shape of the Town of Luper6n in 1989......... .......................... 139

5 Luper6n's Inshore and Offshore Fishing Fleets' Zones of
Exploitation................................................................................... 217

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy



Tilman George Freitag

August, 1993

Chairman: Dr. Paul L. Doughty
Major Department: Anthropology

This is an anthropological study of change in a rural Dominican community in

response to the recent introduction of large-scale enclave tourism into the region.

Dominican government planners have long used the rhetoric of national development

when promoting tourism within the country. A central argument for the government in

sponsoring tourism is that the industry produces secondary growth through an

economic "multiplier" effect, whereby expansion and concurrent benefits will occur in

other traditional sectors of the economy as tourism expands.

Using a case study approach in examining the community of Luper6n and its

attempts to accommodate the intrusion of enclave tourism into its socio-economic and

sociocultural structure, this dissertation illustrates ethnographically the limitations of

tourism as a development tool in the Dominican Republic. The changes tourism has

initiated in the traditional lifeways of local fishermen, and to a lesser extent

agriculturalists and small business people, are reviewed in the context of a small rural

coastal town with no prior exposure to large-scale "mass" tourism.


The study reveals that only a small proportion of the local population, chiefly the

local elites, benefit from the introduction of the enclave tourist resort, while all members

of the community must pay the negative social costs such as inflation associated with

land speculation, loss of a sense of local control, and the elimination of privacy. In

spite of this, as the local tourist system developed, some luperonenses tried to take more

active roles in manipulating the industry for their own benefit. A small number of

townspeople organized to promote the community's rights in response to what was

perceived as a lack of equitable economic returns and social exploitation by enclave

resort management. After minor initial successes, the failure of the community

mobilization effort is linked to lack of local political support and resort management


This study concludes that a model for economic growth based on enclave tourism

alone will not provide the impetus for regional economic diversification in the

Dominican Republic. Enclave tourism has consistently been shown to integrate poorly

with existing regional industries where introduced and is not designed to promote

economic linkages at the community level. Rather, its inherent flaw is that resort

management seeks to limit the interaction between the tourists and local community to

improve their own profits.




Nature Created The Perfect Harbour, The Superb White Sand Beach,
The Breathtaking Views ...
This very same unspoiled coastline, the site of Columbus' first
settlement in the new world, graces Luperon's Ciudad Marina today.
Unique in the Caribbean, Luperon signifies the most important resort
community being developed along the Dominican Republic's north coast.
This incredible "marina city," typifies Dominican tropical splendor at its
best and is just 10 kms. from where the 1992 worldwide anniversary of
Columbus' discovery of America will be celebrated. (Luper6n Beach Resort
promotional brochure 1988).

This is an anthropological study of change in a Dominican community. One of the

most visible sources of community change appears to be the recent introduction of

tourism into the region. In 1987, an international resort hotel opened its doors on the

outskirts of the town of Luper6n. Never having been the center of attention by large

numbers of foreign tourists, the inhabitants had to adopt certain new strategies to cope

with the influx of visitors and the economic opportunities they embodied. This is a

study of how the host society reacts to the introduction of tourism. The community of

Luper6n is not unique in its responses to tourism development; rather, the adaptive

processes the inhabitants are endeavoring to establish in the face of tourism growth, I

argue, exhibit similar characteristics in numerous other coastal communities found in the

Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, and developing countries throughout the world.

The focus of this dissertation then is to illustrate ethnographically how tourism is

being incorporated into the community life of Luper6n. Tourism is steadily being


adopted by many Less Developed Countries (LDCs) as one of the mainstays of their

economies. A central thesis of tourism proponents and government planners is that

tourism promotes secondary growth in other sectors of the economy, diversifying

economies in small-scale societies such as the Caribbean that have long been

economically dependent on cash crop agriculture or the export of a few raw minerals.

My view is that all too frequently the political economy of tourism in the Caribbean

mimics the pre-existing economic relationships the Caribbean nations have had in the

past with those industrial nations of northern Europe and North America which

controlled the destinies of the Caribbean peoples for so long and when tourism is

introduced into a region today the prime beneficiaries are those industrialized nations

who control the flow of tourists and those members of the national elite who can afford

to invest in the tourism industry in the less developed tourist receiving countries. In this

way tourism growth in the region can best be viewed as a form of dependent

development or in its most negative form merely as another exploitative industry. I will

demonstrate that those Dominican communities which provide the sites for tourism

investment, the labor to support the industry's operations, and pay the social costs of its

presence, typically retain little of the economic benefits derived from tourism. These

benefits tend to bypass local communities and are siphoned into the pockets of the

national elite and foreign investors.

Dominican government planners claim that tourism development is going to benefit

the population in a region where introduced. This issue was clearly stated in

government feasibility reports compiled by the firms of Zinder and Associates (1969)
and Arespacochaga and Felipe (1970) when potential zones in the country were selected

(ALIFD 1977:116). The Dominican government has been an avid supporter of tourism

growth and its officials assert that elite controlled development in this industry will

benefit all classes and industries through a "trickle down" economic impact However,

is tourism a catalyst for positive social change in a community where only a small

portion of the population directly or indirectly is involved in tourism related activities? I

will demonstrate that in Luper6n the only inhabitants who actually benefit from tourism

are members of the national and local elite who control the Dominican side of the tourist

trade and, to a much lesser degree, the small number of townspeople who have found

full-time employment at the resort hotel or in the small tourist businesses in the town.

Other individuals in the community involved in primary economic activities such as

fishing and agriculture, for whom one would think local tourism would spark

secondary economic opportunities, I will show, reap few positive economic benefits

and are burdened with adjusting to the social transformation the community undergoes

as tourists invade. By focusing on the sociocultural and socio-economic systems of

local fishermen, and to a lesser extent on local agriculturalists and merchants, an

argument is made here that tourism has failed as a form of development because the

existing inequities in the local and regional social structure remain intact and the

traditional economic activities which employ the majority of poorer classes benefit little,

or not at all, from the introduction of tourism into their back yards.

Tourism is not a recent creation. One can argue that tourism behavior was found

among the elite classes of ancient Greek and Roman societies. The religious

pilgrimages of Christians to Canterbury, Santiago de Compostela, and Jerusalem during

the Middle Ages, or the journey to Mecca by Moslems, could be considered as a

touristic experience as well as an act of devotion by the faithful. Certainly the "Grand

Tour" popular with the English aristocracy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

should be interpreted as a forerunner of modern tourism. The nineteenth century, with

its industrialism and the creation of a network of efficient rail systems, made it

economically feasible for even the middle-class to go away on holidays to distant

locations in the pursuit of leisure and novel experience.

Several prominent anthropologists have concluded that forms of proto-tourism exist

in the majority of human societies (c.f. Grabum 1983; D. Nash 1981). Dennison Nash

makes no distinction between tourism in industrial and pre-industrial societies:

To conclude this discussion of tourism in human societies, we
should reiterate that tourism, defined as leisure activity requiring
travel, exists at all levels of sociocultural complexity. Its widespread
existence would seem to be bound up with the ubiquity of leisure and
travel. (1981: 464)

The fundamental difference between earlier forms of tourism, or proto-tourism, and that

of the latter half of the twentieth century, is one of scope. It is only in the second half

of the twentieth century that mass tourism and the all-encompassing tour package has

sprung into existence.
Tourism has often been hailed by modem international financial interests as one of

the most promising solutions to problems of revenue generation and unemployment in

Less Developed Countries. Many LDCs, having few industries and being highly

dependent on the exportation of goods from the primary sector, but with attractive

natural landscapes, view tourism as an important growth industry. During the 1960s,

the United Nations promoted tourism as a highly desired industry throughout the world.

The United Nations deemed tourism to be so attractive that it called 1967, the

International Tourism Year. Tourism is now the number one industry in the Dominican

Republic, Mexico, Barbados, Jamaica, and a host of the smaller insular nation-states of

the Caribbean.

Tourism, in the eyes of its proponents, is the "smoke-less" industry providing much

needed employment and generating revenue needed to finance other forms of

development within the host country. Its growth world-wide has been phenomenal

and, until the past decade, only the international petroleum industry earnings surpassed

it. The combined revenue of world tourism even managed to surpass those of the world

petroleum corporations during the early 1980s in gross earnings (Seward and Spinrad

1982:7). These tourism earnings are generated largely from an industry of scale

responsible for moving tourists in mass volumes. The tourist becomes a commodity in

a vast capitalistic enterprise whose repercussions on the host societies are, as yet, not

fully documented.

The debate surrounding the role international tourism has played in promoting

economic development in LDCs has polarized into two major theoretical perspectives.

Proponents of tourism cite the role tourism can play: (1) as a source of revenue; (2) as a

potential growth industry; (3) in its ability to exploit some competitive advantages (for

example, sunshine or pristine beaches); (4) in providing employment; and, (5) as a

catalyst for collateral growth in other economic sectors (Young 1973:132). Those

critical of tourism as a mechanism for development maintain that the industry has

produced limited results in promoting local economic growth and, in some instances,

has proven to cause disruption and/or destruction of existing industries within the host

country. Detractors claim that tourism is another example of dependency, but even so

they admit that often some members of the host community profit from its introduction.

However, they claim that the majority of the profits generated by the tourism enterprise

leave the country or remain to benefit only the local elites. Even the advocates of this

type of development realize that "tourism development does indeed change the economic

structure of the host country," and these effects are greater in less developed nations

(Mill and Morrison 1985:231).

The tourism of today is part of a complex global industry involving many different

entities and the metropolitan tourist is just one small cog in a vast enterprise

encompassing all corners of the world. Almost twenty years ago Harry Matthews

described the structure of this industry in the late twentieth century:

International tourism today must be described primarily as mass tourism -
the movement of large numbers of travelers from one country to another
by means of mass transport, and this involves mass hotel accommodations,
and above all, mass selling. It is precisely this quality of modernism that
makes the industry so complex and so highly political. The activity which
we call tourism has become intensely institutionalized and competitive. (1978:3)

The institutions which control the international tourist trade have compiled volumes on

tourist behavior, spending patterns, and tourist attractions. A multi-billion dollar

business, the tourist industry can be found penetrating the interior of the Amazon basin,

Antarctica, or the isolated islands of the Pacific. In smaller countries the tourism sector

is exceedingly visible and, depending on the numbers of tourists visiting, can have a

profoundly disruptive effect on the social structure of the host society.

Tourism is a market and the tourist has become another commodity dominated by

corporate capitalism (Matthews 1978:75). The tourism market is controlled by the first

world nations of northern Europe and North America and the majority of tourists come

from these areas. The tourist becomes a commodity to be bid for on an open market.

In the Caribbean, where most tourist destinations offer the same types of attractions

such as sun, sea, sand, and "exotic" tropical treats, the competition for the limited

tourist market share is especially fierce. This places the tour company in an

advantageous position whereby they will contract with those Caribbean tourist resorts

which offer the most by way of tourist accommodations for the least amount of money.

The Dominican Republic has been extremely successful in attracting large numbers of

foreign visitors; however, it has accomplished this by luring large numbers of tour

package tourists. With 14 percent of the rooms available in the Caribbean, it attracts 11

percent of all visitors to the region but manages to receive only 8.7 percent of the total

tourist expenditures (ECI 1990:29).
Tourism has managed to become the largest income generating industry in the

Dominican Republic and its growth has not yet been checked. The economic success of

tourism is especially evident when it is compared to the sluggish performance of more

traditional industries such as agriculture and mining which have been declining in

productivity since 1982. The questions needing to be addressed are has tourism met the

expectation of the government development model and, in what ways has tourism

influenced other aspects of society?

The Dominican government claimed that tourist activity would provide the impetus

for other service industries to develop or expand, and that traditional industries such as

agriculture and fishing would benefit by forming new economic linkages with a

burgeoning tourist market In other Caribbean nations it has been demonstrated that a

defacto linkage exists between tourism and virtually every other sector of the economy,

particularly construction, light industry, furniture manufacturing, agriculture and fishing

(Miller 1985:293). The problem is that these linkages tend to be tenuous in the best of

circumstances and rarely provide the growth in scale within the national economy that

governmental planners assert will be generated. Furthermore, the cost of developing a

viable tourist industry where it previously did not exist, and where manufacturing

industries are not well developed, implies the importation of a vast amount of goods

from abroad. The cost of paying for these imported goods will result in a reduction of

the benefits derived from tourism. This is referred to as the economic leakage related to

tourism. In the Dominican Republic it has been demonstrated that roughly 33 percent of

every dollar of hard currency earned from tourism left the country to finance imports

directly related to the industry, while another 15-20 percent left the nation to pay for

imports indirectly related to tourism (ECI 1990:22).

Evidence from elsewhere in the Caribbean suggests that some local groups from

traditional industries, such as fishing, can economically benefit from sales of foodstuffs

directly to tourist businesses and the tourist (Kitner 1986). However, this requires a

form of organization such as a marketing cooperative where local producers and the

tourist industry interact as equals. The tourist resorts and their clientele demand high

quality products in a reliable supply. Most individual producers cannot provide

guarantees that they will deliver goods in the quality and quantity demanded by tourist

establishments. This prevents many small producers from benefiting directly from the

growth of a tourist market, even when it is located in close proximity. Typically, it will

be the regional intermediaries and wholesalers of agricultural produce or seafood that


Metropolitan countries and their transnational companies have almost complete

control of the international tourist trade because they furnish the tourists, control the

transportation lines, and frequently exhibit an inordinate amount of control of the

industry in host nations through private ownership of local resorts (S. Britton

1982:340-341). The reliance of Caribbean nations on the whims of metropolitan

transnational corporations, and their fickle tourist consumers, lends credence to those

researchers who argue that the introduction of tourism is, all too often, another form of

dependent development. Economic leakages to metropolitan nations, caused by the

large-scale importation of consumer goods into developing nations to support the needs

of tourism, have been calculated to be so great in some Third World countries that little

more than 22-25 percent of the retail price of a tourist's holiday is actually received by

the host country (Lea 1988:13). The position the Dominican government finds itself

vis-a-vis the multinational tourist companies is one of relative powerlessness. If the

government does not acquiesce to the demands of these multinational corporations the

tourists will go to Jamaica, Mexico, Antigua, or a host of other LDC locations offering

the same fare, self-indulgent leisure activities.
One would surmise that an industry with such colossal market potential and income

generating opportunities would incite interest in the academic forum as a topic worthy of

scholarly investigation. Until the early 1970s this was not the case. The importance of

packaged mass tourism as a catalyst for culture change was largely ignored by social

scientists prior to this time with a few exceptions (c.f. Nuiiez 1963). One of the first

conferences of social scientists interested in tourism was held only in 1974 (Mathieson

and Wall 1982:159). The realization that tourism development produces profound

economic and social change where it is introduced is slowly becoming accepted as a

serious issue needing further investigation. A few social scientists have begun to pay

tourism the theoretical attention it deserves and to further our knowledge on its role in

bringing about cultural and economic change.

One issue still needing to be resolved is to categorize just what is a tourist. How

does one best define a tourist ? Most of us can quickly develop an image of what a

typical "tourist" should look like a loud Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, straw hat,

and camera; but what behavior patterns typically sets a tourist apart from others in a host

setting? A completely satisfactory definition of a tourist still eludes scholars. Valene

L. Smith defines a tourist as "a temporarily leisured person who voluntarily visits a

place away from home" (1989:1). Nash asserts that such a definition of a tourist is at

best "somewhat fuzzy" (1978:136).

Both anthropologists and sociologists have tried to categorize modern tourists in

various groups. Cohen (1972) developed a useful typology where he defined four

types of tourists: (1) the organized tourist; (2) the individual mass tourist; (3) the

explorer; and, (4) the drifter. All of these types share in common the fact that they are

temporarily leisured and visiting a location outside of normal day to day activities.

Smith further refines her typology to include such categories as "Explorer," "Elite,"

"Off-beat," "Unusual," "Incipient Mass," "Mass," and "Charter" tourists, each with

their own level of willingness to adapt to local norms (1989:12). Those classified as

"Mass" and "Charter" tourists by Smith, or the "organized" and "individual mass"

tourists by Cohen, are the focus of this anthropological study because they constitute

the majority of tourists visiting the Dominican Republic where they congregate in
enclave resorts located in governmentally designated tourist zones (see Figure 1),

isolated in gilded splendor from the often squalid reality of Dominican life surrounding

these islands of opulence, and ultimately contribute little to improvement of either the

"d's 0

quality of life of the average Dominican or to the development of the communities

situated near these international tourist destinations.

The "mass" tourist is the result of an increasingly multinational corporate approach to

tourism. These tourists are frequently not concerned with the host nation as a learning

experience; rather, they are seeking gratification of their own needs in a pleasure

periphery which provides the seven S's sun, sea, sand, sex, sights, savings and

servility.1 Whether one vacations in the Dominican Republic or in Tahiti is often

immaterial to the individual mass tourist, as long as modern amenities are available and

the price is considered a bargain. The enclave tourist resorts and "mass" tourists go

hand-in-hand when a tourism of scale is promoted by host governments of LDCs, and

the Dominican Republic is no exception.

All too often LDCs initiate this form of development strategy purely to gain an

economic advantage, not comprehending, or ignoring, the profound secondary effects,

both economic and social, this industry can have within a small nation. Economists

have produced well-documented studies on the effects of tourism on national economies

and its place in the world economy (c.f. Archer 1977; Cleverdon and Edwards 1982;

Matthews 1978). Political scientists and geographers have also made significant

contributions to the scientific study of tourism in the past twenty years (c.f. R. Britton

1977; S. Britton 1982; Pearce 1989) and sociologists have also contributed much to the

study of tourism related group behavior (c.f. Cohen 1984; Dann and Cohen 1991; de

Kadt 1979). Yet the scientific study of tourism is still in its infancy. Sound

development proposals which improve the benefits of tourism, while ameliorating its

1 The five S's were coined by Harry G. Matthews in his 1978 book International
Tourism: A Political and social Analysis. I have added two terms, sea and sand, to the
original five to reflect the coastal character typical of Caribbean tourism. Tourism
development in the coastal regions of the Caribbean far overshadow growth in other
geographical areas.

negative impact, are still being sought and innovative approaches are continually being

Anthropologists have much to contribute to the study of tourism although our

principal concerns to date have been how the host society reacts to the introduction of

tourism. The community study approach of anthropology could potentially provide

unique insights into tourist-host interaction and its sociocultural impact Following the

dictates of acculturation theory, tourism as an impetus for community change has been a

significant issue for anthropological inquiry. Nevertheless, tourism's impact on

community social structure and host populations should also be deemed an important

subject for anthropological study. Today, tourists can be found in all parts of the globe

and tourism is the largest foreign exchange generator for many developing nations.

Unfortunately, there has been a hesitancy among many anthropologists to study

tourism. Perhaps the banal superficiality of tourism detracts serious attention from its

major consequences. Yet social scientists can no longer afford to ignore the impact of
tourism; its repercussions are felt throughout society when introduced. The study of the

community of Luper6n and its responses to tourism will help to further our knowledge

of a complex industry's local manifestations, its success as a development tool, and the

social benefits and costs associated with its introduction.

In particular, tourism is almost always associated with "development" in the rhetoric

of governments, both local and national, and is described as a mechanism which

promotes positive changes, particularly economic ones, among those who are thirsty for

mobility and change. Thus, the development of agriculture, fishing, or tourism in a

region should not be promoted "in isolation independent of the other potential uses of

resources" (Field and Burch 1988:8). Nor, should they be studied as distinctly

unrelated phenomena. They are all part of a complex interrelated web of ecological,

economic, and social relationships which, when viewed holistically, merge together to

define behavioral patterns of the inhabitants. Population growth, natural resource

degradation, and increasing disparities between the rich and the poor are all important

issues each luperonense must take into account when making decisions on the type of

adaptive strategy he or she is to choose.

Therefore, tourism should not be studied as being isolated from other regional

economic activities. However, a central concern here is how well integrated tourism is

with other economic activities of the region. Does it promote the secondary growth in

other economic industries which its proponents claim and, if it does, who are the

beneficiaries of this newly created boon? It is natural in a development project

controlled by private investors that the primary beneficiaries will be those elites in

control, but a central concern of this study is to examine how the benefits derived from

primary and secondary tourism growth are dissipated throughout the community. Are

new economic opportunities available for members of all levels of Luper6n's social


Another question this study is concerned with is the ecological and social cost of

tourism. The negative social costs of tourism frequently cited, such as increased crime,

inflation, and/or the loss of local hegemony, are often not compensated by higher

economic returns among the majority of individuals in a host community (Daltabuit and

Pi-Sunyer 1990:9; Manning 1982:14). Furthermore, there is a real danger that tourism

can become an indirect mechanism for the destruction of pre-existing industries in the

host nation because "everyone is anxious to divert his or her resources to the 'carousel'

of tourism" (Yun6n 1977:75). What is the impact of this newly introduced industry on

the cultural ecology of the inhabitants? Do the most marginal of Luper6n's inhabitants

view tourism as another economic opportunity to include in their occupational

repertoire? Can tourism be interpreted as being one part of a complex adaptive strategy

commonly found in many islands of the Caribbean called occupational multiplicity?

Occupational multiplicity, described by Lambros Comitas, refers to an adaptive strategy:

wherein the modal adult is systematically engaged in a number of gainful
activities, which for him form an integrated economic complex. This
occupational multiplicity is the nexus of a socio-economic type
significantly different from that of either the peasant, farmer, or
plantation types in the West Indies. (1973:157)

Occupational multiplicity is an economic strategy being utilized by many of the poorest

luperonense households, as it is among the poor of most societies, as a method of

coping in an increasingly marginal environment. If the information cited by Dominican

planners and tourism proponents is correct, the introduction of tourism into the region

provides an additional economic option for households; providing at least one job

indirectly related to tourism for every one directly created in the industry (ONAPLAN


Finally, tourism brings up the issues of power and racism. This temporary mass

migration of people in pursuit of leisure and diversion from their "normal" everyday

lifestyles is bringing increasing numbers of people in the world, with highly diverse

cultural backgrounds, into contact at a rate never before experienced. Tourism has

become a major mechanism of culture contact in the world today:

As we enter the final quarter of this century tourism still remains
a frontier, not because it is new (it is not), but because of the
gigantic revolutions of barely half a century-in transportation
and communication, above all-that for the first time in human
history enable people of many cultures to come into direct contact
and even close association. In familiar anthropological terms
(although conflict and prejudice are endemic, too), both
acculturation and assimilation occur at an unprecedented rate.
(Brameld and Matsuyama 1978:181)

It is the nature of this contact, and its attendant cultural responses, which is of central

interest to the social scientist. Rarely can the members of a developing nation host

society decide how and when such contact will be made. They are often powerless to

stop the intrusion of the "Golden Horde" into their everyday activities.2

2 The term the "Golden Horde" was first used in 1975 by Turner and Ash in their
book The Golden Hordes. International Tourism and the Pleasure Perihery. I have
borrowed the term to refer to the "mass tourists" visiting the Dominican Republic.

With the arrival of tourism comes disruption. It may be relatively benign. Tourists

walking in the streets taking photographs do little damage. But when tourists poke their

heads into your home and photograph you cooking, weaving, or having a friendly chat

with neighbors, then the tranquility of life has been, at least marginally, disrupted.

Who would accept a stranger taking a photograph of them through their own window in

North America or Europe? This type of behavior, while shunned within our own

societies, is commonplace in LDC host societies. The member of the "Golden Horde"

coming from a developed nation may view the experience of being a tourist as a period

of licence to act otherwise from culturally perscribed norms of his or her society and

will engage in behavior that he or she would never contemplate back home. Individuals

must either learn to cope with this behavior or react by "closing off their life to

outsiders" through the erection of social or physical barriers to keep the tourists at bay

(Pi-Sunyer 1982:9).

The majority of those members of the "Golden Horde" who flock to LDC tourist

locations are middle- or upper-class whites. Not familiar with the regional distinctions,

they have a tendency to view host populations according to standards found within their

own society. Thus, to many U.S. citizens Dominicans are Spanish-speaking blacks.

The fact that the majority of Dominicans identify strongly with their Hispano-European

heritage and ignore their African heritage is lost to many tourists. To the average

Dominican black is not beautiful. Black is Haitian, backward, uncivilized, and to call

someone an African is one of the strongest of insults. People in Luper6n were abhorred

to learn that some tourists had described them as highly attractive Afro-Americans.

"Don't they realize that we are indios (a Dominican term for individuals of mixed

European, African, and remotely possible Amerindian descent) was the response on one

occasion?" Alas, all too often they do not.

These subtleties are frequently lost on the majority of tourists. They are on holiday,

a period of license from everyday concerns, and many may never have even heard of

the Dominican Republic or had any knowledge of the nation's history or culture prior to

planning their vacation with the local travel agent. Some North Americans and

Europeans come to the Caribbean to steep themselves in the "myth of black virility"

(Manning 1982:13). Acting in ways they might never dare to do in their own societies,

these tourists seek out host companions and the growth of prostitution, both male and

female, is a natural secondary effect of tourism.

This was observed even in the relatively sedate setting of Luper6n. While prostitutes

were banned from entering resort property, the resort activities "boys" competed with

each other to see how many conquests could be made. Gifts, cash, trips, and proposals

of marriage were all part of the game. Hustling and tourism go hand in hand, and as

they say in the Caribbean, "tourism is whorism," female and male (Manning 1982:14).

Manning claims this is a method of counter-exploitation which some members of the

host population utilize when the tourist industry is seen as exploitative (1982:14).

Tourism in regions where the host community participates to a large extent directly in

the industry appears "more stable, successful, and profitable than tourism controlled by

outsiders" (Callimanopulos 1982:5). Many inhabitants of Luper6n informed me that the

structure of tourism in its present form was exploitative, with few individuals in the

community besides the local elite receiving economic benefits, and felt that tourism

could be better incorporated into the economic lifeways of the community.

The Community of Luper6n

Luper6n is a small town located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic within

the confines of the Puerta Plata Tourist Zone (see Figure 1). In terms of population size

and land mass the Dominican Republic is a large country by Caribbean standards.

Located in the Greater Antilles, the Dominican Republic shares the second largest island

in the Caribbean, Hispaniola, with its neighbor to the west, Haiti.3 The land mass of

the Dominican Republic is 18,816 square miles, which in territory is slightly larger than

the states of New Hampshire and Vermont combined (Kryzanek and Wiarda 1988:5).

Population figures for the country are best considered approximations. The official

census of 1981, conducted by the Dominican government, totaled 5,648,000

inhabitants (CEPAL 1988:16). Another source concluded that in 1982 the Dominican

Republic had a population of 6,249,500 (Graham and Edwards 1984:2). Even with a

decline in the rate of annual population growth, population predictions for the year A.D.

2000 are that there will be in excess of 9,000,000 Dominicans living on the island

(Graham and Edwards 1984:2).

The small northern coastal town of approximately 3500 inhabitants called Luper6n is

located in the municipio (in the context of the Dominican Republic the equivalent of a

provincial county) of the same name within the province of Puerto Plata. The town is

located on a small, well-protected bay, the Bahfa de Gracias, considered to be one of the

best "hurricane holes "on the north coast of Hispaniola.4 Approximately twenty-five

3 The island of Hispaniola was originally named Espafiola by the Spanish colonists.
This name was corrupted into "Hispaniola" by other European powers during the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when they were considered interlopers in the
Spanish Main. Hispaniola, while technically an incorrect bastardization of the colonial
name for the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, has become the name used for the
second largest island in the Greater Antilles. In this dissertation Hispaniola will be used
when referring to the whole of the island, except for in the beginning section of Chapter
Three, where the historical development of the northern coast of the colony is
discussed. In this chapter, the name Espaiiola will be used when discussing the
province of Puerto Plata and the region of Luper6n during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and
seventeenth centuries.

4 The term "hurricane hole" refers to a well-protected anchorage offering shelter from
the severe effects of the cyclonic storms which seasonally enter the Caribbean between
July and December. When Hurricane Hugo was threatening the north coast of
Hispaniola in 1989, yachts, small cargo ships and fishing boats, some 50 meters or
more in length, came from Puerto Plata and many other locations to anchor in the
relative safety of Bahfa de Gracias. The small entrance with a northwest exposure and
protecting reefs, plus hills surrounding the bay provides an anchorage which offers
protection in all but the worst tropical storms.

kilometers to the east is the city of Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata is a major port on the

north coast and the provincial capital. This city is also the hub of the tourism industry

for the north part of the country. It is easily accessible by air, being serviced by the

Puerto Plata International Airport, and is a port of call for several cruise lines. The

tourism industry has fueled migration and the number of inhabitants living in Puerto

Plata is now over 100,000.

The north coast of the Dominican Republic has prevailing winds from the northeast

and a strong Atlantic current runs east to west sweeping near the coastline. Its coastal

ecology differs significantly from the Caribbean waters of the south coast. The coastal

shelf is very narrow, near Luper6n extending only 500 meters outward before plunging

down to great depths. The coast near Luper6n is characterized mainly by rock outcrops

and sandy beaches broken by occasional mangrove forests skirting the shore line.

Located on the narrow coastal shelf, coral reefs are the home for many neritic marine

species harvested by the fishermen of Luper6n.

The Bahia de Gracias (Luper6n Bay) is lined on all sides by mangroves. These play

a critical ecological role in relation to marine environment productivity in the Dominican


In the Dominican Republic, mangroves are essential to several
fisheries; as habitat for the mangrove oyster Crassostrea rhizophorae:
as nursery grounds for many species of coral-associated fish, the
major fishery in the country; and for shrimp in the Bahfa de Samand.
(Hartshorn et al. 1981:59)
The fishermen of the local inshore fleet rely heavily on the bait fish trapped in the bay.

Its surrounding mangroves protect and nurture the fry of the marine species harvested

by these fishermen on the outlying reefs. This same shore line is zoned for tourism


West of Luper6n, fifteen kilometers by poorly maintained coastal road, can be

found the ruins of La Isabela. This was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the

New World, founded by Christopher Columbus in the year A.D. 1494. La Isabela, or

El Castillo as it is called locally, is presently undergoing archaeological reconstruction.

Because of its prime potential as a tourist attraction and its location within the municipio

of Luper6n, La Isabela will continue to act as a catalyst for tourism growth in the

region. Already it is becoming a mecca for foreign tourists. Large-scale festivities

occurred during 1992, to celebrate the quincentennial anniversary of Christopher

Columbus's "discovery" of the New World. Many international dignitaries attended the

celebration, and tourists flocked to this historical site; one can only wonder how local

resources, both natural and human, have reacted to this influx of tourists.

Visible to the south of Luper6n are the peaks of the Cordillera Septentrional. They

are located parallel to the narrow northern coastal plain from Monte Cristi to Nagua.

Almost directly to the south of Luper6n, on the other side of the Cordillera

Septentrional, is Santiago de los Caballeros. This is the second largest city in the
Dominican Republic and a major marketing center for Luper6n. Most crops grown in

Luper6n are sold in the markets of this city. Most agricultural producers in Luper6n sell

their crops to intermediaries (camioneros) who purchase the crops at the farmer's gate

and then transport them to wholesale and retail markets in Santiago (c.f. La Gra 1983;

Norvell and Billingsley 1971). Local colmados orpulperfas (small stores) also

purchase small quantities of local crops, but local demand is too low to absorb any

significant portion of local production. The majority of the merchandise sold in the

town stores is purchased from wholesalers and retailers in Santiago and transported into

the region. Basic foodstuffs such as wheat bread, corn meal, and spaghetti are also
transported into the region since there are no bakeries, food processing plants, or grain

mills in the municipio.

The focus of economic life in Luper6n has traditionally been in primary sector
activities. The traditional agricultural focus of Luper6n is reflected in the fact that the

town's patron saint is San Isidro Labrador. San Isidro Labrador, whose feast day is the

15th of May, is considered a patron saint of farmers (Muiioz 1979: 147). Agricultural

work employs the majority of people in the municipio. Cattle-raising is an important

occupation for the local elite. Livestock, maize, cotton, sugar, and recently sorghum,

are produced by the larger landowners in the region.5 The small farmers produce

tobacco, peanuts, plantains, sweet manioc, beans, pigeon peas, and various fruits.

Some members of the poorest households, those that have no land or only a small plot,

do wage labor for the larger landowners in the area when it is available. Rural day

laborers, of both Dominican and Haitian ancestry, work long hours during the peak

sugar, maize and lime harvesting seasons, but wage work is difficult to encounter near

Luper6n during the agricultural off season from April to September.

The town of Luper6n is the center of the municipio's social and economic life.

Historically, it functioned to service the needs of agriculturalists living nearby. Such

basic services as a medical clinic, dental clinic, hardware stores, veterinary services,

and tool repair can be found here. In the town local farmers can obtain credit through

the branch office of the Banco Agricola; here, too, they can obtain credit privately

through personal connections with various local merchants who offer this service. The

town is also the center for all municipal offices and the only secondary school servicing

the municipio is located in the town. Within the town can be found the only Catholic

church in the municipio with a priest in permanent residence. There are also the

churches of several different Protestant sects. The religious needs of the rural

5 Cotton once was an important crop grown in the region. Grown on small and
middle sized farms in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it later was grown in
two locations in Luper6n on large plantations controlled by members of the Trujillo
family. When Trujillo was assassinated the State took over control of these cotton
plantations and they came under the jurisdiction of the Secretariat of State for
Agriculture (SEA). Cotton production was SEA controlled until 1991 when these
plantations were closed. The land has since been redistributed in 1991 and 1992 in
plots averaging sixteen tareas to individual Luperonenses by President Balaguer.

population of Luper6n are served by the sporadic visits of lay ministers representing

various denominations both Catholic and Protestant. For the devout in need of weekly

administrations, a trip to the town to worship is mandatory.

As a coastal town with a good harbor, fishing and shipping have played an

important, albeit minor, economic role in the life of the community. The harbor serves

as port for several ocean-going fishing vessels, many smaller coastal fishing boats, and

a navy corvette. However, because of a narrow entrance and relatively shallow bay

which is only eight meters deep at its maximum, boats entering the harbor are by

necessity limited in size and draft. Municipal dock facilities presently consist of one

concrete pier. The tourist complex called Ciudad Marina also has a small marina located

in a protected arm of the bay on the west side which was functioning in 1989. In

January 1992, the resort marina was in poor repair and at that time not functioning. For

almost 500 years the harbor was legally closed to all but Dominican vessels, but in

August 1990, it was opened to international shipping. On a visit to the harbor in

January 1992, nine foreign yachts could be seen anchored in the bay.

Fishing has always provided some luperonenses with an alternative to agriculture.

For landless individuals, or for those individuals with too small a parcel of land to

support a family, harvesting the marine resources off the coast of Luper6n meant food

for subsistence and an alternative source of income. The sea's resources have always

been an integral part of the local economy. Full-time fishermen are not numerous in the

municipio, but many coastal inhabitants rely in part on the natural resources of the sea to

make ends meet.

It will be chiefly through the lives of these fishermen, both part-time and full-time,

that the collateral effects of tourism will be reviewed most closely in this ethnography.

However, some data from agriculture and local commerce will also be presented to

show that tourism has relatively little positive economic impact in many aspects of

community life. Tourism on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is a form of

coastal development. The introduction of this industry brings fishermen,

agriculturalists, other members of the coastal population, and tourists into direct contact

and, sometimes, competition over access to the natural resources the terrestrial, littoral

and marine environments of the region provide. The goal of this research was to

discover if, and to what degree, the introduction of tourism provided increased income

and employment opportunities for individuals working in traditional regional

occupations. As mentioned before linkages exist between tourism and virtually every

other sector of the economy. These linkages with agriculture, construction, livestock

raising, etc., tenuous as they may be, also exist in Luper6n. However, time and

funding limitations made it necessary to focus chiefly on one economic activity and I

chose to examine if tourism provided a new market for the fishermen of Luper6n and in

what manner, if at all, did these industries articulate with each other.

Site Selection: The Research Attributes of Luper6n

During the summer of 1986, I went to the Dominican Republic for the first time to

investigate possible communities as sites for my doctoral research on maritime

adaptations, tourism, and culture change. I selected the Dominican Republic's northern

coast as the primary location for my research because of an interest in its unique

historical relationship with the economic centers of northern Europe and North America

and its relatively recent entrance into the tourism industry. Large-scale tourism

development had only been introduced in the Puerto Plata area in 1978. Existing

literature indicated that fishing cooperatives and associations were actively being

organized in this region through the auspices of both international and national

development agencies to provide marine products for both international, national, and

regional markets. One of my hypotheses was that the chief beneficiaries of any

increased availability of marine products at the regional level would be those enterprises

catering to tourist palates.

The first goal was to locate a community which met specifications in three areas.

The first criterion was that the community had a group of inhabitants involved in

maritime resource exploitation. Furthermore, plans included locating a community

where some of the fishermen were organized into a fishing cooperative, fishing

association, or, at least, in the process of coalescing into such an organized unit.

Thirdly, the ideal community should be located within the governmentally designated

Puerto Plata-North Coast tourist development zone, but one that was still undeveloped

or only in the incipient stage of tourism development. Finally, the community should

be sufficiently small so that preliminary research could be completed by one researcher

in a single year.

I rented a motorcycle and began a five week tour of the coastal communities on the

north coast of the country looking for a suitable research location. Traveling from the

western port of Monte Cristi near the frontier with Haiti, passing through the already

bustling tourist locales of Puerto Plata and Sosia, my voyage took me as far east as the

isolated town of SamanA visiting many potential sites. Sometimes stops in various

locations lasted for a few days, sometimes for a few hours, but at the end of the trip,

after visiting numerous coastal communities, I knew that I had found the community

where my research was going to be conducted. It was in the town of Luper6n where all

my criteria were met and, as I later discovered, it had some hitherto unknown benefits.

The beneficial aspects of selecting Luper6n as my research community over other

potential sites came to the fore upon my return to the United States. During a

discussion of my findings with my college at the University of Florida, Manuel

Vargas, he mentioned that he spent two years living in the community while working

for the Dominican government as an agronomist. His knowledge of the community and

personal contacts with local individuals were to greatly facilitate my entrance into the

social life of Luper6n. His help proved invaluable and I am deeply indebted to him.

Preliminary Research Plans and their Evolution

My original research design was to examine to what degree the local fishermen were

economically articulated with the newly introduced tourism resort in Luper6n. Plans

had been made to investigate if membership in the Fishermen's Association contributed

to the improvement of the socio-economic status of fishermen and if members of the

Fishermen's Association were benefiting more from the introduction of tourism than

non-members. Also, initial plans had been to find out if being affiliated with the

Fishermen's Association improved the quality of life among its members.

Another issue central to my investigation was to study the marketing patterns of the
newly organized Fishermen's Association. Was this organization improving marine

protein availability in local markets, or was most of the marine harvest being directed

elsewhere, such as the local tourist establishments? Finally, the social context of

fishing within the community was to be studied since very little has been published on

the fisheries of the Dominican north coast, or on the relationship between households

deriving their livelihood from fishing and their place in the social organization of a

Dominican community.

Fishing in the Dominican Republic is perceived as a low status occupation. In

general, fishermen are viewed as being part of the lowest rung of the social hierarchy in

the Dominican class structure (Krute-George 1978:14). In a marginal socio-economic

environment, those members on the lowest rung of society, according to the findings of

Comitas, will seek out a variety of occupations because many do not have land to farm

and the few that do have holdings too small to rely solely on agriculture (1973:160). In

her study of Dominican fishermen in the southwestern region of the country, Eugenia

Krute-George tested Comitas's hypothesis that the amount of time invested in fishing

would be dependent on the the types of work opportunities available onshore


In Jamaica, Comitas concluded that fishing, since its demands are more flexible than

agriculture or wage labor with regard to time and labor allocation, was the occupation

most likely to be adapted to meet the schedules of the other economic activities an

individual was engaged in (1973:169). In the Dominican Republic, Krute-George

discovered that onshore work opportunities for fishermen were extremely limited, in

part because of their low social status (1978:15-16). She concludes that a correlation

exists between the amount of onshore labor available and the number of professional

fishermen in an area.

The less terrestrial work available, the greater the numbers of individuals devoting
themselves exclusively to fishing (Krute-George 1978:17). If this was true on the north

coast as well, one could predict that some of the most marginal fishermen in Luper6n

would take advantage of the increased number of jobs the introduction of tourism would

provide, and either give up fishing or delegate it to a secondary occupation in favor of

the higher wages tourism work would provide. This was another issue I planned to

examine closely while in the community of Luper6n working with the local fisher folk:

Were fishing individuals choosing to work in the tourist industry rather than the more

arduous task of making a living from the sea and, if they were, how many were able to

take advantage of this new opportunity.

Since 1967, the development of marine fisheries has been implemented by the

government of the Dominican Republic as part of a coordinated effort to improve the

country's food production. I planned to examine the impact of a governmentally

stimulated increase in the use of mechanized fishing technology introduced in the town

of Luper6n. More specifically, the plan was to discover to what degree increased

mechanization resulted in improvements in the socio-economic status of the fishermen

involved and if this newly introduced mechanization had stimulated an increase in the

availability of affordable marine proteins in the local and regional markets. If

mechanization had not improved local income and protein availability, I hoped to

identify causal factors which had frustrated stated governmental intent.
The introduction of mechanized fishing vessels has had serious economic and social

repercussions in various fishing communities in the Caribbean. George Epple

demonstrated that the introduction of mechanized fishing fleets in Grenada contributed

to the following: (1) an expansion of the traditional fishing zones; (2) changes in

harvesting patterns; (3) a shift in the production and marketing structures from rural to

urban centers; (4) a shift from subsistence-oriented to a mixed subsistence-commercial

fishery; and finally, (5) a shift in the pattern of ownership whereby nonfishing

entrepreneurs came to dominate the industry (1977:181-183). In Grenada, as elsewhere in

the world, one consequence of fisheries development was the "proletarianization" of

the majority of local fishermen (Acheson 1981:306).

Epple demonstrated that mechanization can result in improved earnings for those
fishermen able to invest in modern technology, but in certain circumstances it also leads

to the overall reduction in the numbers of independent owners employed in the industry

(1977:185). This has potential negative impact on the first of my dependent variables -

local income derived from marine adaptive strategies. Elsewhere in the world studies

have illustrated that attempts to develop artisanal fishing fleets by introducing

mechanized boats and more efficient gear frequently had the secondary effects of

increasing local unemployment (c.f. Alexander 1976; Flores 1973; McGoodwin 1979).

Several studies conducted in the Caribbean region of government sponsored

development plans to increase artisanal fishing efficiency through mechanization

produced similar conclusions (Berleant-Schiller 1981:224; Flores 1973:17).

Available literature also suggested that marine protein availability in the local market

place would be negatively affected by increased mechanization and by the development

of a local tourism industry. This is likely to occur because market restructuring are

likely in the wake of both mechanization and a growing tourism demand for these

products. It has been demonstrated that traditional market systems make significant

contributions in meeting consumer needs at the regional or national levels (Forman and

Riegelhaupt 1970:189-190). Subsistence-Commercial Market theory suggests that

during a period of transition from subsistence to commercial market systems traditional

interpersonal relationships are destabilized (Forman and Riegelhaupt 1970:189; Stoffle

1986:22). Middlemen are replaced by wholesalers and the important distribution

functions of the local intermediaries with local retailers and consumers are no longer

operational, resulting in a paradoxical scarcity of marine products despite higher yields

of the biomass harvested. In one documented non-Caribbean case, increased

mechanization and the development of a commercial fleet resulted in a dramatic decline

in the local availability of marine proteins among coastal populations and, thus, on the
nutritional status of those affected (Keddie 1971:25).

Two social scientists have gone so far to say that the introduction of mechanized

fishing techniques "have not for the most part improved significantly the levels of living

of artisanal fishing households and have often worsened their position" (Lockwood and

Ruddle 1976:12). The appropriateness of a fishing technology cannot be assessed

solely in terms of its higher biomass extraction from the sea. Ideally, for this higher

biomass extraction to be considered truly beneficial for the parties involved the

development plan which initiates this increased harvesting must also find solutions for

local sociocultural problems. This is often the ignored part of the equation for

development, whether it be in a fishing community or an agricultural one (much of this

applies equally to agriculturalists). Short-term economic gain can often destroy the

livelihood of many individuals as overexploitation destroys local marine populations.

As one Caribbean maritime researcher noted, traditional Caribbean fisheries provide

more employment and place less strain on existing stocks than the newly introduced

commercial ones (Berleant-Schiller 1981:224).

Two major problems in the Dominican Republic are unemployment and protein

malnourishment (Bell 1981:189; Norvell and Billingsley 1971:398). If more fish are

being harvested from the sea, but unemployment and protein deficiencies are increasing,

then one can infer the presence of serious organizational shortcomings in the

introduction of this form of development if it is meant to address these issues. It is also

important to demonstrate to what market this marine produce is going. In his study of

Dominican household food consumption, Philip Musgrove found that as household

incomes rise less of the total income is spent on seafood. He concludes "that although

the luxury seafood items such as shrimp may take a rising share of the food budget and

even the total budget, the bulk of fish and shellfish consisting of dried or salted codfish

and herring are increasingly replaced by meat and poultry as incomes rise (Musgrove

1985:92). If the chief market is the tourism sector, one can view this form of

development as helping to promote better linkages between the primary sector and this

industry, but such growth may occur at the expense of the nutritional status of the host

population. In the case of agricultural food production, tourism development has been

shown to have a similar negative effect on local production with fertile land being taken

out of production to meet the needs of the tourism industry (c.f. Urbanowicz 1977).

Research Methodologies

Arriving in Luper6n in the beginning of 1989 planning to study whether or not

tourism, as the rhetoric of the Dominican government planners implied, really could be

considered a form of development in a regional context, I found a town vastly different

from the one visited previously. On the outskirts of town, two kilometers by dirt road,

an ultra-modem luxury resort hotel with all the conveniences catering to an international

clientele had been constructed. Responding to new market opportunities, many stores

in town displayed signs advertising gift shops. Gift shops had been nonexistent in the

community in 1986. Another surprise was that the Fishermen's Association had never

been organized. Naturally, this destroyed my planned research methodology involving

the socio-economic and sociocultural changes occurring among the fishermen in

response to governmentally sponsored mechanization and tourism. A new research

design had to be re-conceptualized rapidly to meet the new scenario.

The interest and confidence of the fishermen in the creation of a Fishermen's

Association, with whom I had talked in 1986, had been misleading. While I had talked

to several Luper6n fishermen at that time, I learned in 1989 that those individuals with

whom I had conversed during my previous visit had all been artisanal fishermen from

the inshore fleet The majority of them had been in favor of the development of a

Fishermen's Association. However, many of the other fishermen in the port had never

expressed interest in, or had actively opposed, the development plan during preliminary

organizational meetings. Opponents to the development of a Fishermen's Association

were unerringly the owners and captains of boats from the offshore fleet. Reviewing

this information, one important issue which demanded my current attention was to

examine why the Fishermen's Association failed to be adopted.

The distinction between offshore fishermen and the inshore fishermen seemed to be

an organizational division worthy of investigation. Originally, plans had been made to

examine the impact of a governmentally stimulated increase in the use of mechanized

fishing technology and how membership in the Fishermen's Association differentiated

individual members socio-economically from fishermen who were nonmembers The

more one learned about the context of local fishing, the more the importance of fleet

membership came to be recognized. My original investigation plans to study

mechanization and its impact on the dependent variables of "Quality of Life" and

"Marine Resources Harvested" were easily modified by substituting "Fleet

Membership" for the originally conceived independent variable "Organizational


"Fleet Membership" is defined by whether the individual fisherman specializes in

harvesting the inshore coastal zone near Luper6n or is a member of the offshore fleet

which is chiefly concerned with fishing the distant offshore banks. Membership in one

or the other of these two groups will be shown to have repercussions in the type of

fishing techniques used, income, marketing patterns, and the degree of perceived and

material satisfaction individuals have as fishermen. The offshore and inshore

fishermen, while all harvesting marine resources, view themselves as being quite

distinct in their socio-economic and sociocultural lifeways.

During the course of the year I spent living in the community of Luper6n many

research strategies were employed. My primary research techniques was the use of

participant-observation. I fished with the inshore and offshore fleets, visited conucos to

see how gardening was done, observed the ranching methods of large land-owners,

played dominos, worshipped, celebrated, and mourned with the inhabitants of Luper6n.

I was invited to meetings of various local organizations and welcomed into many

homes. The generosity and patience displayed by members of the community to my

persistent questions was magnanimous. I want to especially thank my wife Maria Lidia

Pilar de Freitag for her help in collecting data, especially her insights and her data

focusing on women's roles in the community, and for her ceaseless patience with my

often impatient inquiries. Her intimate knowledge of the community and inhabitants,

coupled with her native interpretation of local events, added a dimension to my research

that I could never have obtained by myself.

Participant-observation techniques were also employed in the study of the tourists

and the Luper6n Beach Resort. In the course of my research I played the role of tourist,

worked as a tour guide for one of the local businesses, and passed several days as a

paying guest at the Luper6n Beach Resort hotel. Tourists were interviewed by

standardized questionnaire format and, more importantly, in open-ended interviews

where much useful information on tourist perceptions and behavior was obtained.

During 1989, I conducted a business census in February and another one at the end

of the year in December. A sample of the town's inhabitants were also asked questions

utilizing a structured household questionnaire. I surveyed all occupied houses in the

community noting their method of construction and the various types of amenities

available. From the 663 occupied houses recorded in the community, a representative

sample of 58 households was drawn based on housing categories composed of

variations in construction materials used for floors, sidings, roof materials, and the

number of rooms per house. Random sorts were made to draw households to be

interviewed in a representative number per category.

In addition to working with the fishermen on various boats and recording

information on harvested stocks at the town dock, the majority of Luper6n's fisher folk

were interviewed by structured questionnaire format (53 individuals out of a known

population of 68). Efforts were made to interview all fisher folk from the offshore

fleet, inshore fleet, and shore fisher folk. However, due to a number being in jail for

smuggling contraband this proved to be impossible. Many members of the luperonense

fisher folk were also interviewed using an open interview format.

Employees of the Luper6n Beach Resort hotel were interviewed at length in open

interview format Members of the hotel staff from the managing director to chamber

maids were included in these interviews designed to record information about the

benefits and costs of working in this local industry. Over the course of 1989, 312 hotel

guests were also surveyed using a structured questionnaire. With the help of the

director of the hotel and the various representatives from the tour agencies, it was

possible to obtain representative samples of organized tour guests at the hotel based on

nationality, tourist season, gender, and length of stay. These guests composed the

majority of the hotel's clientele. Efforts were made to include nontour guests staying at

the resort. However, due to problems of contacting such individuals opportunistic

sampling of these individuals was necessary.

Numerous other community members had an opportunity to discuss with me their

views on tourism in the community and life in Luper6n. Local political, business

individuals, medical professionals, etc., were interviewed at length concerning their

views on the future of the community and how tourism has affected and is likely to

affect the lifeways of the inhabitants. For those readers interested in learning more

about the methodology employed, and the problems encountered while collecting data in

the field, I direct them to Appendix A where a more detailed account is given.

During my stay I became close friends with many of the local residents and, indeed,

married one. Several of these individuals, besides my wife, I interviewed regularly in

more depth about local history, activities and beliefs I did not understand, and about

sensitive issues that some inhabitants were reluctant to convey. I am especially indebted

to these luperonenses and want to give special thanks. The friendships developed while

in Luper6n conducting research are a bond that will endure.



I begin this chapter with an overview of the various theoretical approaches to

development. A brief review of modernization theory, dependency theory, and the theory

of articulation are necessary to understand the role tourism plays in a Caribbean socio-

economic context Emphasis is placed on the "enclave" model of development and

transnationalism, with specific emphasis on their historical role in the plantation economy

of the Caribbean. The similarities and differences the tourist industry has in its socio-

economic structure with the host society will be reviewed in comparison to the more

traditional economic activities of the region which were shaped by the historical roots

linked to a plantation economy. To this end, the second part of this chapter focuses on

the historical formation of the Caribbean plantation economy, its socio-economic legacies,

and the traditional adaptations of rural Caribbean peoples and in particular, the Dominican

people. Finally, I will provide an outline of tourism development in the Dominican

Republic from an historical perspective, showing how its model of tourism development

was conceptualized by policy-makers as a tool for regional growth, and the ways it has

been implemented.

The arrival of Columbus in the Caribbean terminated the millennia of separate

biological and cultural development of the peoples in the Americas. With catastrophic

results on the demography and traditional cultural patterns of the "New World"


Amerindians, this contact initiated by Columbus also produced important cultural and

biological transformations in the Old World (c.f. Crosby 1972, 1986). The year

A.D. 1492 is so often used as an historical reference point to mark the beginning of the

expansion of Europe outward, not just to the Americas, but to all corners of the globe.

In the space of just three centuries, the European powers were to influence, if not outright

control, the economies of most regions on earth and incorporate them in what Immanuel

Wallerstein has labelled the "modern world system" (1974:15).

Actually, some Europeans nations such as Portugal had already been expanding their

imperial influence before this date, creating colonies and trading enclaves in the Azores,

Madeiras, and the western coast of Africa decades earlier. The feudalism of medieval

Europe was slowly being discarded and a new mode of production, capitalism, whose

roots were already developing in parts of Europe prior to A.D. 1492, but were as yet not

fully formed, began to slowly penetrate outward in the following centuries from the

European continent to produce economic linkages of global scale (Wallerstein 1974; Wolf
1982). Of all geographical regions in the world, the insular Caribbean can be considered

the epitome of the European colonial and imperialistic experience and, while some

political and economic freedom certainly has been achieved by most Caribbean societies

today, the legacy of a long colonial domination has placed severe limitations on the type

and structure of economic growth in the region.

These limitations have kept the Caribbean nations producers of raw materials, both

minerals and agricultural produce, while the metropolitan centers have retained continual

control of the manufacturing process, leaving the Caribbean nations, by and large, at the

mercy of fluctuating global prices. I argue that tourism, as another regional export, is

limited by the same constraints facing the more traditional economic activities of the

region, relying on unstable foreign markets and serious global competition from other

poor developing nations that have similar resources to offer at their tourist destinations.

As such, as long as the "Golden Horde" comes from the developed northern nations of

North America and Europe, and as long as the bulk of goods used by this industry in the

region must be imported, local tourism will be dependent on factors outside the control of

regional governments. In this manner, at the international level Caribbean tourism will

mimic the set of economic relationships already developed for other insular products.

Tourism growth, so dependent on the health of the first world nations economies, will

have boom periods and suffer periods of severe stagnation. Just as the agricultural

commodities such as sugar and coffee which made this region of "Plantation America" so

desirable in the past, tourism, too, is forced to compete with other world regions offering

the same product. If prices are lower elsewhere, or if the economies in the tourist

sending nations are in decline, tourism in the Caribbean will suffer.

If one wants to understand the socio-economic structure of the present-day insular

Caribbean, comprehension of the historical manipulations of the European colonial

powers and their Caribbean policies from A.D. 1492 onward might provide useful

insights. Europeans transformed the Caribbean basin into a production zone based on

monocrop agriculture and the extraction of raw minerals. The commodities extracted

from the region were then used to supply a global economy whose centers were based in

the industrialized cities of northern Europe.

Beginning during the early colonial period dominated by mercantilism, and later

characterized by the intensification of production during the eighteenth and nineteenth

centuries which is a hallmark of capitalism, first the Spanish, then the Dutch, French,

British, Danes, Swedes, and finally, the United States, all have sought to control and

manipulate the natural and human resources of the Caribbean region. In doing so they

concern themselves little with the welfare of its inhabitants, except in those cases when it

affects their own political and economic interests. For these European, and later, North

American nations, the Caribbean was a region to exploit, to extract wealth, to make one's

treasure; however, these earnings were destined to be invested elsewhere. In this sense

the region is not unique, other areas such as Africa, Asia, and mainland America also

have experienced the impact of European colonialism, but the Caribbean was the region

where colonialism first came to be imposed over a vast population of people and where it

endured the longest.

The foundations for the economic, political, and social growth of the Caribbean were

laid on the sweat, sorrow, and deaths of millions of Amerindians, African slaves, and

other indentured peoples from many different ethnic and geographic backgrounds. They

were forced to produce primary sector goods for metropolitan markets located thousands

of miles away and were uprooted from their homes, often against their will, and

transported over large distances to provide the labor necessary to make the plantations in

the Caribbean productive.

Is the political economy of the Caribbean so different today? Are the societies any less

polarized or segmented by the chasm between the rich and the poor, and those of dark

skin and light? The insular nations of the Caribbean still rely heavily on their mineral and

agricultural exports for revenue. Tourism, that hailed and lauded industry for developing

countries, whose potential economic growth statistics look so enticing, and whose net
economic and social benefits are, at best, questionable, plays an interesting economic role

in the region. Does it provide a viable road for economic diversification and growth, or

does it mirror the other already existing economic, political, and social structures found in

the Caribbean.

In relation to the highly industrialized nations of northern Europe and North America,

most Caribbean nations and territories are still economically underdeveloped. V.S.

Naipaul, the famous Caribbean social critic, has gone so far as to refer to the Caribbean

as the "Third World's third world" (1973). Most of the Caribbean islands, with a few

notable exceptions, are still heavily dependent on economic relationships with European

and North American nations. Furthermore, in the Caribbean basin there is still little inter-

island commerce and economic interaction globally with other developing nations is

purely in its incipient stages.

Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory.
Enclave Development. and Transnationalism

Modernization Theory

Development is a specific type of directed culture change that addresses more than

increasing the biomass harvested by agriculturalists or fisher folk. The introduction of

new technology does not inevitably improve the lives of the intended beneficiaries,

especially if vested interests are allowed to interfere (Kottak 1978:491). Development

must be viewed as a mechanism which results in the solution of local problems-

technological, structural, and psychological, while safe-guarding the means of production

(environment and labor). Keeping this in mind, I agree with P.I. Gomes' definition of

the objectives of Caribbean development as being: (1) increased incomes for populations,

accompanied by equitable distribution of the benefits derived from this income; (2)

expanded production and productivity with corresponding increases in employment

opportunities; and, (3) maximizing the participation of the population in decision-making

processes affecting the control of the social services and the economic resources of the

region (1985:xv). While Gomes was writing specifically about development in rural

areas, I believe the goals he defines apply equally well throughout the society. How this

development can be achieved, or if it can be achieved, has been approached from several

different theoretical paradigms.

The modernization model of development promoted in the 1950s and 1960s by North

American and European intellectuals viewed the world as being divided into "traditional"

and modern societies each with contrasting sets of values which determined the

behavior of individuals and level of development for societies. An inherent belief of

modernization theorists was that "traditional" societies could develop through a series of

transitional stages into "modem" societies through the diffusion of values and

technology. W.W. Rostow even went so far as to claim that:

It is possible to identify all societies, in their economic dimensions, as
lying within one of five categories; the traditional society, the preconditions
for take-off, take off, the drive to maturity, and the age of high
mass-consumption. (1960:4)

Another modernization theorist, Lerner, eschewed the notion of five stages, arguing

instead that societies could be considered as one of three types; "traditional,"

"transitional," or modern (1964).

Lerner proposed that societies which chose a path to modernity are societies which

show "empathy" for modern ways and that these "transitional" societies "exhibit higher

empathetic capacity than in any previous society" (1964:51). Relying heavily on

diffusionist models, modernization theorists viewed development as a process of socio-

economic and psychological change towards types of systems and values prevalent in

Western Europe and North America. The evolution of these "traditional" societies into

"modern" ones would follow progressive stages similar to those undertaken by western

Europe and North America (Eisenstadt 1966:1).

Structural-Functionalists, such as Talcott Parsons, who strongly influenced much of

the development/modernization theory of the 1950s and 1960s, viewed underdeveloped

societies as not yet having achieved sufficient capital, the values and/or motivations, or

the skills needed to "take-off" (1951). While rejecting unilineal evolutionary theory at

one level, these early moderizationists, nonetheless, viewed development as a

progression from an earlier underdeveloped society to a developed one. This was to be

achieved through the diffusion of ideas and technology from the already industrialized

nations. Manning Nash views "modernization' as "the growth in capacity to apply tested

knowledge to all branches of production" and that a society is in a state of "modernity"

when it uses "the application of science to the processes of production" (1984:6).

Modernization theorists believe that by promoting modern (i.e., Western) values through

education, by introducing democracy into underdeveloped societies, and by injecting
sufficient capital into these nations, the prerequisites for developmental "take-off" can be


Those who critiqued modernization theory inevitably rejected its implicit notion that

LDCs are somehow at fault for their backwardness because their socio-economic and

value systems inhibit growth. The dependency model was proposed by Latin American

scholars who were dissatisfied with the existing theories of modernization disseminated

by North American and European economic theorists. Rather, the early Latin American

dependency theorists viewed Latin America and the Caribbean region as important

examples of how the modern world system, centered in western Europe and North

America, had restructured geographical regions outside of Europe and North America into

peripheral economic zones. The role of these peripheral zones was to supply the
developed regions with the necessary primary goods, agricultural products and raw
minerals, to support these developed nations' industrial complexes and feed the wage-
laborers working in the manufacturing enterprises.

Dependency Theory

Dependency theory actually originated among a group of rather conservative Latin
American sociologists and economists who were strongly influenced by The Economic

Development of Latin AmePrca d it Principal Problems (1950), an early work by Rail

Prebisch who was Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), a

regional center of the United Nations which was located in Santiago, Chile. In

opposition to modernization theorists, Prebisch and later Latin American dependency
theorists rejected the assumption that LDCs would progress through the same stages of

development as those of the Europe and United States. Dependency theorists postulated
that the earlier development of capitalism in Europe and the United States had subsumed

control of the world capitalist system, making it difficult for other regions to control their

own destinies. This being the case, the world was divided into metropolitan industrial

centers and their satellite economies. The industrial giants of the first world limited the

type of development opportunities available in the LDCs; in their own interests the already

industrialized centers favored those industries and agricultural concerns which produced

primary export goods needed by Europe and United States (Cardoso 1972; Cardoso and

Faletto 1973; and Frank 1967). For instance, Cardoso and Faletto wrote:

It has been assumed that the peripheral countries would have to repeat
the evolution of the economies of the central countries in order to achieve
development. But it is clear that from its beginning the capitalist process
implied an unequal relation between the central and the peripheral economies.
Many "underdeveloped" economies-as is the case of the Latin America-were
incorporated into the capitalist system as colonies and later as national states,
and they have stayed in the capitalist system throughout their history. They
remain, however, peripheral economies with particular historical paths when
compared with central capitalist economies. (1972:23)

The dependency theorists believed it was the fault of the already industrialized nations

that the LDCs were underdeveloped. They believed that the historical origins of

dependency in the LDCs could be traced back to colonial times. During the early period

of colonial expansion, the LDCs were organized by the metropolitan nations to produce

food and materials for the already industrialized core centers. Thus, the LDCs came to

occupy a peripheral place in the global economy. Industrial development was scorned by

the colonial metropolitan centers because the colonies were to be markets for the goods

produced in western Europe and North America. Within the societies of these peripheral

nations the labor and excess production of the peasantry was harnessed, with the

complicity of the local comprador elites, to meet the needs of these metropolitan nations

(Frank 1967:34). Frank, one of the most renowned dependency theorists, claimed that

because LDCs were so economically dependent on their trade with the metropolitan

countries, and their own internal economic growth was so intrinsically linked to that of

the metropolitan centers, that development of the peripheral nation's economy could only

occur at the discretion of the metropolitan nations (1967).

The Theory of Articulation

Born in a reaction to modernization theory, dependency theory was also rejected by

many scholars. They felt that dependency theory placed too much blame on external

economic forces, while ignoring the variety of internal modes of production which co-

existed with capitalism. A mode of production is, in its simplest configuration, the

combination of the forces of production with the means of production. Eric Wolf further

defines a mode of production as "a specific, historically occurring set of social relations

through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills,

organization, and knowledge" (1982:75).

The early dependency theorists tended to reject the notion that capitalism could exist in

conjunction with other indigenous modes of production. Both Wallerstein and Frank

claimed that the penetration of capitalism was complete in all societies of the world.

Certainly from a global perspective, capitalism is the dominant mode of production in the

modern world system. However, other social scientists have documented that several

modes of production can exist, and even thrive, side-by-side with capitalism.

Anthropologists such as the French Structural-Marxists, Dupr6 and Rey (1973), and

Meillassoux (1972) demonstrated that in LDCs capitalism has not yet subsumed all other

modes of production. Rather, various modes of production often can be linked with the

capitalist mode of production in a symbiotic relationship. In his work in Peru, Norman

Long describes four main noncapitalist modes of production existing with capitalism.

Long wrote of his work in Peru that "several modes (both capitalist and non-capitalist)
will normally be found to co-exist within the same agricultural zone" (1977:97).

Proponents of the theory of articulation accept the notion that capitalism is the

dominant mode of production throughout the world. However, the fact that other modes

of production have successfully resisted the complete penetration of capitalism, has

provoked several theoretical interpretations as to why. Long's thesis was that co-

existence, at least temporarily, was mutually beneficial for those involved in various

modes of production:

the existence of other modes of production (both capitalist and non-capitalist)
affords the peasant family operating predominantly under a smallholder
system the means by which it can acquire supplementary income or
additional resources to cover various production and non-production
expenditure. On the other hand, the hacendado or capitalist farmer also
benefits from this arrangement for the continuance of a smallholder mode
ensures that he can obtain a supply of temporary peasant labour when he
needs it. (1977:101)

Long's thesis is supported by the work of Bryan R. Roberts. Also examining rural

modes of production in Peru, Roberts concludes that the partial penetration of capitalism

allowed a large share of the reproduction cost of the labor force to be the burden of the

workers themselves, thereby reducing the costs to the plantation and mine owners


Long pointed out that the theory of articulation is particularly useful in understanding
the multi-structural nature of developing countries' economies (1977:101). Eric Wolf
criticizes dependency theorists because they ignore the social transformations peripheral

regions undergo during the penetration of capitalism as being relatively unimportant and
subsumed into finite definitions of those who produce surplus, proletarianss," and those

who take this surplus for their own gain "capitalists" (Wolf 1982:297). Both Mintz and

Wolf argue that it is important not to ignore the social environment that markets and

capital naturally operate within (Wolf and Mintz 1957:381).

Roberts says that the central flaw of the dependency school is the following:

One of the persistent weaknesses of dependency theory has been its
inability to take into account adequately the internal processes of capitalist
transformation in Latin America. These internal processes, though
determined, in the last instance, by the movements of international capital,
possess their own logic of development and account for some of the
contradictions in the contemporary political and economic situation of
Latin America. (1976:126)

This observation should not be limited to just Latin America. Studies in Africa, Asia, and

the Caribbean, too, have shown that the penetration of capitalism is far from complete in

many nations. That the ultimate goal of capitalist development will be the elimination of

all other modes of production may be true, but it is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable

future. For now, improving the benefits derived by rural populations from capitalism,

and minimizing the dislocations caused by its penetration into existing social formations,

should be of central importance to development planners.

Transnationalism and Enclave Industries

Scholars rejecting the views of dependency theorists claim the argument that countries

are "dependent" on others says little about the type of exploitation, or the benefits

derived, from this "dependency." For instance, it is clear that Canada relies heavily on

trade with the United States to keep its economy functioning, but it is certainly a

developed country. In a recently published book by Robert Reich, The Work of Nations

(1991), the author argues that economics and its role within the nation-state has

transformed noticeably since the 1960s. In the international market place, the past

philosophy of competition was that "one nation's economic success was sure to come at

the expense of another's" (Reich 1991:29). However, this philosophy is changing with

the growth of the large multinational conglomerates who know no national boundaries

and have little to gain financially by identifying strongly with nationalistic ideology,

except to cement the loyalty of consumers who still identify a company as producing an

"American," "German," or "Japanese" product, and to utilize national trade laws to

maximize their own profits.

Reich argues that the future of business is in consolidation and transnationalism in the

realm of research and production. He believes, however, sales will still be promoted

within a nationalistic framework:

That such institutions are becoming decentralized webs of contractors,
subcontractors, licensees, franchisees, partnerships, and other temporary
alliances-spun by small groups of strategic brokers-has not dimmed
consumer loyalty, because consumers are largely unaware of the

transformation. A product with a GE trademark is assumed to be 'made'
by General Electric in the traditional sense of GE employees under the
control of GE managers in GE factories. The reassurance itself is a
tradeable commodity. (Reich 1991:106)

In today's global economy, a product frequently is a combined effort of many individuals

and companies working together. While in numerous countries national governments

levy tariffs, stipulate quotas on foreign imports, and still attempt to bolster national

products in the face of stiff foreign competition, the global market place is becoming

dominated by corporations which are difficult to identify as belonging to one nationality.

The thesis of transnationalism is that within the national economies of various

countries, developed and underdeveloped, a small elite group of society is emerging

which is reaping the majority of benefits derived from economic growth.

Transnationalism can be viewed as a neo-dependency theory, whereby certain segments

of each society are better able to integrate into the modem world system, and they benefit

from this relationship. Other classes in these societies are left outside the system

completely, or because of a lack of education, are reduced to performing only the most

menial of jobs in an increasingly technical work-place.

It is interesting to note that Osvaldo Sunkel, an early proponent of dependency theory,

and Robert Reich, trained as a neo-classical economist, hold many of the same views on

the rise of transnationals and their importance in the world economic system. Sunkel

believes that the rise of transnationals has resulted in the following:

From such a perspective of the global system, apart from the distinction
between developed and underdeveloped countries, components of
importance can be observed:
a) a complex of activities, social groups and regions in different countries
which conform to the developed part of the global system and which are
closely linked transnationally through many concrete interests as well as by
similar styles, ways and levels of living and cultural affinities;
b) a national component of activities, social groups and regions partially or
totally excluded from the national developed part of the global system and
without any links with similar activities, groups and regions of other
countries. (1973:146)

Sunkel may be overstating the issue of isolation, since even the most isolated rural

community will have some interaction with the national elites, but his argument that

benefits from increased interaction with a global economy will not be equally distributed

throughout society cannot be denied. Furthermore, he argues that the growth of

transnationals, and the "transnationalization" of segments of LDC societies, results in the

"improvement of wages of qualified personnel and a relative stagnation or decline in the

wages of unskilled labor" (Sunkel 1973:144).

The relationship between transnationalism, multinational corporations, and enclave

industries is a close one. A preferred model for multinational corporations to conduct

business in LDCs is to set up business as an enclave indFstry. Enclave industries are

foreign owned enterprises utilizing local resources and labor, often paying the national

government little more than an low annual fee for leasing these resources, and having

virtually no other structural connections with the host government. Raw materials or

manufactured goods produced by these industries are for export, not internal


Caribbean nations, such as the Dominican Republic, have played hosts to many

enclave industries. With huge financial resources to draw from multinational

corporations gain enormous economic advantages from LDCs and often give the host

nation little in return except what is necessary to mollify the local officials needed to

support their local operations. During the twentieth century, enclave industries emerged

in the Caribbean dealing principally with mineral-export and sugar production. However,

recently tourism has been introduced as a form of enclave industry in parts of the

Caribbean. The Club Med (Mediterranee) tourist resort with an all inclusive vacation

package at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is but one example of tourism where hosts

and guests never meet except in the confines of the worker-guest relationship.

A perfect example of an enclave industry was the Gulf and Western Corporation

industrial complex in the Dominican Republic. The Gulf and Western Corporation's La

Romana sugar plantation and subsidiary industries in the Dominican Republic were

governed as a State within a State. La Romana was a tax-free zone administered, policed,

and physically separated from the rest of the country by barb-wire fences and company

guards. Dominicans and Haitians working within the La Romana complex had little

ability to organize and the Dominican government found it virtually impossible to collect

its fair share of taxes from Gulf and Western (Black 1986a:67). Gulf and Western was

not the only culprit. They had purchased their Dominican interests from the South Puerto

Rico Sugar Company in 1967, which had formerly run their operation in much the same


Girvan, in his study of the petroleum and bauxite industries, found that the economic

organization of these industries within the Caribbean contributed to "(i) economic

dependence, (ii) the enclave nature of the industry, and (iii) the failure of the industry to

generate transformation in the host economy, even where the State succeeds in capturing

a large part of the surplus which it generates" (1973:19). The subsidiary firm in the

Caribbean [of a multinational corporation] is much more dependent on the parent firm,

and has its principal transactions with it, rather than with the host society outside its

enclave (Girvan 1973:20). The very nature of the enclave industry is that it has little

integration with the host society. Demas writes "that development, if it means anything,

means that production-functions are constantly changing and that capital is being

constantly accumulated in all sectors and all regions" (1965:14). Furthermore, he states

that since the enclave economy does not distribute its returns among all sectors of society

this type of economic system cannot be considered as a form of development (Demas


Similarities between the enclave structure of mineral-export industries in the Caribbean

and tourism industries is evident. In LDCs, much of the tourist industry's growth has

been sponsored by "large-scale companies based in north America and western Europe,

and the bulk of such tourist expenditure is retained by the transnational companies

involved" (Urry 1990:64). Bargaining from positions of strength, these transnational

companies seek vulnerability and will opt to settle in those nations which give them the

most beneficial treatment or from whom they can exact the greatest advantage. Thus, the

host society's benefits from tourism are frequently minimized and local tourism becomes

typified by an enclave structure. Demas warned Caribbean nations against relying too

heavily on tourism as the sole road to development as early as 1965:

It is true that tourism is highly income-elastic, but it depends so largely on whim
and fashion that it would not be prudent in countries where it is possible to
develop manufactures to place hopes entirely or largely on this industry.
... In my judgment tourism does not develop the capacity to transform (all
sectors of society) to the same extent. On the other hand, there may well be
certain small countries which have great natural advantages for tourism and little
for manufacturing industry, and in such places the concentration on tourism may
be the only feasible alternative. (1965:60)

The Caribbean is one of the least diversified economic regions in the Americas.

Dependence on monocrop agriculture and the mining of a few minerals, little arable land

devoted to the production of subsistence crops for the national population, high
population densities, few manufacturing industries, and the reliance on imported fuel

have limited the development of the region. There are individuals that believe the

Caribbean will always be economically dependent on other regions of the world and,

because of this, development opportunities are limited. Girvan has written there is an

"implicit view that structural dependence in the Caribbean is conditioned by some
'natural' variable such as size, and is therefore inescapable to some degree," and that this

viewpoint "has exerted a powerful influence over economic thought in the region"

(1973:6). Certainly, for some of the smallest island states of the Caribbean tourism is

one of the few options available to national planners. However, for the larger countries

in the region it is but one possible choice among many available. So why has alternative

economic diversification been so difficult to achieve for those larger nations in the region?

To understand this issue important historical and cultural factors must be clarified so that

the present day structure of the Caribbean nations and their relationship within a modern

world system is recognized as part of a legacy of five centuries of exploitation by those

nations which are now releasing the "Golden Horde" to go forth on their hedonistic

pilgrimage of pleasure seeking.

The Caribbean and its Political Economy:
Living in the Shadow of its Colonial Past

The Contact Period

The Caribbean has undergone a complete transformation during the past five hundred

years since Columbus first made landfall somewhere, as yet not precisely determined, in

the Bahamian archipelago (Wilson 1990:43). Some knowledge of the history of the

Caribbean region, and how this history was largely influenced by decision-makers

thousands of miles away across the Atlantic in Europe, is useful to understanding many

of the problems facing the region today. The Caribbean was the first region in the

Americas to be conquered. Its lands were totally divested from the ownership of its

original inhabitants by their annihilation. The almost complete extermination of the

indigenous peoples permitted the European colonizers "to work out the problems of

settlement, adjustment, and development to a very large degree as if the Antilles were

empty lands [author's italics]" (Mintz 1971:23). These lands were divided by the

conquering European powers who often bitterly contested ownership among themselves,

with some islands and their inhabitants often exchanging political overseers several times

during their colonial history, as the balance of power in Europe shifted over the centuries.

Of all the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean at that time of conquest, of which
three groups are clearly identified-the Taino, the Guanahatabey (also called the Ciboney),

and the Island-Carib, only a few remaining Carib now living on Dominica and the

transplanted Black Carib of the Caribbean littoral of Central America, survived the assault

on their islands by the rapacious conquistadors and colonists coming from Europe

(Deagan 1988:193). In A.D.1492, when Columbus first landed on Hispaniola, the Taino

were a densely settled, sedentary stratified society (Deagan 1988:196). Today, of those

Taino living in the Greater Antilles at the time of contact, we have only a cultural legacy

of archaeological sites, some of their vocabulary and place names adopted by the

colonists, and the continuing cultivation of many of their traditional crops which were

incorporated into the cuisine of their European and African successors. These hapless

Amerindians were the first victims of Caribbean colonialism. According to some

scholars, as many as several million are believed to have died in the first two decades of

contact on Hispaniola alone (Sauer 1966:200-201). To quote Eric Williams, "it has been

said of the Spanish conquistadors that first they fell on their knees, and then they fell on

the aborigines" (1970:30).

Not only the Amerindians of the Caribbean were negatively affected demographically
by the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous ecology of the region has also been

transformed by the colonial experience. While Old World diseases played a significant

role in the elimination of Caribbean indigenous population, introduced plants, animal

species, and human endeavors have altered the ecology of the Caribbean dramatically
from that first encountered by the Spaniards in the late fifteenth century. The virgin

forests have all but disappeared to supply timber and make room for agriculture. In their

place can be found flowing fields of sugar-cane in the lowland plantation zones, coffee

plantations, small farms, and ever diminishing secondary growth forests in the uplands.

On those islands most densely populated, hillside erosion is a major problem, washing

away vital topsoils and further diminishing the amount of arable land available for the

small farmer whose produce is so important in helping feed the local populations.

The Caribbean as a Culture Area

Anthropologists have long argued whether or not the Caribbean should have the

distinction of being classified as a culture area separate from Latin America. One of the

classic arguments against it being studied at all by anthropologists is that its indigenous

people, the traditional focus of the ethnologist, have long been vanquished, with the

exception of the few thousand Caribs previously mentioned living on Dominica. As

fewer and fewer hunting/gathering and tribal peoples remain in the world, the focus of the

anthropologists has naturally broadened to include the study of peasantries and their role

in a larger political entity, the nation-state. But should the poorer rural peoples of the

Caribbean actually be defined as members of a peasantry, or are they better classified as

some type of hybrid, neither members of a peasantry, nor fully members of a rural

proletariat class within a larger capitalist system?

What becomes apparent as one studies the Caribbean societies and cultures is that they

share many similar cultural traits, even though they have had different colonial masters,

speak different languages, and are politically distinct entities. Not withstanding the

important ecological ones which made this region so attractive for monocrop agriculture,

this can be attributed to several factors. They are: (1) the social legacy of the plantation

economy with its attendant stratified local society; (2) similar historical processes-albeit in

different historical periods; and, (3) a system of subservient international political-

economic relationships developed during a long colonial history when these societies

were considered only important for the primary export goods they sent to European

metropolitan markets. With the coming of political independence in the latter part of the

twentieth century, most Caribbean nations are still dependent on this trade to supply the

majority of their manufactured goods, and rely on the traditional primary sector

production of agricultural and mineral products of their nations to pay for these imported


The cultures of the Caribbean are examples of historical syncretistic development.

Even though European cultures had political control, the cultural milieu of the region has

cultural traits which can be traced to Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and, of course, the

Americas. This is not to say that Caribbean societies are merely reflections of other

societies; rather, that many cultural attributes surviving the harsh trans-Atlantic journey in

the holds of slave-runners full of human cargo from Africa, on the ships full of

indentured servants from Europe, India, or Java, and even those introduced from Europe

by members of the plantocracy, were "creolized" in the face of the particular problems

within Caribbean societies. Furthermore, many Amerindian cultural practices, especially

agricultural crops and farming practices, were incorporated into the lifeways of their

African and European successors and continue to be practiced today (Mintz 1985:136).

The Caribbean and Plantation America

One of the dominant forces which shaped the structure of present-day Caribbean

societies was their long association with plantation production. The plantation system

determined, to some degree, what cultural traits were to be found in Caribbean colonial

societies (Mintz 1985:128). The plantation was a highly organized system which led

Edgar T. Thompson to refer to it as "military" agriculture in his excellent book on the

plantation system called Plantation Societies. Race Relations, and the South: The

Regimentation of Populations (1975). It was the plantation, with its need for reliable

labor supplies, control of the most fertile lands within easy access to local ports, an

international market for its commodities, and its demand for large-scale capital

investment, which helped shape the socio-economic structure of the insular Caribbean

into what Charles Wagley has called "Plantation-America" (1957:12).

Wagley divides the New World into three distinct cultural spheres: Euro-America,
Indo-America, and Plantation-America. Euro-America is centered in both the northern

and southern temperate zones of the hemisphere and is pre-dominantly European in its

cultural composition. Indo-America, located from Mexico to northern Chile along the

Andean cordilleras, is populated by peoples of Indian and mestizo heritage and culturally

is an area where Amerindian culture has contributed significantly to present cultures

(Wagley 1957:4-5). Wagley's definition of Plantation-America is a broad cultural sphere

geographically contained within the following regions:

from about midway up the coast of Brazil into the Guianas, along the
Caribbean coast, throughout the Caribbean itself, and into the United States.
It is characteristically coastal; not until the nineteenth century did the way of
life of the Plantation culture sphere penetrate far into the mainland interior,
and then only in Brazil and the United States. This area has an environment
which is characteristically tropical (except in the southern United States)
and lowland. (1957:5)

In his definition of the Plantation-America cultural sphere, Wagley delineates some

basic features common throughout this region: (1) plantation systems and emphasis on

monocrop export agriculture, (2) multi-racial composition, (3) social stratification based

on rigid class distinctions, (4) a weak community structure, (5) a peasantry primarily of

Afro-American descent replacing the Amerindian peoples, and (6) prevalence of the
matrifocal type family. Moreover, he outlines other common cultural features which he

refers to as an "incomplete list": (1) a similarity of food crops, (2) reliance on slash and

burn horticulture, (3) local markets and women marketeers (the higgler or huckster), (4)

similar culinary tastes, (5) basic commonalties in musical patterning, (6) African derived

folklore, and (7) Afro-American religious sects (1957:9-11).

Wagley does not deny that this is only a broadly based list of cultural traits found

ranging widely throughout the cultural sphere of Plantation America. In his seminal

article he notes that there are definite regional variations which should be explored further

by social scientists:

It is, of course, a fact that there are important differences between
the southern United States, the Caribbean islands of Spanish, French,
Dutch, Danish and English colonial backgrounds, and northern Brazil.
Detailed local studies are obviously necessary and will provide the only
basis for understanding the distinctive societies and cultures within this

larger culture sphere. Yet, our local studies must be seen in relationship
to this larger sphere which historically, and in the present, shares certain
basic institutions and cultural patterns. (Wagley 1957:11)

Caribbean tourism, as any other sort of cultural phenomena within the sphere of

Plantation America, would be likely to exhibit certain features with a wide-ranging

regional patterning, while displaying certain culturally differentiated variations at the local


The Caribbean, states Sidney Mintz, should more accurately be termed a "societal

area," rather than a "cultural area" (Mintz 1971:19-20). His position is that societies in

the Caribbean "share many more social-structural features than they do cultural features,"

and the Pan-Caribbean cultural attributes can be considered the result of "parallels of

economic and social structure and organization, the consequence of lengthy and rather

rigid colonial rule" (Mintz 1971:20). Mintz places emphasis on the similarity, or parallel

historical poesses each island underwent as part of a general colonial experience, rather

than the fact that many of the islands are interconnected by shared, historically related,

cultures [ author's italics] (1971:20). He lists the following nine features which exhibit

commonalty throughout the Caribbean:

(1) lowland, subtropical, insular ecology; (2) the swift extirpation of native
populations; (3) the early definition of the islands as a sphere of European
overseas agricultural capitalism, based primarily on the sugar-cane, African
slaves, and the plantation system; (4) the concomitant development of insular
social structures in which internally differentiated local community organization
was slight, and nationally class groupings usually took on a bipolar form,
sustained by overseas domination, sharply differentiated access to land, wealth,
and political power, and the use of physical differences as status markers;
(5) the continuous interplay of plantations and small-scale yeoman agriculture,
with accompanying social-structural effects; (6) the successive introduction of
massive new "foreign" populations into the lower sectors of insular social
structures, under conditions of extremely restricted opportunities for upward
economic, social, or political mobility; (7) the prevailing absence of any ideology
of national identity that could serve as a goal for mass acculturation; (8) the
persistence of colonialism, and of the colonial ambiance, longer than in any other
area outside of western Europe; (9) a high degree of individualization-particularly
economic individualization-as an aspect of Caribbean social organization.
(Mintz 1971:20)

Mintz specifies that some of the nine features he lists "might be considered 'causes' and

others 'consequences'," but he makes no attempt in this article to determine "causality"

among the features cited (1971:21). However, later in his career Mintz clearly agrees

with Wallerstein's view that the Caribbean was an important part of a "modem world

system" after its "discovery" in A..D. 1492. Its economic role was to be a peripheral

region producing a surplus of agricultural commodities for consumption by inhabitants of

the world system's core region (western Europe and later North America) and the

dominant economic pattern of this production was the plantation (1977).

Sugar and Labor in Caribbean Development

It was the Spanish who first introduced both sugar-cane and plantation production to

the Caribbean (Mintz 1977:255). After gold began to become harder to obtain in Santo

Domingo, and because there was a growing market for sugar in European in the

beginning of the sixteenth century, production of this commodity was adopted by many

of the Spanish colonists of Hispaniola. Production of sugar was labor intensive. Just as
this crop became economically important on HIspaniola, the Spanish colonialists were

forced to abandon first the repartimiento system, and then the encomienda system. Both

of these systems had bestowed on individual Spaniards the right of trusteeship overseeing

Indian labor, religious instruction, and tribute delivery. Organized by these systems to

form large labor pools, the Spaniards used Amerindian labor until the catastrophic decline

of the Amerindian population made finding alternative labor supplies a necessity (c.f.

Moya Pons 1971; 1977).

The labor situation became acute in the Caribbean during the sixteenth century. By the

middle of the sixteenth century imported labor became imperative for the well-being of the

Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. The production of sugar necessitated having a

sufficient supply of laborers and by A.D. 1518 the early plantations of Santo Domingo

began to rely on enslaved Africans as the principal source of labor for the plantations

(Mintz 1977:255). Why were African slaves selected as laborers for the Caribbean

plantation economy? Wallerstein provides a logical argument:

Because of the exhaustion of the supply of laborers indigenous to the
region of the plantations, because Europe needed a source of labor
from a reasonably well-populated region that was accessible and
relatively near the region of usage. But it had to be from a region that
was outside its world-economy so that Europe could feel unconcerned
about the economic consequences for the breeding region of wide-scale
removal of manpower as slaves. Western Africa filled the bill best.

A plantation, in order to function, demanded a large supply of capital for land and

technology, as well as a reliable source of cheap labor. Both Mintz (1974) and Williams

(1970) have shown that the relationships between the subjugated Afro-American peoples

and the dominant white Caribbean plantocracy exhibited a wide range of variation. This

differentiation of slavery systems was based not on Protestant North European cultural

values versus Catholic South European values as Tannenbaum postulated (c.f.

Tannenbaum 1947). Rather, this differentiation could be attributed to the particular

demands of a plantation economy at a particular level of economic intensification.

William Law Mathieson, whose research was conducted earlier than Tannenbaum's, gave

little credence to the hypothesis that the severity of slave systems could be predicted by

the existence of either northern or southern European cultural values:

Spanish slavery in the West Indies was a century older and lasted
considerably longer than that of any other European power. It began
and it ended as probably the worst in the world; but there was an
intermediate period, happily of great length, during which its reputation
for mildness was fully deserved. (Mathieson 1926:34)

Slavery should not be considered as a phenomenon which manifests itself in one

form. Its historical usage is varied and found in a range of social formations (Mintz

1977:257). The original labor force in the Caribbean came not from Africa, but from

Europe (Williams 1970:95). In both the Spanish, and later, the British and French

colonies, convicts and indentured laborers were the first immigrants to the region.

Contemporary opinion at the time hoped that these European indentured laborers would

fulfill the needs of the emerging plantation systems. It was the increasing

industrialization and intensification of the plantation system, producing sugar, coffee,

cotton, tobacco, and indigo, which transformed the unfree labor force of the islands into

mere chattel. In the Caribbean there was undeniably a "linkage between the prevailing

type of economy and the general treatment of the slaves" (Hoetink 1985:62).

Sugar had been introduced into the Caribbean by Columbus on his second voyage in

A.D. 1493. Initially, Spanish sugar found a welcome market in Europe and by A.D. 1518

the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean were producing sugar as their main commodity for

export. It is interesting to note that the sixteenth century was the only period in the

history of Santo Domingo when the number of slaves was greater than the number of

freeman. For instance, in A.D. 1546 there were approximately 5,000 freeman and 12,00

slaves (Moya Pons 1986:46). This corresponds with the colony of Santo Domingo's

early boom period when its major export commodity sugar was in great demand in

Europe. Sugar's profitability allowed for the vast expenditures necessary to maintain an

economic system in Santo Domingo based on slavery. However, by the mid-sixteenth

century Portuguese sugar produced in Brazil was being sold much cheaper in Europe and

sugar production on Hispaniola began to decline. Brazil's soil fertility, proximity to a

cheap supply of labor (West Africa), and shorter distance to the European markets

allowed it to out-compete Spanish sugar. The Portuguese were able to control the

European sugar market for the latter half of the sixteenth century.

The loss of Hispaniola's dominance in the sugar trade was, in part, the result of the

Spanish Crown's desire to monopolize all the trade with its Caribbean colonies. Legally,

the Crown held the exclusive right to control trade and shipping with the colonies. It

taxed all merchandise sailing to and from the Caribbean excessively and the only

European port legally open to exports from the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean was

Seville (Williams 1971:54). Another important factor in the decline of Hispaniola's sugar

industry was that the Portuguese controlled the slave trade. Prices for slaves were much

higher for Spanish planters than Portuguese, which resulted in higher production costs

for Spanish sugar. The Spanish form of mercantilism placed a burden on the struggling

Spanish planters of the Greater Antilles. As Eric Williams aptly put it, "the Spaniard cut

off his nose to spite his face" (1971:52).

It was not until the French and British established colonies in the Lesser Antilles

during the early seventeenth century that the Caribbean sugar industry again gained

ascendancy in the world market. At the time the sugar producing area of Brazil was

undergoing a power struggle between Dutch and Portuguese colonists. Both the Dutch

and Portuguese wanted control of the rich sugar-cane lands of northeastern Brazil and,

while both parties were occupied fighting one another, sugar production in the region was

drastically reduced.

The first British and French immigrants trying to develop colonies in the seventeenth

century Caribbean introduced an economic and political system which differed little from

that found existing at the time in their home countries. The first colonists were yeoman

farmers cultivating small plots of land in a manner similar to the production methods they

had previously used in Europe. At first these early British and French colonists tried to

cultivate tobacco as a cash crop. Tobacco, a plant native to the New World, had been

introduced into Europe by Columbus. Its use had spread throughout Europe despite

various authorities attempts to curtail its use. Produced on relatively small farms, the

labor needs of the tobacco farmer were quite different from those required for the

production of sugar.

In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the British and French colonists in the

Lesser Antilles also tried cultivating cotton as a potential cash crop. Unfortunately, the

European market for both Caribbean tobacco and cotton was slight (Dunn 1972:53). Due

to the limited size of the Lesser Antilles, after the initial period of colonization by the

British and French when land was easy to obtain, it became progressively more difficult

to recruit freemen as volunteers to go to the colonies. Dunn, in his study of the early

British plantation system, observed that while land was available volunteers were easily

recruited as laborers for Barbados (the first British colony in the Caribbean). These

laborers hoped, upon finishing their obligations, to have a chance of obtaining their own

tracts of land:

These young people bound themselves to four or five years of labor
in the tropics for the adventure of it, or in hopes of getting farms of
their own. Barbados servants were supposed to receive ten acres
apiece when their indentures expired, but there was soon no land for
them. Their choice was to try one of the less congested Leeward
Islands, or return home, or stay as wage laborers in Barbados.

These British and French "interlopers" were forced to turn, just as the Spanish had done

before them, to involuntary sources of labor. Indentured servants, or engages, as they

were referred to in the French colonies, became harder to recruit. To offset this shortage,

more convicts were "barbadoed," or sentenced, to servitude in the Caribbean tropics.

Also, another method of recruitment of labor was to kidnap victims from coastal regions

of Europe and ship them to the Caribbean colonies where they were forced to work in the

fields cultivating tobacco and, later, sugar-cane (Williams 1970:96-98).

By 1650, there was a glut of tobacco on the European market. The quality of

Caribbean tobacco was not favorably received in Europe. Compared to the quality of

tobacco supplied by the colonies in North America, Caribbean tobacco was of poor

quality (Dunn 1972:53). Initially, the populace of the British and French colonies were

not composed of big planters; rather, they were composed of small farmers living a

subsistence based economy (Dunn 1972:49). Between 1640 and 1643, the production

of sugar rapidly became the pre-eminent cash crop in Barbados. Dunn lists several

reasons why it was adopted so rapidly by the landowners of the colony:

The island was (and is) far better suited to sugar than tobacco; once
the planters discovered the knack, they grew cane of high quality
and bountiful yield. The timing was perfect, for no other Caribbean
island as yet produced sugar for the European market, and Brazil
was a battleground between the Dutch and the Portuguese. The

Dutch obligingly showed the English how to process the cane,
supplied them with African slaves on easy terms, and sold their
product in Amsterdam at generous prices, because sugar was still
a very scarce and much desired commodity. (1972:62)

With the introduction of new methods for its planting and rendering introduced by the

Dutch in the 1640s, sugar became a highly profitable commodity. Tobacco and cotton

were quickly delegated into second-class products, only fit to be raised on those lands not

considered suitable for the production of sugar-cane. Tobacco would hold its own in

North America. There, as time went by, its production would become intensified and it,

too, would become a plantation crop dependent on the use of slave labor (Wolf

1982:196). However, in the British and French Caribbean by 1643, King Sugar had

arrived in the region as the economic mainstay.

Sugar Hegemony and Alternative Develoment

The introduction of the plantation system seriously constrained the growth of
alternative economic activities (Mintz 1985:129). On the smaller islands, such as

Barbados, where land was limited, the growing power of the local sugar plantocracy,

frequently financed with capital raised back in England, bought up most of the remaining

free lands making emigration necessary for all subsequent generations seeking lands

(Dunn 1972:88). For the most part, this resulted in the European yeomen being quickly

replaced by a few large landowners who actively consolidated the best lands on each

island into large plantations. On those plantations that permitted slaves to cultivate their

own gardens could be found the origins of today's Caribbean "peasantry." Mintz prefers
to refer to these slaves cultivating small plots as members of a Caribbean "proto-

peasantry," and it was this small-scale slave production that replaced the earlier peasant

tradition of the European yeoman in all but a few of the French and British islands


From its conception in the sixteenth century the plantation system of the Caribbean,

with its reliance on the production of primary sector goods, was inherently dependent on

the fluctuations of the world economic system whose core was located in Europe and

North America. Eric Williams, the late Caribbean historian and Prime Minister of

Trinidad, also pointedly blamed the plantation system, with its historical influence over all

sectors of insular society, as responsible for the existing social structures found in the

region today and for existing race relations. He outlined three determinants of race-

relations in the Caribbean: (1) economic [property-owner versus laborer]; (2) political

[declaring that the State's function was to protect existing property relationships in each

society]; and, (3) the prevalent theory of race at the time (Williams 1957:54-55).

Even in his early writings Williams clearly placed determinacy on the hegemony of the

plantation system and its reliance on imported labor as an explanation for the social

features found in the region today. He argued strongly that the long hegemony of the

plantation system produced a region economically dependent on the fluctuations of

external markets. For this, he was harshly criticized by Tannenbaum:

There is an implicit indifference to tradition, custom and mores
(his italics), and a sort of denial of the place of customary law and
the role of religious belief in the way men deal with one another
that I find difficult to adjust to the things I know. There is a theory
of human nature imbedded in this paper and other things that
Dr. Williams has written which seems to me to be wrong. The
dubious assumptions of social malleability, of the easy bending of
cultures, and of human fluidity and individual separateness as if
man stood outside the local society, the group, the caste, the order,
the guild, the church, the family, or as if these were of little importance
to the individual or the society in which they occurred....
This is but one intellectual quarrel I have with Dr. Williams.
There are others, especially the seeming acceptance of the theory of
economic determinism as the infallible tool of social investigations
and interpretation. This is not the place to elaborate on the thesis
except to say that no unilateral theory of social causation is acceptable
as the explanation of the infinitely complex and contradictory features
that describe man in his dealing with others and with nature. (1957:61)

What Tannenbaum objected to in Williams's writings was his emphasis on the

dependent economic relations the Caribbean societies had with the metropolitan centers

and his belief that this relationship was responsible for the internal structure of the insular

societies. Tannenbaum may have been correct to argue that Williams's focus ignored

inter-island variations. However, as a culture area the Caribbean was transformed

completely, unlike any other region in the world, by the colonial experience. Under

colonialism the region's central purpose was to produce raw materials for the industrial

centers located in Europe and, as such, was highly dependent on the metropolitan centers

for most manufactured goods and even many of the foodstuffs consumed on the islands.

Historically, the Caribbean islands were primarily agricultural enterprises devoted to

fulfilling the economic objectives of outsiders and their own development never took

precedence over the needs of the European markets (Mintz 1985:138). The planters of

the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries quickly realized that it was more profitable to

import food than to take valuable sugar lands and use them to produce foodstuffs to feed

the slaves. The "salt-fish and tinned-milk tradition" in the Caribbean is unequivocally

linked to the reliance on a plantation economy (Williams 1970:449). The modern

Caribbean countries have yet to met the agricultural production needs of even basic


Since the best lands were used in the production of export crops,
the production of other foodstuffs for local consumption was
relegated to poorer lands in small parcels which were highly
dispersed. The consequences were low production at high cost,
and high marketing costs occasioned by the low volumes moved
over long distances. Despite the longer distances travelled by
foodstuffs from Europe and North American markets, the high
volumes and transport systems (water transportation), together
with low-cost production in the originating country, made relatively
cheaper imported foodstuffs. (McIntosh and Manchew 1985:221)
This lack of insular agricultural diversity has resulted in the region being a net importer of

foodstuffs. As regional investigations have concluded, this plantation legacy has also

been partly to blame for various health problems linked to diet in the region such as

energy-protein malnutrition, anaemia, obesity and diseases related such as diabetes and

hypertension (McIntosh and Manchew 1985:213-217).

The Caribbean planters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had enormous

economic and political power and used this clout to influence their governments in

Europe to pass favorable legislation protecting their commodities and trading privileges in

the face of competition from non-national sources. This was the heyday of mercantilism.

With the coming of the nineteenth century, and the emancipation of the Caribbean slaves,

the historical development of the plantation system had structured the societies of the

region into highly polarized class-based systems where little upward mobility was

allowed. The majority of newly emancipated slaves, having no specific occupational

skills, had few opportunities aside from becoming wage laborers on the plantations

where they formerly had been slaves or to find jobs in the few urban centers. For the

lucky few who had managed to save some money, the desire to purchase a small parcel

of land and be one's own boss was a dream they aspired to make a reality. These

freedmen who managed to purchase small tracts of land became one of the major sources

for the "reconstituted" peasantries in the Caribbean (Mintz 1974:146).

The Caribbean Peasantry

The term "peasant" in the Caribbean, for obvious historical reasons, must be defined

differently than in other parts of the Americas. The Amerindians in the Caribbean had

not developed beyond a chiefdom level of political organization at the time of contact and,

shortly after their initial contact with Europeans, they were all but exterminated. The rise

of a plantation system throughout the insular Caribbean, and the associated lack of arable

lands not sequestered by the planter elite on the smaller islands, inhibited the growth of

an independent peasant class. The possibility of escape for the slaves on the smaller

islands were few. Malingering, induced abortions, sporadic revolts and other forms of

resistance to enslavement occurred with a high degree of frequency on these islands;

however, for the slaves on the Lesser Antilles there was little opportunity to develop their

own economic patterns independent from the control of the plantation economy.

On the larger islands such as Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, and on the Caribbean

mainland colonies such as Suriname and Guyana, slaves would often run off and join the

bands of cimarrones, or maroons as they were called by the British, which were groups

of runaway slaves and their offspring. These bands lived an autonomous existence in the

interior of the larger islands and in the hinterlands of the mainland colonies during the

sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They survived by hunting, horticulture, and, on

occasion, raiding (Price 1973:10). Living always in fear of being attacked by the white

colonialists, these bands became experts at guerrilla warfare (Price 1973:7).

During the eighteenth century, both the Jamaican Maroons and the Suriname Bush

Negroes successfully outfought colonial militias sent to conquer them. Ultimately, the

colonists were forced to come to terms with these maroon bands (Williams 1970:198).

While these maroon bands won their own autonomy, the price for their freedom was

regulated at the expense of the Africans still enslaved in the colonies, and by agreeing not

to threaten the plantocracy's economic dominance. The Maroons of Jamaica could plant

any crop exct sugar-cane, and both the Maroons of Jamaica and the Bush Negroes of

Suriname agreed to help colonial authorities in returning escaped slaves. Furthermore,

they signed a treaty agreeing to come to the aid of the colonialists whenever new slave

insurrections occurred (Williams 1970:198-199). Perhaps, the beginnings of the

Caribbean peasantry were not to be found only in the heritage of the Maroons.

The origins of the Caribbean peasantry could also be traced to the edges of every

plantation where slaves cultivated garden plots. These proto-peasants, as they are

referred to by Mintz, were not freeman, but slaves (1974). With the emancipation of the

slaves throughout the Caribbean during the nineteenth century, a Caribbean peasantry did

not suddenly spring forth where it had never existed before. The Caribbean "peasantry"

had been in existence on the fringes of the plantations for centuries in a nascent state.

This proto-peasantry consisted of the slaves who tilled their master's fields for six days a

week; but, on their one free day, they would often spend the day industriously cultivating

their own small garden plot. It is important to clarify here that this proto-peasantry varied

greatly from peasantries in other parts of the world in that they, at least initially,

"controlled neither the land nor their own time and labour" (Marshall 1985:2). They

achieved true status as a peasantry when they became free of their plantation obligations.

The maroons in the hills of Jamaica also became rural cultivators. Squatters in the hills

of Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Cuba tilled any soil not claimed by the plantation

owners or cattle ranchers.

A common argument is whether one should refer to these Caribbean agricultural

producers as members of a true peasantry. Peasantries are not phenomena which

manifest themselves in a uniform form anywhere in the world. They cannot be viewed

as a consistently homogeneous unit. Peasantries in Africa can be, and are, quite distinct

from each other as well as from those found in the highlands of Andean America or

Europe. Agricultural producers in the Caribbean display a wide range of variation in

their socio-economic structures. It is true that the origins of the Caribbean peasantries

which emerged bear little historical semblance to those found elsewhere; however, they

do share certain socio-economic commonalties with other peasantries found in the world.

What all peasant studies have in common is their definition of the peasant as primarily

a rural cultivator, with relatively small land-holdings, and being part of an exploited

social group within a larger societal structure called the nation-state (Foster 1967;

Gudeman 1978; Kroeber 1948; Mintz 1973; Potter 1967; Redfield 1956; Shanin 1973;

and Wolf 1957). When trying to describe a social group as "peasants," it is important to

observe the types of interrelationships this group has with the dominant segment of

society in terms of its social, economic, political, religious, and geographical matrices.

Firth wrote that "the term peasant has primarily an economic referent" (1963:87). He

viewed the term as referring to a "socio-economic category," and thought that non-

cultivators such as artisanal fishermen should be included in this category (Firth 1966:5).

George Foster, also, considered the relations of production as important in defining what

is a peasant. He wrote, "it is not what peasants produce that is significant; it is how and

to whom they dispose of what they produce that counts" (Foster 1967:6).

There are certainly common threads which tie together peasant communities

throughout the world. These include the following: (1) the household is the major unit of

production and consumption; (2) the peasant is a small-scale producer; (3) the peasant

employs simple technology and relies principally on household labor in production

activities; (4) the main production activity is geared towards household maintenance and

is not a business for profit in the purely capitalist sense; (5) the peasant controls, at least

partially, his own means of production; (6) the largest institutions the peasant interacts

with on a frequent basis are the local community and market; and finally, (7) in marketing

the peasant rarely controls the price at which his commodities are sold and never the

commodities which he must buy (Ennew et al. 1977; Firth 1963; Foster 1967;

Roseberry 1976; Shanin 1973; and Wolf 1957).

The peasantry is an exploited class in the nation-state. Peasants produce for their own

subsistence needs, but must also produce a surplus which is then extracted from them in

the form of rent. The methods in which this rent is extracted vary. It can be taken in the

form of taxes paid in cash, produce, or in labor. Most nation-states where a peasant

class exists will employ a combination of these methods to extract surplus. The peasant

pays rent, but is not usually accorded the privilege of political representation within

society, and is traditionally powerless in the face of multidirectionall subjection to

powerful outsiders" (Shanin 1973:64). The peasantry is in a subordinate relationship in

every society where they are found. However, the level of integration of a peasantry

with the larger society varies. Redfield observed:

there are two kinds of people, peasants and a more urban (or at least
manorial) elite. The two kinds of people look at each other, at that
joint or hinge in the total society, and have for each other attitudes
that complement (but not always compliment) each other. (1956:60)

It is this "rent," through the rights and obligations it entails for repayment, that forces the

peasantry to have some participation in the larger (nonpeasant) economic system and

society (Roseberry 1976:46).

Eric Wolf, in his important work on peasant communities, developed a definition of

peasant communities which included two basic types-the "closed corporate" and the

"open" peasant community (c.f. 1957, 1966). He describes the most salient

characteristics of a "closed corporate" peasant community as being the following: (1) it

strictly limits its members participation in the greater society; (2) only "insiders" may be

allowed full access to community lands and resources; and, (3) levelling devices prevent

individuals from obtaining too much wealth at the expense of other community members.

These levelling mechanisms are characterized by communities which place value on

reciprocity and redistribution of material wealth, preventing large-scale socio-economic
differentiation in favor of equitable distribution among villagers. So that, a "closed

corporate" community can also be defined as having a "moral economy" which is at odds

with the individualism prevalent in the larger capitalist oriented society (Scott 1976). On

the other hand, the "open" peasant community is a village "where communal jurisdiction

over land is absent, membership is unrestricted, and wealth is not redistributed" (Wolf

1957:235). Wolf, too, is clearly interested in defining the peasantry in terms of their

relations of production with the national-level elite and how relations of power are

expressed between the peasant community and the national economy.

The "closed corporate" community type of peasantry, as defined by Wolf, is not

found in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, among the rural populations, there is a high

degree of individualization, particularly economic individualization, within the social
structure (Mintz 1971:20). This being the case, it is hardly surprising that the "open"

peasant community is the prevalent type found throughout the Caribbean. It is true that

some community types are more "open" than others. Church organized communities in

post-emancipation Jamaica limited their membership to those individuals willing to

adhere to church defined behavior patterns. In these communities, social ostracism and

forfeiture of usufruct rights to community land was the penalty for severe transgressions

contrary to community defined behavior ( Mintz 1974; M. G. Smith 1956). Conformity

was mandatory in order to be a community member (Mintz 1974:175-176). However,

M. G. Smith argues that over time community control by the founding church

denominations has been eroded for the most part in the rural areas, and, today, is only

important in areas where the community is considerably isolated (1956:298).

Richard Frucht claims that such terms as "peasant" and "proletarian" cannot be applied

in a strict categorical sense in the Caribbean. Frucht argues that the Caribbean small-

scale producers "exhibit a peasant-like means of production along with proletarian-like

relations of production" (1967:295). Small-scale production in the Caribbean has its
"peasant-like" components which include the cultivation of small plots using household

labor and traditional manual technology, but the relations of production based on the
"sale of labour for wages in cash or in kind, and the latter through systems of

sharecropping, farming-out, and under conditions of male labour emigration" are

proletarian (Frucht 1967:296). The existence together of such usually distinct "means"

and "relations" of production are viewed by Frucht as a necessary adaptation to the

fluctuations of life in a marginal economy (Frucht 1967:296).

Mintz identifies four types of Caribbean peasantry with distinct origins: (1) the

squatter; (2) the early yeoman; (3) the proto-peasantry; and, (4) the runaway peasantry

(1974:147-154). The runaway peasantry, or maroon societies, have already been

discussed, as have the early yeoman of the British islands, such as the Barbados

"redlegs," whose descendants are impoverished rural farmers still living in Barbados in

very small numbers. The majority of these yeoman, however, were quickly pushed

aside by the land hungry plantation-owners in their quest for fresh lands and by the end

of the seventeenth century ceased to exist Members of the early squatter and proto-

peasantry types formed the nucleus of today's Caribbean rural population.

For the sake of brevity, I will leave the discussion of the squatter type peasantry for

the next section of this chapter. The origins of a peasant class in the Dominican Republic

is representative of squatter peasantries. The other hispanophone islands of Puerto Rico

and Cuba also had a large squatter element in the formation of their peasantries. The

origins of all four of these types of Caribbean peasantry could be found only on the

margins of the plantation system. Frequently, these peasant groups were viewed as

obstacles towards the economic development of the islands by the members of the elite.

They were, as Mintz refers to them, "interstitial groupings" existing on the fringes of

plantation system when the plantocracy allowed its vigilance to relax for a time


The Growth of a Dominican Peasantry

Slaves made the transition from proto-peasantry to a "free" Caribbean peasantry either

through emancipation (as is the case of the British, French, Dutch colonies, Puerto Rico,

and Cuba), through revolution (as is the case for Haiti), or a combination of both (this

being the case in Santo Domingo). The latter point is in need of further clarification.

Unlike Saint-Domingue, after the sixteenth century when sugar-cane cultivation no

longer was the major industry in the colony, Santo Domingo had a much smaller

percentage of slaves in relation to total number of persons living in the colony. Slaves

never comprised more than a minority of the population. In the eighteenth century, out

of an approximate population of 100,000 persons of European, African, and mixed

heritage, conservative figures believe that not more than between ten or twelve thousand

were slaves (Bosch 1983:126).

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the colony of Santo Domingo did not

rely heavily on slave production since plantation production for export had been reduced

to a minor industry. However, trade between the cattle ranchers of Santo Domingo and

the plantations of Saint-Domingue in livestock, meat, and leather, constituted a major part

of the Spanish colony's economic livelihood at this time. When the slave revolution

broke out next door in Saint-Domingue at the end of the eighteenth century, it had

serious, and immediate, economic repercussions in the colony of Santo Domingo.

Soon all of Hispaniola became a battleground between French forces trying to thwart

the slave revolt, the Haitians ex-slaves trying to protect their newly achieved

independence, and British forces fighting both groups at different times. When

Toussaint L'Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian army, invaded Santo Domingo in 1801,

many slaves were emancipated by their masters to help combat the Haitian threat. Many

of these ex-slaves actively participated in the Dominican resistance. Other Dominican

slaves, not being emancipated by their owners, fled at the first opportunity to join the

army of Toussaint L'Ouverture, obtaining their freedom in this manner.

There were still others who took advantage of the fighting between the various forces

and escaped into the rugged interior of Santo Domingo, hiding in the cordilleras and

becoming squatters. Between 1796 and 1809, Santo Domingo was devastated by

succeeding waves of French, British, and Haitian armies invading the colony. During

this period many plantation owners fled with their slaves or suffered the wrath of the

Haitian soldiers and were killed. The total population in the colony of Santo Domingo

was greatly reduced. Statistics compiled by Moya Pons show that there were

approximately 119,600 people living in Santo Domingo in 1783 (Moya Pons 1986:46).

The next census figures available in 1819 show 71,223 people inhabiting the colony

(1986:46). This represents a population reduction of approximately 40 percent.

Warfare, uncertainty, disease, poor government ,and starvation had all taken their toll on

the Dominican population during these years.

Late in 1801, Santo Domingo was invaded by the French under General Leclerc and

slavery was formally re-imposed. In actuality, there were few slaves to be found. Most

had either escaped to the mountains, or had joined forces with the Haitian leaders

Dessalines and Christophe, and were members of the army waiting to fight the French.

By 1809, the colony formally reverted once more to the Spanish Crown. In the

following twelve years of Spanish control of the colony, often referred to as la Esparia

Boba ("silly Spain"), slavery was still legal in the colony but was of little economic


Slavery as a system was formally abolished forever in Santo Domingo when Haitian

forces under President Boyer took over the colony in 1822. Former slaves, whether

they achieved their freedom through emancipation, insurrection, or running away, were

to form the nucleus of the Caribbean peasantry on most islands. However, in two

Caribbean societies this was not completely true. In the Dominican Republic and on the

island of Puerto Rico the majority of the peasantry were composed of freeman of mixed

racial heritage. In Puerto Rico slavery remained a legal institution until 1873 (Knight

1978:124): however, poor freemen of all races who were landless were coerced onto the

plantations through the use of labor laws forbidding vagrancy (Steward et al. 1956:57).

Throughout Caribbean history the labor needs of the plantation-owner made him

basically color-blind in times of need.

In the Dominican Republic the ranks of the peasantry were largely composed of

squatters of mixed European-African or African descent. The hateros on their large

ranches and the plantation owners in the south of the country were largely from European

descent. In Dominican society upward mobility was generally limited to those who
"were too noticeably Negroid" (Hoetink 1982:21). During the nineteenth century,

population scarcity made it relatively easy for individuals to practice slash-and-burn

agricultural techniques, since land was readily available. However, the best lands in the

Cibao and on the southern coastal plain were controlled by the elite families of the

Dominican Republic whose cattle ranches and plantations occupied huge tracts of land.

Typically, they chose the most fertile and well-watered areas of the country to locate

these enterprises. Due to the chaos which arose from conflicting systems of land

registration under the Spanish, French, and Haitian systems, claims to land were

particularly difficult to validate and a source of constant legal contention between large

landowners (Clausner 1973:130). Collusion between government officials and rich

landowners made it easy for the wealthy to obtain the best lands for themselves.

Many of the Dominican peasant farmers in the early nineteenth century were so

isolated that they were, by necessity, subsistence-oriented. They produced only enough

to meet their family's needs. Those peasants who lived closer to Santo Domingo,

Santiago, and Puerto Plata, were much more likely to also produce a cash crop. In the

Cibao, and near Puerto Plata, this cash crop was usually tobacco, but sometimes cotton

was grown. In both the northern and the southern areas of the country, some

Dominican peasants would also spend part of the year harvesting wood for export to

supplement their incomes. Gathering honey, collecting coconuts, or cutting sugar-cane

in the southern coastal areas, also provided a source of income for the Dominican

peasantry. Tobacco and lumber were the main Dominican exports during the early

nineteenth century, but other exports reflect the variety of goods produced by the

Dominican peasantry:

Habia otros products que significaban otras tantas actividades
econ6micas y, claro est&, otras tantas actividades empresariales.
Ademrs del tabaco y la caoba y el guayacin y el campeche, los
dominicanos tambfen producian y exportaban cigarros, resina de
guayacan, cueros de res y chivo, miel de abejas y cera, almid6n,
cocos, conchas de carey, azucar y viveres, aunque el valor de
todos estos products juntos fuera siempre inferior al de la caoba
o el tabaco por separado. (Moya Pons 1986:151)

The second half of the nineteenth century was the age of tobacco, the hateros and their

hatos, terrenos comuneros, and the family-controlled sugar plantation. Roberto Cassi

claims that the Dominican elite still had control of the export sector at the end of the

nineteenth century (1980:18). This is refuted by Hoetink who argues that, while tobacco

was still largely controlled by the national elite at this time, "sugar required such sums for

its processing that only a foreign market could provide the necessary credit" (1982: 69).

The Dominican peasant in the nineteenth century, while certainly living with few

luxuries, had access to lands in unoccupied regions of the country; that is, as long as no

member of the elite wanted this land. This was to end in the beginning of the twentieth

century with the occupation of the Dominican Republic by the United States.

During the twentieth century, a rapidly growing rural population decreased the

availability of uncultivated lands. Furthermore, the land registration act of 1920,

sponsored by U.S. interests in a then occupied Dominican Republic, allowed foreign

nationals and rich Dominicans to seize vast holdings of communal lands, the terrenos

comuneros, and any other lands which peasants had no clear titles to, worsening the

plight of the Dominican peasantry (Black 1986a:23). In 1912, and again in 1920, land

registration laws began to be enforced in the country in an attempt to correct the

confusion of existing land titles. The Dominican peasants often did not comply with the

governmental decrees to register their lands and as a result lost the chance to prove clear

title to their holdings. This was the result of a deep rooted suspicion of the government's


Even in normal, or more accurately, less chaotic times, the campesino was likely
to ignore the formalities required by law. Reflecting long bitter experience, his
reaction to a legal requirement to present his documents of ownership at any
given public office was the conviction that someone planned to take his land.
(Clausner 1973:129)

The Dominican latifundia grew enormously during this time, and this growth was often

at the expense of the poor. Many rural Dominicans lost the right to their lands and were

forced to become members of a rural proletariat class. This disenfranchised class

furnished the labor for sugar plantations controlled by foreigners and the national elite.

Those peasants who were able to retain their landholdings had them fragmented by
adhering to the legal tradition of bilateral inheritance. Legally, all recognized offspring

had equal inheritance rights to their parents property, but in reality the sons usually

divided the land among themselves, while the daughters would retain the house and

household possessions. Landholdings became increasingly fragmented as farmers

passed on land to their sons. Ultimately, many plots became so small that they were not

capable of supporting a family. This also succeeded in forcing members of the rural

population to seek wage work, or become sharecroppers. Large ranches and farms called

latifundia, which are controlled by a few rich individuals, and many small holdings

consisting of less than one hectare, often referred to as minifundia, for the majority of

rural cultivators, is the typical structure of land tenure in the Dominican Republic today.

The plight of the Dominican peasantry in the late twentieth century is dismal. The best

lands are concentrated in the hands of a few. Rural life is marked by high unemployment

(as high as 50 percent), high rates of illiteracy (approximately 80 percent), and a life

expectancy as low as 52 years (Black 1986a:59). It is no wonder that Wiarda wrote that
"the campesino (peasant) has historically been the forgotten man in Dominican life"

(1969: 91). The economy of the Dominican Republic today differs little from that of its

colonial past and continues its reliance on the export of primary sector commodities such

as sugar, gold, and beef (Rodrfguez Nufiez 1984:19). Historically, the poorer rural

population has benefited little from this export trade. However, a new industry has

arisen in the Dominican Republic which, since 1982, has overtaken agriculture and

mineral extraction to become the number one foreign income generator in the Dominican

economy tourism.

Enclave Tourism and the Dominican Republic

It is no surprise that today's world tourist industry centers and largest markets are
found in Europe and North America. First world tourist agencies, controlling the flow

of tourists to various Caribbean vacation spots, naturally look for locations where the

national government and private industry are likely to grant special privileges to these

foreign-based multinational tourism corporations. Tourism has become the largest

growth industry in the region, expanding rapidly in the British Caribbean during the

1950s and 1960s, and growing in economic importance steadily throughout the insular

Caribbean since the 1970s (Mandle 1989: 247).

Since most of the Caribbean nations and territories provide the basic prerequisites

desired by the tourists going on a tropical holiday (i.e., sun, sea, sand, and relative

proximity to the tourist sending nations), these multinational tourist corporations find it is

easy to bargain with regional governments from a position of power. They have the

ability to direct, or divert, the flow of tourists to any particular tourist destination in the

Caribbean. An attempt to understand the impact of the introduction of tourism in the

Caribbean must take into consideration the existing political economy and its

historical/structural development. Keeping this in mind, with few exceptions, Caribbean

tourism mimics the political and economic patterns already evident in the production and

export of traditional agricultural and mineral commodities of the region: (1) the global

market is controlled by companies located in the first world; (2) Caribbean tourist

locations must compete with other LDC locations throughout the world for a limited

market share; and, (3) the growth of the tourist industry in the Caribbean (and in most

LDC tourist destinations) is highly susceptible to changes in the economic and political

climate of the first world sender nations.

Tourism has been promoted with a fervor by many of the national governments in the

Caribbean region. This region's many insular nations, with few natural resources, high

population densities, and an historical reliance on a few agricultural cash crops

(principally sugar, coffee, and tobacco), consider tourism an attractive strategy to

enhance their countries' economic vitality. However, the Caribbean tourism industry is

rarely controlled by individuals within the host nation.

The Dominican Republic initiated the development of a tourism industry relatively late

in comparison to other Caribbean nations such as Barbados, Puerto Rico, or Jamaica. In

1966, a visitor to Santo Domingo would have found only three international-class hotels

in the capital, all of them badly in need of renovation. Prior to 1967, tourism in the

Dominican Republic had been a negative factor (Bell 1981:341). More Dominicans

traveled abroad to other countries than foreigners came to visit the Dominican Republic.

This has changed rapidly in the last twenty years. The Dominican government took the

first steps towards promoting tourism in 1967, creating a special Ministry of Tourism to

handle the industry's development, and by appointing Angel Miolhn as director-general

of this organization.

During the 1970s, President Balaguer and his ministers strongly supported

government and private investment in the national tourist industry. In 1971, a "tourist

incentive law" (Law 153), was introduced which provided tax breaks and fee exemptions

for private individuals investing in tourist businesses of scale. The implied goal of the

industry was to provide a framework for raising the standard of living of the local

population and increase the nation's revenue. The profits from tourism would, in theory,

later be redirected towards further diversification of the economy (Wiarda and Kryzanek

1982:84-85). Through the services of the government and the Banco Central de la

Repitblica Dominicana, an organization called El Desarrollo de la Infraestructura

Turfstica, or INFRATUR, was created to finance and direct the development of tourism

zones (ALIFD 1977:39). The development of tourism in the Dominican Republic, unlike

the agri-business, mining, and manufacturing industries, has been pre-dominantly

financed by domestic investors (EIU 1990:28). Since 1982, tourism had become the

largest foreign exchange earner in the Dominican Republic (EIU 1990:22). Early growth

figures for the industry have been highly satisfactory, but has tourism promoted growth

in other sectors as a result of a multiplier effect?

One of the earliest studies of regional tourism in the Dominican Republic concluded

that its role as a catalyst for development of other industries had "not been very

encouraging" (Yun6n 1977:70). In the Dominican Republic it is estimated, according to

conservative figures, that the national economy is losing 48 to 53 percent of every dollar

of hard currency earned from tourist expenditures through leakages to metropolitan

countries (EUI 1990:22). This currency is lost principally in paying for the cost of

industry related imported goods. If tourism projects are designed to provide more direct

linkages at the community level, the natural multiplier effect of this industry will provide

locally more secondary employment related to tourism, and reduce the nation's external

leakages. Tourism must be integrated into the economy and successfully serve to

promote other local activities in order to meet development goals (Matthews 1978:48).

The principal development model used by tourism planners in the Dominican Republic

is the enclave resort. Studies of the enclave resort conducted in the insular Pacific area

concluded that these resorts do little to promote either economic or cultural linkages at the
local and regional level (S. Britton 1982; Rodenburg 1980). One of the main

characteristics of an enclave resort is its inclusiveness. The management of an enclave

resort create and control a cultural, as well as physical, environment catering to the needs

and desires of the tourist clientele. These resorts, and the tourists, often come to

"symbolize foreign wealth and privilege in the midst of native poverty" (Manning

1982:13). Cohen points out that:

Tourism has the most serious dislocating effects and yields the
smallest relative benefits for locals when large-scale, high-standard
facilities are rapidly introduced by outside developers into an
otherwise poorly developed area; dependency, rather than
development, then results. (1984:384)
However, despite the evidence indicating the limitations this type of resort offers for

regional growth, the enclave resort is the model most frequently chosen for development

of a region in the Dominican Republic.

The private investor and local government planners favor the enclave model because

centralized development projects maximize the benefits from limited finances. In LDCs,

such as the Dominican Republic, where initial "infrastructural deficiencies may be

severe," the costs for tourism development must be borne, at least initially, by the host

government (Pearce 1989:95). In the Dominican Republic the government invested

millions of dollars, the majority of it borrowed from international credit agencies, in its

tourism zones. The majority of this borrowed money was invested in the Puerto Plata

tourist zone between 1974-1982 in order to establish the facilities necessary to attract

private investors (Wiarda and Kryzanek 1982:85). An international airport, a

government owned hotel with training facilities for hotel management and restaurant

staff, sewage treatment facilities, and improved roads were just a few of the projects

financed with this money. For the host government, improving the necessary services to

the standards demanded by metropolitan tourists in a few centralized tourist zones is

economically more feasible than in many dispersed locations. Nevertheless, the
Dominican Republic made a serious economic choice in promoting tourism because its

development cost determines that other sectors of the economy will, by necessity, be

neglected (Rodenburg 1980:189).

Tourism, as a labor intensive industry, does provide employment for many members

of the host society. The majority of these created positions, however, do not demand a

high degree of formal training, and tourism "requires a less skilled labor force than does

agriculture" (Gunn 1979:15). In the Dominican Republic, with its high rate of

unemployment, some individuals believe that any job created in the region is important,

even if it is not high paying and subject to seasonal lay-offs, because any job is "certainly

better than no jobs at all" (Wiarda and Kryzanek 1982:84).

The enclave resort model promoted by the Dominican government could be viewed as

producing an economic situation whereby the lower-classes are exploited as a source of

cheap labor and the local elites and foreign companies reap the economic benefits. If this

criticism is true, the poorer segments of society may have a few more employment

opportunities, but these are counter-balanced by negative factors such as rising land

prices associated with speculation and higher crime rates. Valene L. Smith argues, with

data gathered from outside the Caribbean, that tourism is a minor agent of culture change

(1989). She quotes one of her informants as saying, "tourism is not important in our

lives-we see the world on television every night" (Valene L. Smith 1989:9).

Furthermore, she reasons that many local employees have obtained positions of

responsibility in resort facilities and view tourism as "an avenue for upward mobility"

(Valene L. Smith 1989:7).

Perhaps, the longer a community associates itself with tourism, some local individuals

learn how to control the operational sphere of the local industry and maximize the

benefits that can be received from tourism. But are these benefits likely to distributed

throughout the community? Or, are they concentrated only among a few individuals

who, because of educational background, previously acquired wealth, or both, are better

able to manipulate their interactions with the industry to their own benefit?

In terms of the number of visitors coming to the country, and foreign revenue

generated, tourism development has been a success for the Dominican Republic.

Tourism surpassed agriculture in 1982 as the number one foreign exchange earner in the

economy (EIU 1990:22). It is the third largest source of employment in the country as

well (EIU 1990:22). Sponsored by the slogan, "Come to the land that Columbus loved,"

the importance of tourism in the Dominican economy was indicated when the head of the

tourist ministry, INFRATUR, was elevated to a cabinet post during the presidency of

Guzman (Wiarda and Kryzanek 1982: 85). The question remains, however, which

Dominicans are really benefiting from the growth of this industry?



The presence of large-scale tourism and hotel resorts is a new phenomenon in the

municipio of Luper6n. The invasion of the "Golden Horde" that began in 1987 was

not, however, the first time foreigners have found hospitality on the shores of the

municipio. It was in Luper6n that Columbus landed in A.D. 1493, accompanied by

twelve hundred colonists from Spain, to build the first "permanent" European settlement

in the Caribbean. Columbus named the site La Isabela in honor of Queen Isabella I.

Here, at this site, the acculturation process frequently referred to as the Columbian

Exchange began in all its myriad of facets. Five hundred years later, this brief moment

in the colonial history of the Caribbean, the discovery and settlement of La Isabela, is

still a source of regional change. The fact that the site of La Isabela is located in

Luper6n is a source of pride for many inhabitants. However, there is a price to pay in

having this historical monument located in the municipio that many of the inhabitants

cannot, or are not willing, to pay.

It is not by chance that the western borders of the Puerto Plata tourist zone are

located in the municipio of Luper6n. Granted, it has beautiful vistas, pleasant beaches,

and friendly inhabitants, but so do other locations much closer to the city of Puerto

Plata. In fact, to people living in Santo Domingo and Santiago, Luper6n is considered


nothing more than a rural backwater. Several individuals in these communities said,

upon learning where I was conducting my research, "Oh, you are living in the frontier."

The tourist resort in Luper6n is presently isolated from other tourist ventures. The

closest neighboring resort is located more than 30 kilometers by road from the Luper6n

Beach Resort. What attracted developers and land speculators to this area, and is

beginning to attract more and more day tourists as well, are the archaeological ruins of

Columbus's La Isabela. This historical site has enormous potential for drawing large

numbers of tourists in the near future, particularly with all the promotion that the

quincentennial anniversary of the "discovery" is receiving in the world press.

Every tourist brochure I saw detailing the wonders of the Puerto Plata tourist zone

promoted the site of La Isabela as an important national treasure. Local tour guides

never fail to mention that the Dominican Republic was the "land that Columbus loved"

(the fact that Haiti is also part of Hispaniola, and that it was in Haiti in A.D. 1492 that

the Spanish first landed and built a temporary settlement, is typically ignored), and that

the first Spanish colony in the New World is located in the province of Puerto Plata.

Local preparations for the quincentennial anniversary celebration, to be held in 1992

(actually one year early in the case of La Isabela), were well underway in 1989. By the

end of 1991, a new church was being finished at the site of La Isabela for the

commemorative Mass the Pope planned to celebrate during his expected visit in October

1992. Furthermore, plans to repair, pave, and widen the main roads to the

archaeological site were being finalized in the beginning of 1992, so that visiting

dignitaries could easily come to the planned festivities. Unfortunately, after all the plans

and preparations had been made the Pope never went to La Isabela, choosing to attend

celebrations held in other regions of the country. Nevertheless, it is amazing that a

poorly situated settlement, lasting only four years A.D. 1493-1497, is the main focus of

the area's tourist promotions. The other 496 years are completely ignored. This is

unfortunate. The region has played a significant role in both national and international

history that goes far beyond the importance of the first four years so touted by

Dominican tourist brochures.

The purpose of this chapter is to briefly recount the history of five hundred years of

Luper6n's history. This is assuredly an exercise in brevity and historical spotlighting.1

The municipio has a long and significant history apart from the brief period when La

Isabela was the center of Spanish colonial hopes on the island. Even though most

locals are fully cognizant of the important role the region has played in the historical

development of the Dominican Republic, few of these historical facts, other than the

establishment of La Isabela, are mentioned to tourists. The typical feeling of the

luperonenses is that foreigners (americanos ) would not be interested.

Not all tourists are interested in learning about local history. However, during the

course of my fieldwork, and stints as an unofficial tour guide, I found that a significant

number of tourists did express interest in learning about the region's historical

development. Many tourists were fascinated to learn about Luper6n's significant

contributions to the national historical mosaic. More than once I was asked why local

hoteliers do not have more historical information about the region available. The

answer to this question might lie in the type of tourism the local resort was trying to

attract, package tour "mass" tourism. The belief of resort management was that the

typical "mass" tourist came for the sea, sand, sun, and fun. The belief that the "typical"

tourist did not come to learn about Dominican culture would preclude the necessity of

providing this type of information.

1 This is an abridged history focusing only on the development of the municipio and
town of Luper6n. It is part of a much more comprehensive examination of 500 years of
colonial and Dominican national history and the role Luper6n has played in this drama.
For those readers interested in learning more about the role Luper6n has played in
course of Dominican development and a broader historical analysis of Dominican
colonialism I suggest they read the historical sketch provided in Appendix B in lieu of
this chapter.

Knowledge of local history gives clues to the present cultural ecology of the region,

sociocultural beliefs, political structures, and an understanding of how they developed

in response to both local, regional, and international forces. I choose to begin this

chapter with a quick historical review of what I call the "exploited history of Luper6n."

This refers to the period when Columbus arrived and when the settlement of La Isabela

was occupied. The rest of the chapter will be devoted to an overview of municipal

history during the succeeding five centuries. I choose to refer to this period as the

"unexploited history of Luper6n." At times, the historical accounts will lead the reader

away from the borders of the region for brief periods as local history becomes

intertwined with regional, national, and global movements, but the tale will always

wind its way back to the municipio.

The municipio of Luper6n has been directly involved in several important historical

movements during Dominican history aside from its initial colonization by Columbus

and his conquistadors. These warrant special attention in this chapter. These include

the role the municipio played in supplying the pro-independence troops against the

Spanish in the early 1860s during the war of restoration (La guerra de la Restauracidn,

1861-1864). A century later the region again became a battleground. The failed

invasions by the pro-democracy forces seeking to overthrow the dictator Trujillo chose

to land on the shores of Luper6n in 1949, and again in 1959, with horrendous

consequences for the individuals involved.

The Municipio in the Early Years

The municipio of Luper6n will always have a special place in history. It is the
location of the first "permanent" Spanish colony in the western hemisphere and it was at

La Isabela that the acculturation process began between the Old World and New World

populations began in earnest. Christopher Columbus, returning on his second voyage

to the Caribbean in late 1493, found the sailors from the first voyage who had remained

at La Navidad after his ship the Santa Maria had foundered on a reef off the northern

coast of Haiti dead and the small fort he had constructed at the site burnt and completely


Columbus's first voyage had been one of exploration, his second was one of

colonization. After leaving the ruins of La Navidad with his seventeen ships, he sailed

east seeking a suitable location for his first permanent settlement After sending out

several caravels to search the north coast of Hispaniola for suitable locations, Columbus

selected the mouth of the Bajabonico river as home for the colonists who accompanied

him.2 One reason that this location might have been given preference over others as the

site of the first European town on the island of Espaiiola was because fate had provided

the fleet with unfavorable winds. The historian Americo Lugo noted that Columbus

"volvid allf el 7 de Diciembre siguiente buscando asiento para poblar; perofudronle

contrarios los vientos, 'i no pudo pasar al Puerto de Gracias [Luper6n's harbor], que

estd a 5 o 6 Leguas de el de Puerto Plata; i huvo de volver atrds tres Leguas, adonde sale

a la Mar unRfo Grande i hai vn buenpuerto "(Lugo 1938:263-264). Arriving at the

bay, located 160 kilometers to the east of La Navidad with his fleet, he began erecting

the port town of La Isabela.3

2 Actually, according to Bartolom6 de las Casas one of the central reasons for selecting
La Isabela as the location for the first settlement was its proximity to the gold fields of
the Cibao. A short voyage through the pass in the mountains of the Cordillera
Septentrional, near present day town of Los Hidalgos, and the river Yaque del Norte
was accessible. Just beyond the river, the gold fields of Santo TomAs were located in
the foothills of the Cordillera Central (1909:154-155).

3 The site of La Isabela may have been first "discovered" by the captain of the Pinta,
Martin Alonzo Pinz6n, on the first voyage during his famous solo expedition when he
deserted Columbus. Las Casas mentioned that Pinz6n had spent sixteen days trading
with the Amerindians for gold at a place he called the Rio de Gracias and that this
location was only a short distance to the sources of gold on the island. Columbus later
anchored at this site on his return part of his first voyage. He noted its good anchorage
by the mouth of a river. He mentioned that this site was three leagues to the southeast
of Punta Roja (Punta Rucia?). The only possible locations could be the mouth of the
Rio Bajabonico or the Rio Jaiba which is much smaller and provides poor anchorage.

Little is known about the Amerindians who lived in the area at the time of contact.

Americo Lugo claims that the town of La Isabela was built close to a Taino village

(1938:264). To which of the six major caciques on the island the local Amerindians

claimed principal allegiance to is unclear. Most likely it was to Guarionex, or his close

ally Mayobanex, both of whom controlled vast territories nearby. The historian Ursula

Lamb supports this position and wrote that the territory where La Isabela was founded

was under the control of the cacique Guarionex (1956:91).

It is almost certain the Amerindian people living near the coast at the time of contact

relied heavily on harvesting resources from the sea to help feed their communities.

Maritime adaptations have figured predominantly in many prehistoric Caribbean sites.

Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of the Caribbean. There is evidence to

suggest that humans have been living on the Caribbean islands and relying on marine

resources since at least 4000 B.P. (Rouse 1960:10). There is still some speculation as

to where they came from, and how they arrived on the islands, but most scholars now

agree that a South American origin is the most plausible theory. Little is known about

these earliest fisher folk and hunter-gatherers except that they were broad-spectrum

foragers, classified as Meso-Indians, and left an account of their activities in the form of

large shell middens (Rouse 1960:8). What little archaeological evidence that has been

studied from these earliest inhabitants of Hispaniola suggests that marine and littoral

resources played a major part in their diet.

When the first European explorers entered the Caribbean and observed the

indigenous population they commented favorably about the richness of the marine

resources harvested. Both the Taino and Carib peoples relied on a combination of

agricultural products and marine proteins to provide a balanced diet (Price 1966). Fish,

The diary also comments that this location had a lot of shipworm. Could this be the
first visit of Columbus to the municipio of Luper6n? I find that the geographical
descriptions Columbus gives in his diary make it almost certain it was. (Las Casas

molluscs, turtles, marine mammals, and sea birds were all incorporated into the local

diet (Sauer 1966). The sea was the main source of animal proteins for the Amerindians:

Plants provided the starch and sugar of the native diet; animals supplied
the protein and fat in admirable balance. It was an economy of growing
roots for carbohydrate food and of getting most of the rest of the diet
from water, both salt and fresh. (Sauer 1966:58)

The combination of carbohydrates from the land and protein from the water allowed the

Taino to produce a surplus.

The accumulation and redistribution of this bounty from land and sea was controlled

by the upper echelons of Taino society. At the time of contact, Hispaniola was at a

chiefdom level of social organization (Knight 1978:14). Roberto Cassf typologically

places the Taino people as belonging in the advanced Neolithic age or, using the

Mesoamerican classification of cultures, as belonging in the late archaic period of

development (1974:21). The caciques, or chiefs, were powerful leaders who, with the

help of their advisors the nitaino, were responsible for organizing the "commoners"

when communal labor was necessary (Wilson 1990:32).4

The Taino of the Greater Antilles and the Caribs in the Lesser Antilles were
accomplished fisher folk. They employed highly sophisticated methods to harvest the

resources of the sea, many of which are still being utilized by the artisanal fishermen of

Hispaniola today. It is known that the Taino used hand-nets, shell and bone fish-hooks

on hand-lines, fishing spears, and harpoons, for capturing fish, turtles, and sea

mammals (Sauer 1966:58). Sauer believes that the Amerindian diet was a well-balanced

one and that "in productivity the West Indian native economy cannot be rated as

inferior" (1966:59).

4 Wilson has carefully identified that there were four social classes found on
Hispaniola among the Taino at the time of contact. He is careful to point out that
traditional definitions of the different tiers in Taino society are rather obvious reflections
of Spanish social status prevalent at the time of contact and an exact understanding of
Taino social organization and kinship system may never be brought to light (Wilson

Soon after the arrival of the European colonists, the populations of turtles and sea

mammals began to decline rapidly. Christopher Columbus first mistook manatees to be

"uglier than described in the legends" mermaids (Las Casas 1989:321). Soon the

Spaniards learned that these slow moving animals provided a delicious source of meat.

Since then, they have been hunted to the point of extinction on the island of Hispaniola.

None are found near the shores of Luper6n. Sea fowl and turtles were also heavily

exploited for food and over the centuries their numbers have declined significantly.

The Amerindian fishing techniques were rapidly assimilated by the Spanish

colonists. The newcomers readily adopted, with occasional modifications, the

indigenous fishing techniques. Only one major technological device, the seine net, was

introduced by Europeans that had not previously been employed by the Amerindians

(Price 1966:1374). Seine nets come in two basic varieties; the beach seine, and the boat

seine. The following is a basic description of this type of net:

Seine nets are typical gear for bulk fishery, especially in lakes
and along the beaches of the seas where the water is not so deep.
They have a typical form with a strong centre for holding the fish,
long wings on both sides, and mostly very long hauling lines
attached on the wings. For collecting the caught fish in the centre
of the seine net it is sufficient that the net be hung loosely and bolted.
But it is more convenient when a net bag is attached between the
wings-it may be also with a retarding device to prevent the escaping
of the fish. These constitute the two basic types of seines: the seines
without bags and the seines with bags. (von Brandt 1972:158)

Seine nets were introduced into the Caribbean area, but the small woven nets called

kalis by the Island Caribs, which were woven from plant fibers, had previously been

used (Price 1966:1366). The kalis were probably similar to the hand-held throw nets

called atarrayas used by the Taino which are still being employed by the fishermen of

the Dominican Republic today (Vega 1981:30). Other techniques used by the Taino

which are still being employed by the fishermen of the Dominican Republic include fish

pots, hand-lines, trolling, and "jacking" (this is a method of night fishing where the

fisherman uses an electric lantern or torch to attract fish to the boat and then catches

them with a net or by hook and line).

It was Amerindians practicing these types of maritime adaptations that Columbus met

at La Isabela and contemporary accounts mention that the indigenous inhabitants made

the Spaniards welcome. Chanca, a doctor who accompanied Columbus on his second

voyage and who was responsible for the colonists' health at La Isabela, mentioned that

many natives came to visit, both males and females, bringing food and information to

the Spaniards (Chanca 1932:61). Archaeologist Kathleen Deagan believes that the

region was densely populated by the Taino at the time of contact (1988:207). The fact

that both Taino and Spanish remains have been found buried in the Spanish cemetery at

La Isabela suggests that, at least initially, relations between the two groups was cordial

and that they intermingled freely.

There is other evidence in the municipio of Luper6n of a large Taino population
living in the region at the time of contact. Remains of Taino pottery and ceramics

abound in the region. Local farmers working in their fields frequently recover small
shards. Many of the larger pieces adorned with faces or intricate patterns are sold by

inhabitants to local shops where tourists purchase these antiquities. Initially, I believed

that many of these ceramic pieces were fakes because of the multitude available in the

shops. However, when discussing the authenticity of these artifacts with Kathleen

Deagan, she informed me that the majority of Taino artifacts found in local shops are

genuine (1989: personal communication). Traditionally, these artifacts were difficult to

purchase in rural areas of the country. Many rural Dominicans believed these Taino

ceramic pieces had magical powers to protect one from pains of evil origin and had the

power to keep urns of drawn water fresh (Vega 1981:50). Today, ample supplies are

available for purchase by tourists. I did notice several households in Luper6n which

had Taino artifacts prominently displayed. However, whether they were kept for

decoration, or for their magical properties, was never clearly determined.

The exact number of Amerindian inhabitants living on Hispaniola at the time of

contact is open to speculation. Population estimates range from the high figure of

3,000,000, cited by Las Casas (1951), to the rather conservative figure of 100,000

(Rosenblatt 1954). Kathleen Deagan, co-director of the archaeological reconstruction of

La Isabela, believes the Taino population of Hispaniola to have been in the range of

"several million" at the time of contact in A.D. 1492. This figure is based on the

computation of archaeological site densities encountered in the few areas that have been

thoroughly surveyed on Hispaniola (1988:197-198). Dominican historian Frank Moya

Pons arrives at a much lower figure of around 600,000 Taino inhabitants (1977:62).

Whether one accepts the higher or lower estimates is of little importance here, the fact

remains that Taino population numbers plummeted catastrophically in the years

immediately following contact and their eradication in the course of a few decades

amounts to one of the worst cases of genocide in the historical record.

By 1515, the indigenous population on the island had been reduced to fewer than
25,000 inhabitants (Sauer 1966:200-201). The original Taino population was

augmented by the importation of many Amerindians who had been enslaved on other
islands. They were brought to Hispaniola to work in the gold mines. According to

Moya Pons, more than 40,000 Amerindian laborers were transported from such places

as the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico between 1508-1513 to work for the Spanish

(1977:62). It made little difference. The original inhabitants of Hispaniola, and those

Amerindians imported from other Caribbean islands, died equally rapidly. In 1518, a

smallpox epidemic further reduced a small and weakened population of Amerindians on

the island to around 3,000 individuals (Moya Pons 1977:68). In less than thirty years,

one of the "most densely settled prostate, sedentary societies in the New World" had

been completely eradicated from the face of the earth (Deagan 1988:196).

The first colonists at La Isabela fared only a little better than the Amerindians. The

first months at La Isabela were exceedingly trying for the Spaniards. February, 1494,

saw over half the colonists sick and the supplies of food brought from Europe were

running low (Wilson 1990:78). Columbus sent twelve of his seventeen ships back to

Spain loaded with gold, parrots, and enslaved Amerindians. Along with these goods he

sent a plea for more supplies (Wilson 1990:78). According to various letters written by

Columbus, local Amerindians supplied the colonists with ample stores of ages (yams or

sweet manioc) and cassava bread, but still the Spaniards became ill and suffered from

hunger (Columbus 1961:61-65).

During the same period, Spanish expeditions seeking gold had been sent inland to

find the gold mines rumored to abound in the interior. They found gold in the Cibao

region and favorable reports of rich gold regions fueled the colonists greed. Columbus,

himself, led a large army of soldiers and accompanying Amerindians into the Cibao

region in search of gold in March, 1494 (Wilson 1990:78-80). Those Spanish too

weak to march remained at La Isabela, where they continued to suffer acutely from

disease and hunger, and a number died during this period (Moya Pons 1977:56).

Columbus founded thefortaleza Santo TomAs near the site of promising gold fields
during his exploration of the Cibao region in 1494. Upon returning to La Isabela from

his first expedition inland, Columbus found the settlement at La Isabela seething with

discontent Illness had taken its toll, killing many Spaniards, and most colonists

remaining at La Isabela were suffering from a combination of maladies. Dissension

against Columbus's leadership was growing among the hidalgos. They blamed the

diseases which had affected most of the colonists on overwork. Columbus demanded

that every man, regardless of whether they were nobility or commoner, help in the

construction of the town. Most colonists at La Isabela were interested in finding gold

and becoming rich and not in building a permanent settlement. Parry and Sherlock

maintain that even an excellent administrator would have found it difficult to control

these early conquistadors: