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Dominican Republic and Haiti
[AW f KMAPY 'AN - 9 2004
Federal Research Division
Library of Congress
Helen Chapin Metz Research Completed
North Atlantic Ocean
Federal Research Division Library of Congress Edited by
Helen Chapin Metz Research Completed December 1999
North A t[antic ocean
On the cover: Hispaniola (La Isla Espafiola)
Third Edition, First Printing, 2001.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dominican Republic and Haiti : country studies / Federal Research
Division, Library of Congress ; edited by Helen Chapin Metz.
p. cm. - (Area handbook series, ISSN 1057-5294) (DA pam;
"Research completed December 1999."
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8444-1044-6 (alk. paper)
1. Dominican Republic. 2. Haiti. I. Metz, Helen Chapin, 1928II. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division. III. Series. IV.
Series: DA pam ; 550-36
Headquarters, Department of the Army
DA Pam 550-36
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402
This volume is one in a continuing series of books prepared by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the Department of the Army. The last two pages of this book list the other published studies.
Most books in the series deal with a particular foreign country, describing and analyzing its political, economic, social, and national security systems and institutions, and examining the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by historical and cultural factors. Each study is written by a multidisciplinary team of social scientists. The authors seek to provide a basic understanding of the observed society, striving for a dynamic rather than a static portrayal. Particular attention is devoted to the people who make up the society, their origins, dominant beliefs and values, their common interests and the issues on which they are divided, the nature and extent of their involvement with national institutions, and their attitudes toward each other and toward their social system and political order.
The books represent the analysis of the authors and should not be construed as an expression of an official United States government position, policy, or decision. The authors have sought to adhere to accepted standards of scholarly objectivity. Corrections, additions, and suggestions for changes from readers will be welcomed for use in future editions.
Robert L. Worden
Federal Research Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4840
The authors wish to acknowledge the work of Frederick J. Conway, Melinda Wheeler Cooke, Georges A. Fauriol, Richard A. Haggerty, Patricia Kluck, Danielj. Seyler, Glenn R. Smucker, and Howard J. Wiarda, who contributed to the 1991 edition of Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies. Their work served as a framework for various chapters of the present volume. The authors also are grateful to individuals in various agencies of the United States government and international and private institutions who gave their time, research materials, and special knowledge to provide information and perspective.
The authors also wish to thank those who contributed directly to the preparation of the manuscript. These include Sandra W. Meditz, who reviewed all drafts and served as liaison with the sponsoring agency and printer; Marilyn Majeska, who edited all chapters and managed production of the manuscript; andjanie L. Gilchrist, who did the word processing and prepared the camera-ready copy.
Maryland Mapping and Graphics provided invaluable graphics support, including the preparation of maps, charts, photographs, and cover and chapter illustrations. Kimberly A. Lord prepared the illustrations for the title pages of the chapters on Haiti. Various individuals, libraries, and public agencies, especially the Inter-American Development Bank, provided photographs.
Finally, the authors would like to thank Tim Merrill, who checked the rendering of foreign names and terms.
Introduction . i
Dominican Republic: Country Profile.1I
Table A. Dominican Republic: Chronology of
Important Events .9
Chapter 1. Dominican Republic: Historical Setting . Ii Jonathan Hartlyn
THE FIRST COLONY. 14 THE STRUGGLE FOR FORMAL SOVEREIGNTY . 19 AMBIVALENT SOVEREIGNTY, CAUDILLO RULE,
AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY .23
The Infant Republic, 1844-61. 23 Annexation by Spain, 1861-65 . 27 The Contest for Power, 1865-82 .28 ULISES HEUREAUX, GROWING FINANCIAL
DEPENDENCE, AND CONTINUED INSTABILITY .30
Ulises Heureaux, 1882-99 . * -30
Growing Financial Dependence and Political
Instability. 33 FROM THE UNITED STATES OCCUPATION (1916-24)
TO THE EMERGENCE OF TRUJILLO (1930) . 38 THE TRUJILLO ERA, 1930-61 .39 DEMOCRATIC STRUGGLES AND FAILURES . 43 AUTHORITARIAN BALAGUER, 1966-78 . 45 THE PRD IN POWER AND BALAGUER, AGAIN . 47 A NEW BEGINNING? . 51
Chapter 2. Dominican Republic: The Society
and Its Environment . 55
Lamar C Wilson and Patricia Kluck
GEO GRAPH Y . 58 N atural Regions . 58 D rainage . 60 C lim ate . 60 PO PU LA TIO N . 61
Size and Growth . 61 Population Distribution . 63 M igration . 64 U rbanization . 68 RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS . 70
Ethnic H eritage . 70 Modern Immigration . 72 H aitian s . 74 URBAN SOCIETY . 76
T he E lite . 76 The M iddle Sector . 78 The Urban Poor . 79 RURAL SOCIETY . 81
Family and Social Relationships . 81 Land and Poverty . 82 Sugar Plantations . 85 M ixed Farm ing . 86 FAM ILYAND KIN . 90 RE LIG IO N . 92 CU LTU RE . 94
Literature . 94 Historical Monuments and Architecture . 96 Popular Culture: Dance, Music, and Baseball . 96 EDU CATIO N . 97
Primary and Secondary . 97 U niversity . 99 HEALTH AND SOCIAL SECURITY . jol
H ealth . jol Social Security . 105
Chapter 3. Dominican Republic: The Economy . 109 Boulos A. Malik
A DEVELOPING ECONOMY . 112 ECONOMIC POLICIES . 116
Fiscal Policy . 118
Governm ent Role . 120 Privatization . 121 LA B O R . 122 AGRICULTURE . 126
Land Policies . 128 L and U se . 130 C ash C rops . 131 L ivestock . 137 Forestry and Fishing . 138 IN D U STRY . 139
M anufacturing . 139 M in ing . 141 Construction . 143 E n ergy . 145 SERV ICES . 146
Transportation . 146 Com m unications . 148 T ourism . 149 FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS . 151
Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments . 151 Foreign Assistance . 154 O UTLO O K . 155
Chapter 4. Dominican Republic: Government and
P o litics . 159 Jonathan Hartlyn
HISTORICAL LEGACIES OF AUTHORITARIAN RULE . 161 THE CONTEMPORARY STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY . 164 SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT . 168
The Evolution of Constitutional Doctrine . 170 The Executive . 173 The Legislature . 176 The judiciary . 179 Public Adm inistration . 181 Local Government . 184 Electoral System . 187 POLITICAL PARTIES . . 189 INTEREST GROUPS AND SOCIAL ACTORS . 194
Econom ic Elites . 195 M iddle C lass . 196 Trade Unions and Popular Organizations . 197
Mass Media. 199 Roman Catholic Church . 199 Armed Forces. 200 FOREIGN RELATIONS. 204
Chapter 5. Dominican Republic: National Security . 209 Jean Tartter
HISTORYAND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMED
FORCES . 213 ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN PUBLIC LIFE . 220 MISSIONS . 222 ARMED FORCES ORGANIZATION, TRAINING,
AND EQUIPMENT. 224
Army . 225 Navy. *. 229 Air Force. 231 Manpower. 232 Defense Spending. 233 Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia . 234 INTERNAL SECURITYAND PUBLIC ORDER . 235
National Police. 239 CriminalJustice System . 241 Respect for Human Rights. 244 Penal System. 246 Narcotics Trafficking. 247
Haiti: Country Profile . 251
Table B. Haiti: Chronology of Important Events .259
Chapter 6. Haiti: Historical Setting . 261 Anne Greene
SPANISH DISCOVERYAND COLONIZATION,
1492-1697 . 263 FRENCH COLONY OF SAINT-DOMINGUE,
1697-1803. . 266 FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE, 1791-1 803 . 268 EARLY YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE, 1804-43 .272
Partition of Haiti, 1811-20. 273 Jean-Pierre Boyer Reunites Haiti, 1820-43 .275 INCREASING INSTABILITY, 1843-1915 . 276 UNITED STATES INVOLVEMENT IN HAITI, 1915-34 . 279
FROM THE END OF THE UNITED STATES
OCCUPATION TO DUVALIER, 1934-57 .284 FRAN(OIS DUVALIER, 1957-71 .286 JEAN-CLAUDE DUVALIER, 1971-86 .290 POST-DUVALIER ERA, 1986-90 . 294 ARISTIDE PRESIDENCY, FEBRUARY7, 1991- SEPTEMBER 30, 1991 . 300 MILITARYCOUP OVERTHROWS ARISTIDE, SEPTEMBER 30, 1991-OCTOBER 1994 .303 DEMOCRACY RESTORED, 1994-96 .307
Chapter 7. Haiti: The Society and Its Environment . 311 Glenn R. Smucker
GEOGRAPHY . 314 NATURAL RESOURCES . 317
Land Use and Water .317 Forestry and Fuelwood .319 Mining . 320 Coastal and Marine Resource .321 Biodiversity. 322 Environmental Crisis . 323 POPUL-ATION. 325
Demographic Profile . 325 Migration. 326 SOCIAL STRUCTURE. 328
The Upper Class. 330 The Middle Class . 331 Peasants . 332 Urban Lower Class . 335 GENDER ROLES AND MARRIAGE .336 THE LANGUAGE QUESTION .339
French and Creole . 339 Changes in Language Use .341 Creole, Literacy, and Education .342 RELIGIOUS LIFE . 344
Voodoo. 344 Roman Catholicism . 346 Protestantism. 348 EDUCATION. 349
Primary Schools. 352 Secondary Schools . 353
Higher Education . 354 H EALT H . 355
Fertility and Family Planning . 355 Nutrition and Disease . 356 H ealth Services . 358 W elfare . 359
Chapter 8. Haiti: The Economy . 363 Boulos A. Malik
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT . 365 ECONOMIC POLICIES . 370
Structural Policy . 371 Fiscal Policy . 374 Fin ance . 377 Balance of Payments . 379 External D ebt . 380 Foreign Aid . 382 LA BO R . 384 AGRICULTURE . 387
Land Tenure . 389 Cash Crops . 391 Food Crops . 394 Forestry . 395 Livestock and Fishing . 395 IN D U STRY . 396
M anufacturing . 396 Assem bly Sector . 398 Construction . 399 M ining . 399 E nergy . 400 Transportation and Communications . 401 T ourism . 406 O UTLO O K . 406
Chapter 9. Haiti: Government and Politics . 411 Robert E. Maguire
FROM AN INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION
TO THE PRESIDENCY OF RENt PRtVAL,
SEPTEMBER 1994-DECEMBER 1999 . 415
Restoration of Constitutional Government,
September 1994-September 1995 . 415
Presidential Transition, October 1995M arch 1997 . 418
Balance of Power and Political Gridlock,
April 1997-january 1999 . 420
Unbalanced Power: january December 1999 . 423
Toward Municipal, Parliamentary, and
Presidential Elections . 425 CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORY . 427 GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM . 429
Governmental Institutions . 430 Functions of Government . 432
Urban Dominance, Rural Exclusion:
Confronting Entrenched Patterns . 434 POLITICAL DYNAMfCS . 436
Political Players and Patterns of Participation . 437 Maintenance and Transfer of Power . 438 The Presidency and Political Culture . 439 Perceptions of Democracy . 440 The Mass Media and the Spread of Information . 441 INTEREST GROUPS . 443
Political Parties . 443 Duvalierists and M akout . 446 T he Elite . 447 Civil Society . 448 FOREIGN RELATIONS . 449
Relations with the United States . 450 Relations with the Dominican Republic . 452 Relations with Other Countries . 453
Chapter 10. Haiti: National Security . 457 Jean Tartter
THE MILITARY IN HAITIAN HISTORY . 462
The Duvalier Era, 1957-86 . 463 The Post-Duvalier Period . 465
Disintegration and Demobilization of the
Haitian Army, 1993-95 . 468 STRUCTURE AND CAPABILITIES OF THE
PRE-1995 ARMED FORCES . 469
Military Spending and Foreign Assistance . 471
Role of the Army in Law Enforcement Prior
to 1995 . 472
HAITI'S EXTERNAL AND DOMESTIC
SECURITY CONCERNS . 473 INTERNAL SECURITY SINCE 1994 . 477
N ational Police . 477 Recruitment, Training, and Equipment . 480 RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS . 483 MULTINATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE . 484 JUSTICE SYSTEM . 486
Prison System . 488 Narcotics Trafficking . 489
Appendix. Tables . 493
Bibliography . 517
G lossary . 557
In d ex . 563
Contributors . 583
List of Figures
I Dominican Republic and Haiti: Topography and D rainage . xviii
2 Dominican Republic: Administrative D ivisions, 1999 . 8
3 Dominican Republic: Population Distribution by Age and Sex, 1993 Census . 62 4 Dominican Republic: Transportation System, 1999 . 150
5 Dominican Republic: Structure of the Governm ent, 1999 . 174
6 Dominican Republic: Organization of the Armed Forces, 1999 . 227
7 Dominican Republic: Military Bases and Headquarters, 1999 . 230
8 Dominican Republic: Officer Ranks and Insignia, 1999 . 236
9 Dominican Republic: Enlisted Ranks and Insignia, 1999 . 237 10 Dominican Republic: Organization of Internal
Security Agencies, 1999 . 242 11 Haiti: Administrative Divisions, 1999 . 258 12 Haiti: Population Distribution by Age and
Sex, 1995 . 324
13 Haiti: Transportation System, 1999 . 402 14 Organization of the Haitian National Police, 1999 . 478
Like its predecessors, these studies represent an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant contemporary social, political, economic, and military aspects of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs; official reports of governments and international organizations; numerous periodicals; the authors' previous research and observations; and interviews with individuals who have special competence in Dominican, Haitian, and Latin American affairs. Chapter bibliographies appear at the end of the book; brief comments on sources recommended for further reading appear at the end of each chapter. To the extent possible, place-names conform with the system used by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided to assist readers unfamiliar with metric measurements (see table 1, Appendix). A glossary is also included.
Although there are numerous variations, Spanish surnames generally consist of two parts: the patrilineal name followed by the matrilineal one. In the instance of Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo, for example, Balaguer is his father's surname and Ricardo, his mother's maiden name. In nonformal use, the matrilineal name is often dropped. Thus, after the first mention, just Balaguer is used. A minority of individuals use only the patrilineal name.
Creole words used in the text may be presented in forms that are unfamiliar to readers who have done previous research on Haiti. The Creole orthography employed in this volume is that developed by the National Pedagogic Institute (Institut P~dagogique National-IPN), which has been the standard in Haiti since 1978.
The body of the text reflects information available as of December 1999. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated: the Introduction discusses significant events that have occurred since the completion of research, the Country Profiles and the tables include updated information as available, and the Bibliography lists recently published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.
Figure 1. Dominican Republic and Haiti: Topography and Drainage
THE HISTORIES OF THE TWO countries on the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, have been inextricably intertwined. However, despite their similarities in some areas, they have important differences. The whole island, the first Spanish settlement in the New World and named Santo Domingo by Christopher Columbus in 1492, experienced decimation of its indigenous Indian, primarily Taino, population as a result of the Indians' treatment by colonial settlers. African slaves were brought to both sides of the island as early as the first part of the sixteenth century to supply the needed labor force for sugar plantations. Spain ruled the entire island until 1697, when, under the Treaty of Ryswick, it ceded the western third of the island, which then became known as Saint-Domingue, to France.
During the eighteenth century, important demographic differences emerged. The population of Santo Domingo grew rapidly as trade reforms occurred, and by 1790 the country had some 100,000 people, roughly equal numbers of whites, free coloreds, and slaves. In contrast, Saint-Domingue, the most prosperous agricultural colony in the Western Hemisphere, had some 30,000 whites, 27,000 freedmen, and 400,000 black slaves. Differences in the economies of the two countries affected the makeup of the population. Santo Domingo engaged primarily in subsistence agriculture, requiring fewer slaves, and Spanish legislation enabled slaves to buy their freedom for relatively small sums. The result was a more egalitarian society than that of Saint-Domingue, which featured a more racially stratified population.
The resultant race-based tensions in Saint-Domingue, combined with the influences of the French Revolution, led to a struggle for independence from France that started in August 1791. The rebellion began as a slave uprising against whites and developed into the Haitian Revolution, headed by such figures as Toussaint Louverture. The uprising ultimately culminated in Haiti's proclamation of independence in 1804. Meanwhile, Spain, which had suffered setbacks on the European continent and was unable to maintain its hold on Santo Domingo, turned the area over to France in a peace treaty in 1795. Toussaint entered Santo Domingo in January 1801 and
abolished slavery; later, however, the French reinstituted slavery in the area under their control in the east. The return of Spanish landowners to Santo Domingo in the early 1800s and the blockade by the British of the port of Santo Domingo led to the final departure of the French in 1809 and the return of Spanish rule. This rule was short-lived, however, because JeanPierre Boyer, as president of now independent Haiti, invaded Santo Domingo in 1822, and Haiti occupied the country for twenty-two years.
Subsequent Dominican leaders have revived memories of Haiti's harsh treatment of the inhabitants during its occupation of Santo Domingo, fueling Dominican dislike of Haitians. Moreover, during the occupation, Haitians, who associated the Roman Catholic Church with their colonial oppressors, confiscated Dominican Roman Catholic churches and property and severed the church's connection to the Vatican. Such historical experience caused Dominicans to see themselves as culturally and religiously different from Haitians and promoted a desire for independence. Building on this sentiment, Juan Pablo Duarte founded in 1838 a secret movement whose motto was "God, Country, and Liberty," defining Dominican nationality in religious and Hispanic terms. The overthrow of Boyer in the Haitian Revolution of 1843 further helped activate the Dominican struggle for independence, which occurred in February 1844.
Independence, however, did not bring either the Dominican Republic or Haiti a democratic central government organization but rather the rule of a series of strong men, or caudillos. Independence was also accompanied by political instability and interspersed with interference and sometimes occupation by one or another of the major powers, including the United States. In addition to taking charge of the finances of both countries on different occasions to ensure that the United States sphere of influence was not invaded by European powers seeking to recover debts that had not been paid, the United States occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934 and the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924. Although strongman rule was accompanied frequently by liberal-sounding constitutions (since 1844 the Dominican Republic has had thirty-two constitutions, while Haiti has had twenty-four constitutions since 1804), such documents were ignored when it was convenient to do so, altered unilaterally, or negated by sham plebiscites. Major instances of such strongman regimes were those of
Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, and Fran ois Duvalier, followed by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, in Haiti from 1957 to 1986.
Accompanying these political developments was the grinding poverty of the vast majority of the population in both countries, apart from a small wealthy landowning class, Although the Dominican Republic has succeeded in improving its lot, Haiti today is considered by the World Bank (see Glossary) to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and extensive malnutrition continues to be a serious concern. Moreover, a 1998 study done under the auspices of the United Nations Population Fund concluded that at an average of 4.8 births per woman, Haiti had the highest birthrate in the Western Hemisphere, double that of Latin America as a whole. Haiti's infant mortality rate of seventy per 1,000 is twice as high as that of the Dominican Republic, and Haiti's gross domestic product (GDP-see Glossary), variously given as between $200 and $400 per person, is less than one-fourth that of the Dominican Republic.
Haiti's high birth rate has put enormous pressure on the land, given the country's small amount of arable land in relation to the size of the population. National data gathered in 1995 revealed that 48 percent of the total land area in Haiti was being cultivated, although only 28 percent of the country's land is suitable for farming. The situation has resulted in serious soil erosion, loss of forest cover, and meager incomes for rural dwellers, who are estimated to represent some 59 percent of the population. Agriculture produces only about 25 percent of gross national product (GNP-see Glossary), yet agricultural work engages about two-thirds of the national labor force.
Haiti's economy has suffered not only from inefficiency and corruption but also from the three-year United Nations (UN) embargo placed on the country following the ouster of the democratically elected government of jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-94). To obtain needed funds from the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF-see Glossary), Haiti promised in 1994 to make such reforms as privatization and reductions in the size of its civil service. In practice, however, the Haitian administration found it politically unwise to maintain these commitments. Nevertheless, Haiti continues to receive international aid, including World Bank funding for two projects seeking to assist the poorest elements of the population-an Employment Generation Pro ect and a Basic Infra-
structure Project designed to improve social services. In addition, the United States Agency for International Development spent more than US$300 million in Haiti over the period from 1994 to 1999, vaccinating people, providing food for school children, improving hillside agriculture to increase farmer income, grafting fruit trees, and repairing roads. In general, however, since the restoration of democratically elected government in 1994, Haiti has experienced political instability and as a consequence, difficulty in attracting foreign investment or tourists.
Progress in the Dominican Republic's economic sphere, albeit more positive than Haiti's, has been uneven. Such sectors as the free-trade zones in which assembly plants are located and tourism are doing relatively well. Growth in tourism has been significant and steady, featuring an increase of 10 percent in 1999 over 1998 and an announcement by the Secretariat of State for Tourism that the number of tourists for the first three months of 2000 represented a 25 percent gain over 1999. Despite this progress, according to the Third National Survey of Household Expenditures and Incomes announced in November 1999, some 21 percent of the Dominican population is estimated to live in extreme poverty, including 33 percent of citizens in rural areas. Most residents of such areas lack access to potable water and some 25 percent lack electricity. Furthermore, a significant part of the population is affected by deficiencies in health care, housing, sanitation, and education. General dissatisfaction over lack of water supply, power outages, insufficient housing construction, and failure to repair roads led to strikes and popular demonstrations in 1999 and early 2000. The aftermath of Hurricane Georges that hit in September 1998 has aggravated the situation. Recovery is as yet incomplete despite international assistance, including the deployment of 3,000 United States Army personnel in 1999 to participate in Operation Caribbean Castle to rebuild destroyed bridges and rural schools.
The economy of the Dominican Republic is strongly affected by the legacy of the country's troubled relationship with Haiti and its people. On the one hand, Haitian workers are needed for Dominican coffee and sugar harvests and for unskilled construction work. On the other hand, the Dominican government institutes regular deportations of Haitians and DominicoHaitians born in the Dominican Republic. At present, some 2,000 to 3,000 Haitians are deported monthly. In late 1999,
30,000 Haitians were reportedly deported, causing problems for the subsequent coffee harvest, which usually employs some 35,000 Haitian coffeepickers.
Recognizing that Haiti not only constitutes a significant source of the Dominican unskilled work force but also represents a market for Dominican goods, some Dominican leaders have begun to urge that the Dominican Republic join other countries in providing aid to Haiti. In an address to a graduating class of Dominican diplomats in 1999, President Leonel Ferndndez Reyna stated that the international community needed to promote Haiti's social and economic development. Earlier, in August 1999, the Dominican deputy minister of state for foreign affairs predicted that Haitians would continue their illegal migration to the Dominican Republic until political stability, economic progress, and a more equitable distribution of wealth were achieved in Haiti. However, in January 2000 the Dominican secretary of state for labor announced that no new work permits would be given to Haitians to enter the Dominican Republic to cut sugarcane. Instead, he advised Dominican employers to improve working conditions in the cane fields in order either to induce Haitians already in the Dominican Republic-500,000 Haitians are reportedly in the Dominican Republic-to work there or to attract indigenous Dominican workers. That a sizeable pool of potential Haitian workers exists in the Dominican Republic is suggested by the fact that in late 1999, the Haitian embassy in Santo Domingo issued 44,000 birth certificates to Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Although the possession of a birth certificate does not give a Haitian legal status in the Dominican Republic, it enables the person to acquire a Haitian passport, which is a prerequisite for obtaining temporary work. Concern over the living conditions of Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic caused a number of Dominicans in the spring of 2000 to organize a peace march through Haiti to promote better conditions for such workers.
Drug trafficking continues to plague both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Concern over increased smuggling of cocaine and heroin from Colombia through the Dominican Republic and Haiti, to the greater New York area via Puerto Rico and South Florida for East Coast distribution, has resulted in a series of efforts to disrupt the traffic. One is a coordinated plan by the United States and the Dominican Republic to deploy soldiers in cities and military outposts along the 223-
mile Dominican-Haitian border. The new Dominican interagency border patrol unit, which was formed in January 2000, will also act against illegal Haitian immigration and shipments of contraband weapons. In December 1999, the Dominican and Haitian police agreed to cooperate to fight drug trafficking, car theft, money laundering, and illegal immigration along their common border. To these ends, the Dominican Republic is setting up computerized police posts along the frontier. The chief of the United States Coast Guard visited the Dominican Republic in late March 2000 to coordinate implementation of the anti-drug efforts with the Dominican navy and the Secretariat of State for the Armed Forces. To date the various efforts are reportedly proving ineffective against corruption and the increased assault by traffickers on the vulnerable borders and institutions of Hispaniola. With regard to immigration control, in March 1999, the Dominican president and the governor of Puerto Rico met to strengthen measures against illegal Dominican immigration to Puerto Rico and thence to the United States mainland (Dominicans are the largest immigrant group in New York City).
Political instability and corruption have plagued both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The problem has been particularly severe in Haiti since the end of the Duvalier regime. Following Jean-Claude Duvalier's ouster in 1986, a group of generals, for years Duvalier loyalists, played a major role in the interim government. During elections in November 1987, Duvalierist supporters killed numerous Haitians waiting to vote, causing all the candidates to condemn the interim government. Several fraudulent elections or seizures of power by military figures followed, prior to the election of a Roman Catholic priest, jean-Bertrand Aristide, in December 1990. Identified with the poor, Aristide represented a threat to the country's establishment and was overthrown by a military coup after being in office less than a year. Following a United Nations-sanctioned, multilateral military intervention, Aristide was restored to office in October 1994. When Aristide's term expired in 1996, he was succeeded by Ren6 Pr6val. A bitter power struggle between Pr6val and the parliament, however, paralyzed Haiti's government and resulted in total governmental gridlock in 1997 and 1998. In consequence, Haiti again began to experience popular unrest, opposition-in cited incidents, and a stagnating economy. In December 1998, Pr6val's candidate for prime minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis, was con-
firmed by a sharply divided legislature. In January 1999, Pr&val dissolved parliament because the electoral terms for most officials had expired, appointed municipal officials as "interim executive agents" of the Ministry of Interior, and began to rule by decree until elections could be held.
Complexities involved in setting up national elections resulted in three postponements from the original November 1998 election date. To facilitate elections, the United States provided $3.5 million in aid for voter registration and allocated an additional $10-15 million toward the estimated election cost of $18.5 million. Haiti contributed a further $9 million.
Haiti's sporadic violence, including shootings and other political disturbances-and the resulting danger to United States personnel-led Marine General Charles E. Wilhelm of the United States Southern Command, in February 1999 closed-door testimony before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, to advocate the withdrawal from Haiti of remaining United States troops. These 500 military personnel, remnants of the 20,000-strong force that went to Haiti during the international intervention of September 1994, had assisted Haiti by providing medical care to the populace, constructing schools, repairing wells, and training police. The last United States forces permanently stationed in Haiti left in February 2000, but periodic training visits of United States military personnel, including the use of armed forces reservists, continue.
A UN mission continues training the Haitian police force. Haitian faith in the rule of law has been severely tested, however, because of police abuses that are exacerbated by a dysfunctional judiciary. Violence can reach alarming levels in Haiti, as it did in the period preceding the May 2000 elections. Human rights activists have pressured former president Aristide to use his stature to denounce the use of violence. To date, Aristide has been unwilling to follow such a course, preferring to take steps behind the scenes as opposed to making public statements.
In May 2000, Haiti held elections for 7,500 posts, including the entire Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of the Senate as well as numerous municipal offices. Twenty-nine thousand candidates from a wide spectrum of political parties and organizations participated. Several hundred international observers joined a well organized national network of several thousand domestic observers. Voter turnout was at least 60 percent of the
4 million persons eligible. Despite delays, loud complaints from among the losing parties, some incidents, and various apparent irregularities in voting, the elections held on May 21 were termed "credible" by international and domestic observers and by the Organization of American States (OAS) Election Observation Mission.
Although the Lavalas Family, the party of Aristide. apparently gained a substantial election victory at the ballot box, the OAS subsequently discovered a serious error in the method of determining the winners -of Senate races as announced by the Provisional Electoral Council. The OAS asked the Council to recalculate the percentage of votes won by all candidates, an action that could force several declared Senate winners to take part in runoff voting. The runoff election was rescheduled for July 9. The Council, with strong support from the presidential palace, refused to accept the OAS recommendations, however, creating an emerging international confrontation. This conflict is only the latest chapter in Haiti's troubled quest for postdictatorial democracy.
Conditions are somewhat better in the Dominican Republic, although there, too, political instability has existed. Leonel Ferndndez won the 1996 runoff elections, but he has been unsuccessful in implementing many of his programs because of his party's small representation in Congress. In the 1998 elections, following the death of Jos6 Pefia G6mez, his opposition party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Dominicano-PRD), made sweeping gains. As a result, Congress in 1998 passed a new law abolishing the security of tenure of judges that Fern~indez had achieved and making judges subject to reappointment every four years. A poll taken in April 2000 showed that no candidate for the May 2000 presidential elections had the just over 50 percent needed for election (Fern~indez was ineligible to run again). As it developed, with 99 percent of the ballots counted, the Electoral Council announced the evening of May 17 that the opposition PRD candidate, Hipolito Mejia, had received 49.87 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, Danilo Medina of the governing Dominican Liberation Party, had 24.94 percent of the vote, and seven-time former president Joaquin Balaguer had 24.6 percent. At a press conference on May 18, Medina stated that a June 30 runoff election would cost too much in time, money, and tension and that a continued campaign would hurt the economy. Therefore he "acknowledged the victory of the
PRD," laying the groundwork for Mejia's inauguration on August 16.
The latest round of Hispaniola's elections indicates that while each side of the island has moved away markedly from the strong-man role of the past, the transition to the peaceful, transparent, and capable democratic governance required for much-needed sustained social and economic development will continue to be fraught with problems.
June 30, 2000 Helen Chapin Metz
Dominican Republic: Counry Profile
Formal Name: Dominican Republic. Short Form: Dominican Republic. Term for Citizens: Dominicans. Capital: Santo Domingo. Geography
Size: Approximately 48,442 square kilometers.
Topography: Mountain ranges divide country into three regions: northern, central, and southwestern. Seven major drainage basins, most important that of Yaque del Norte River. Largest body of water, Lago Enriquillo (Lake Enriquillo), in southwest. Highest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, rises in Cordillera Central (Central Range) to height of 3,087 meters. Climate: Primarily tropical, with temperatures varying according to altitude. Seasons defined more by rainfall than by temperature. For most of country, rainy season runs roughly from May through October; dry season, from November through April. Rainfall not uniform throughout country because of mountain ranges. Tropical cyclones strike country on average of once every two years and usually have greatest impact along southern coast.
Population: Annual rate of increase has been declining; was 1.6 percent in mid-i 990s. Total population estimated at just over 8 million in 1997.
Ethnic Groups: Approximately 75 percent of mid-i 990s population mulatto, a legacy of black slavery during colonial period. Approximately 10 percent white; 15 percent black. Education and Literacy: An estimated 82 percent of population literate in 1997. Education system includes six years of compulsory primary education, an additional six years of secondary education, and higher education at one of more than twenty-seven postsecondary institutions. Major university and sole public institution is Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (Universidad Aut6noma de Santo DomingoUASD), with four regional centers in 1990s. Health: State-funded health programs reach 80 percent of population in theory (but 40 percent in reality). Facilities concentrated in Santo Domingo and Santiago de los Caballeros (Santiago); service in rural areas suffers accordingly. Main causes of death: pulmonary, circulatory, and cardiovascular diseases. Average life expectancy seventy years for 1990-95 period.
Religion: More than 80 percent Roman Catholic. Protestant groups also active; evangelicals have been most successful in
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): About US$5.8 billion in 1996, or approximately US$716 per capita. Agriculture: Declining in significance since 1960s when agriculture employed almost 60 percent of workforce, accounted for 25 percent of GDP, and generated 80 to 90 percent of total exports. By 1992 sector's share of exports had dropped to 43 percent and it employed 28 percent of labor force. By end 1995, agriculture's share of GDP at 12.7 percent and it employed 12.9 percent of workforce. Importance of sugar, traditionally major crop, has declined steadily; other significant crops: coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. Implementation of Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) (see Glossary) provided reduced tariff access to United States market for such items as ornamental plants, winter vegetables, spices, nuts, citrus, and tropical fruits.
Industry: Domestic manufacturing and assembly operations in free zones accounted for 18.3 percent of GDP in 1998. Domestic manufacturing, including consumer goods, food, and cigar production, grew by 10.1 percent in first half 1998. Growth resulted partly from dramatic increase in United States demand for cigars, for which Dominican Republic is leading supplier. Industrial free zones numbered thirty-three by 1995 and employed some 165,000 workers in 469 companies; number of employees increased to 182,000 in 1997, but number of firms operating in free zones dropped to 434. Freezone exports generated needed foreign exchange: US$2 billion in 1996 and US$3.8 billion in 1997-almost 75 percent of total Dominican export earnings. Services: Tourism leading service industry; generated more than US$1.55 billion in foreign exchange in 1995 and US$2-1 billion in 1997. Sector employed 44,000 hotel workers directly and additional I 10,000 indirectly. Number of tourists almost tripled in ten years, from 278,000 in 1975 to 792,000 in 1985, surpassed I million in 1987, andjumped to 1,766,800 in 1994 to 1,930,000 in 1996 to 2,211,000 in 1997. In 1997 country became second largest earner of tourism dollars in Caribbean, after Mexico.
Currency: Issued by Central Bank of the Dominican Republic
since 1948, Dominican Republic peso (RD$) was officially maintained on par with US$ until 1985, when it was floated (and devalued) against the dollar until it stabilized at US$1 RD$6.35 in 1989. After experiments with multiple exchange rates, all rates were unified in 1997 on free-market basis and at initial rate of US$1 = RD$ 14. After Hurricane Georges, official rate dropped to US$1 = RD$15.46. Commercial rate was US$1 = RD$ 16.25 in January 2000.
Imports: Total imports in 1998: US$3,403.1 million. Deep plunge in oil prices reduced Dominican fuel bill by about 20 percent to US$336 million in first half 1998, but total value of imports increased by 15 percent over 1997 as aftermath of Hurricane Georges, which left 300 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. Government officials estimated surge in imports related to reconstruction effort at US$700 million through 1999.
Exports: Total exports in 1998: US$2,457.6 million. Sharp decline in world commodity prices caused by 1997 Asian currency crisis created negative impact on trade deficit. Exports of nickel, major Dominican earner of foreign exchange, suffered 27 percent price drop and fell 38.4 percent in 1998. Coffee exports adversely affected by 10 percent decline in international prices. Export of sugar and sugar products in 1998 decreased 29.6 percent, mainly as result of 24 percent cut in Dominican international sugar quota. Balance of Payments: Trade deficits continued into 1990s, hitting record US$1.639 billion in 1993, 1.4 percent increase over 1992, and exceeding US$1.5 billion in 1994. Deficits registered continued deterioration: from US$832 million in first half 1997 to US$945 million in first half 1998. Fiscal Year: Calendar year.
Fiscal Policy: President Leonel Ferndindez Reyna's campaign against tax evasion (upon taking office in 1996) proved successful: budgetary income in 1997 was 31 percent higher than in 1996. Reforms in late 1990s included strengthening Central Bank's autonomy and tightening credit and wage systems. Inflation plunged from 80 percent in 1990 to 9 percent in 1995. External public debt as share of GDP more than halved (to 33 percent) in same period. Unemployment rate declined from about 20 percent in 1991-93 to about 16 percent in 1995.
Transportation and Communications
Roads: Most roadways of 17,200-kilometer network narrow and flood easily. Worsening conditions prompted World Bank (see Glossary) and Inter-American Development Bank to finance better maintenance systems. Major road construction program initiated in late 1Y90s to develop intercity routes and urban projects in Santo Domingo.
Railroads: 1,600-kilometer railroad system, one of longest in Caribbean, most of which owned by state sugar enterprise. Several private rail companies also serve sugar industry. Ports: Of fourteen ports, only five are major. Largest, Santo Domingo, handles 80 percent of imports; has cruiseliner berth enlarged in 1997. Other major ports include Haina, Boca Chica, and San Pedro de Macoris on south coast, and Puerta Plata on north coast.
Airports: Five international airports: Santo Domingo, Puerta Plata, Punta Cana, La Romana, and Barahona. Sixth airport under construction at Samand. in late 1990s. Puerto Plata and Punta Cana main airports for charter flights; Las Am~ricas near Santo Domingo for scheduled flights. American Airlines dominant carrier, with routes to many United States cities, chiefly Miami and New York.
Telecommunications: Industry fastest growing element of economy, doubling share of GDP to 4.6 percent since government opened sector to competition in 1990. In first half 1998, grew by 20.8 percent. Telephone system includes direct domestic and international dialing, toll-free access to United States through 800 numbers, high-speed data transmission capabilities, fiber-optic cables, and digital switching.
Government and Politics
Government: Republic with elected representative governmental system. Executive is dominant branch. Presidents serve four-year terms and, following a 1994 constitutional reform, cannot be reelected immediately. Legislature, known formally as Congress of the Republic, consists of Senate and Chamber of Deputies. judicial power exercised by Supreme Court of justice and by other courts created by 1966 constitution and by law. Following a 1994
constitutional reform, Supreme Court judges are chosen by a Council of the Magistrature, with membership from all three branches of government; other judges are chosen by the Supreme Court. Provincial (state) governors appointed by president; municipalities (counties) governed by elected mayors and municipal councils. Politics: Following independence from Haiti in 1844, country characterized by instability for almost a century. Dictator Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina took power in 1930 and ruled in repressive authoritarian fashion until his assassination in 1961. Brief civil war in 1965 between liberal Constitutionalistssupporters of 1963 constitution promulgated during shortlived presidency of Juan Bosch Gavifio-and conservative Loyalist military factions. Subsequent elections brought Trujillo prot~g& Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo to presidency, an office he held for twelve years. Balaguer's attempt to nullify 1978 elections thwarted by pressure from Washington, allowing Silvestre Antonio Guzman Fernindez of social democratic Dominican Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Dominicano-PRD) to assume nation's leadership. PRD also won 1982 elections with lawyer Salvador Jorge Blanco as its standard bearer. Both PRD governments plagued by economic difficulties that forced them to institute austerity measures instead of social reforms they initially advocated. Declining popularity of Jorge Blanco government contributed to Balaguer's election for a fourth term beginning in 1986. Balaguer retained power through increasingly conflictual and questioned elections in 1990 and 1994; he agreed to shorten his term in 1994 to two years and accept constitutional reforms including no immediate reelection. Leonel Ferndndez Reyna of the Party of Dominican Liberation (Partido de la Liberaci6n Dominicana-PLD) won 1996 presidential elections. International Relations: Diplomatic activities concentrated on Caribbean, Latin America, United States, and Western Europe. Relations with neighboring Haiti traditionally strained as a result of historical conflicts, cultural divergences, and most recently, increased migration into the Dominican Republic from Haiti. Most important international relationship with United States, on which Dominican Republic has political, economic, and strategic dependence. International Agreements and Memberships: Signatory of Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty)
and all major inter-American conventions. Member of United Nations and its specialized agencies, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund (see Glossary), InterAmerican Development Bank, and other multilateral financial institutions. Also member of World Trade Organization, African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of Nations, and other regional trade groupings.
Armed Forces: Dominican armed forces consist of army, navy, and air force. Total personnel in 1999 reported to be 24,300. Organization: President is constitutional commander in chief. Chain of command extends downward to secretary of state for the armed forces, then to deputy secretaries of state for individual branches of service, each of which administered through a chief of staff and a general staff. Chiefs of staff exercise operational control except in emergencies. Country divided into three defense zones: Southern Defense Zone, Western Defense Zone, and Northern Defense Zone. Equipment: Army equipment includes twenty-four French and United States light tanks, armored vehicles, half-tracks, and towed howitzers, largely outmoded and poorly maintained. Dominican navy in 1999 consisted primarily of twelve armed patrol vessels, mostly United States-made craft of World War 11 vintage. Dominican air force organized into three flying squadrons: one of Cessna A-37B Dragonflyjets, one of C-47 transports, and one of helicopters. Police: Internal security responsibility shared by armed forces and National Police. Total police manpower in 1998 about 15,000. Commanded by director general subordinate to secretary of state for interior and police. National Department of Investigations, a domestic intelligence unit, and National Drug Control Directorate are independent bodies reporting directly to president.
r 71tantic Ocean
North Atantic Ocean
S- Provincial boundary @ National capital
* Provincial capital
Boundary representation not necessarily authoritative
Dominican Republic: Administrative Divisions
La Altagracia (11) Maria Trinidad Saman! (8) Azua (20) Sanchez (7) San Crist6bal (23)
Baoruco (27) Monsehor Nouel (22) Sanchez Ramirez (16)
Barahona (29) Monte Cristi (1) San Juan (19)
Dajab6n (12) Monte Plata (17) San Pedro de
Duarte (6) National District (24) Macoris (25)
Elias Pila (18) Pedernales (30) Santiago (14) Espaillat (4) Peravia (21) Santiago Rodriguez (1
Hato Mayor (9) Puerto Plata (3) El Seibo (10) Independencia (28) La Romana (26) Valverde (2)
La Vega (15)
Figure 2. Dominican Republic: Administrative Divisions, 1999
Table A. Dominican Republic: Chronology of Important Events
1492 Columbus lands at present-day M6le Saint-Nicolas, Haiti; establishes
first permanent Spanish New World settlement at site of Santo Domingo.
1492-1697 Spain colonizes Hispaniola.
1503 NicolAs de Ovando named governor and supreme justice; institutes
encomienda system. Importation of African slaves begins. 1586 Sir Francis Drake captures city of Santo Domingo, collects ransom
for returning it to Spain.
1697 Spain, under Treaty of Ryswick, cedes western third of Hispaniola
(Saint-Domingue-modern Haiti) to France. 1801 Toussaint Louverture invades Santo Domingo, abolishes slavery.
1802 France occupies the Spanish-speaking colony, reinstituting slavery in
that part of the island.
1809 Spanish rule is restored.
1818-43 Under presidency of Jean-Pierre Boyer, Haiti invades and occupies
Santo Domingo; abolishes slavery.
1821 Spanish lieutenant governorJos6 Nifiez de Ciceres declares colony's independence as Spanish Haiti. 1838 Juan Pablo Duarte creates secret independence movement, La Trinitaria.
1844 February 27 La Trinitaria members and others rebel; Santo Domingo gains independence.
July 12 Pedro Santana's forces take Santo Domingo and proclaim Santana
1849 Buenaventura Biez M~ndez becomes president; Santana expels him
in 1853. (Bdiez resumes presidency 1865-66, 1868-74, 1878-79). 1861 March 18 Santana announces annexation of Dominican Republic by Spain.
1865 March 3 Queen of Spain approves repeal of Santo Domingo annexation.
1882-99 Ulises Heureaux rules as president/dictator.
1905 General Customs Receivership established; United States administers Dominican finances.
1916-24 United States marines occupy Dominican Republic
1930-61 Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina, head of National Guard, becomes
president/dictator; rules directly or indirectly until assassinated. 1937 Dominican military massacre some 15,000-20,000 Haitians near
1942 Dominican women given suffrage.
1965 April 28 United States intervenes, fearing a potential communist takeover
because Dominican troops are unable to control a civil war. 1966-78 Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo becomes president in 1966, and United
States troops leave.
1978-82 Antonio Guzmin Fernandez becomes president; creates a more
1982-86 SalvadorJorge Blanco elected president.
1986-96 Balaguer returns to presidency.
1996 In free elections, Leonel Fernandez Reyna is elected in second
Table A. (Cont.) Dominican Republic: Chronology of Important Events
1997 Newly created Council of the Magistrature appoints a distinguished
new Supreme Court.
1998 May Fair congressional and municipal elections held one week after
death of noted politician Jos6 Francisco Pefia Comez.
Chapter 1. Dominican Republic:
Tomb of the three fathers of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo
IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, the past has weighed heavily on current political practices. The country's historical evolution, for example, has proved particularly inimical to democratic development, deviating significantly from patterns viewed as optimum for the development of democracy. Political scientist Robert Dahl has argued that sequences in which successful experiences with limited liberalization are followed by gradually greater inclusiveness appear to favor democracy. The analyst Eric Nordlinger has asserted that the pattern most promising for the development of democracy is one in which national identity emerges first, then legitimate and authoritative state structures are institutionalized, and ultimately mass parties and a mass electorate emerge with the extension of citizenship rights to non-elite elements.
The pattern followed by the Dominican Republic was very different. The country's colonial period was marked by the decimation of the indigenous population, and then by poverty and warfare. National integration was truncated, first by a Haitian invasion and then by the attempts of some Dominican elites to trade nascent Dominican sovereignty for security by having foreign powers annex the country, while enriching themselves in the process. State building also suffered under the dual impact of international vulnerability and unstable, neopatrimonial, authoritarian politics. Both integration and state building were also impaired by bitter regional struggles based on different economic interests and desires for power that accentuated the politics of the country. In this context, the failure of early efforts to extend liberal guarantees and citizenship rights to vast sectors of the population served to reinforce past patterns of behavior. Nonetheless, reform efforts continually reemerged.
Indeed, a Dominican state arguably did not emerge until the late nineteenth century or even the era of Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina (1930-61). Trujillo's emergence, in turn, was unquestionably facilitated by changes wrought by the eightyear United States occupation of the Dominican Republic at the beginning of the twentieth century. Trujillo's pattern of rule could not have been more hostile to democratic governance. His centralization of power, monopolization of the economy, destruction or co-optation of enemies, and astonish-
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Counhy Studies
ing constitutional hypocrisy were, however, combined with the forging of national integration, the establishment of state institutions, and the beginnings of industrialization, although in a distorted manner.
Thus, the country essentially had no history of democratic rule prior to 1961, despite the presence of a liberal constitutional tradition. In the context of contradictory and extensive United States actions both to foster democracy and to block perceived communist threats, efforts toward democratic transition following the death of Trujillo ultimately failed. The shortlived democratic regime of Juan Bosch Gavifio (1962) was followed by unstable governments and ultimately by United States intervention in 1965 out of fear of a "second Cuba." A key figure from the Trujillo era, Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo, was to govern the country for twenty-two of the next thirty years, from 1966 to 1978 and again from 1986 to 1996. His rule combined political stagnation with dramatic socioeconomic transformation. The 1978 democratic transition following Balaguer's authoritarian twelve-year period in office ended in return to the pre-democratic status quo. Although Balaguer was ushered back into office through democratic elections in 1986, his increasingly authoritarian rule finally ended when he stepped down from the presidency in 1996.
The Dominican Republic is entering the new millennium bolstered by potential changes in political leadership, significant evolution in the country's social structure, and an international environment more favorable to political democracy. However, the country also faces formidable challenges in terms of continued political fragmentation, difficult economic adjustments, and corruption and criminal violence associated in part with drug trafficking.
The First Colony
The island of Hispaniola (La Isla Espafiola) was the first New World colony settled by Spain. Christopher Columbus first sighted the island in 1492 toward the end of his first voyage to 11 the Indies." Columbus and his crew found the island inhabited by a large population of friendly Taino (Arawak) Indians, who made the explorers welcome. The land was fertile, but of greater importance to the Spaniards was the discovery that gold could be obtained either by barter with the natives or by extraction from alluvial deposits on the island.
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
Spain's first permanent settlement in the New World was established on the southern coast at the present site of Santo Domingo. Under Spanish sovereignty, the entire island bore the name Santo Domingo. Indications of the presence of gold-the lifeblood of the nascent mercantilist system-and a population of tractable natives who could be used as laborers combined to attract Spanish newcomers interested in acquiring wealth quickly during the early years. Their relations with the Taino Indians, whom they ruthlessly maltreated, deteriorated from the beginning. Aroused by continued seizures of their food supplies, other exactions, and abuse of their women, the formerly peaceful Indians rebelled-only to be crushed decisively in 1495.
Columbus, who ruled the colony as royal governor until 1499, devised the repartimiento system of land settlement and native labor under which a settler, without assuming any obligation to the authorities, could be granted in perpetuity a large tract of land together with the services of the Indians living on it.
In 1508 the Spanish crown instituted the encomienda system. Under this system, all land became in theory the property of the crown, and the Indians were considered tenants on royal land. The crown's right to service from the tenants could be transferred in trust to individual Spanish settlers (encomenderos) by formal grant and the regular payment of tribute. The encomenderos were entitled to certain days of labor from the Indians, and they assumed the responsibility of providing for the physical well-being of the Indians and for their instruction in Christianity. Although an encomienda theoretically did not involve ownership of land, in practice it did-ownership was just gained through other means.
The privations that the Indians suffered demonstrated the unrealistic nature of the encomienda system, which the Spanish authorities never effectively enforced. The Indian population died off rapidly from exhaustion, starvation, disease, and other causes. When the Spanish landed, they forced an estimated 400,000 Tainos (out of a total Taino population of some 1 million) to work for them; by 1508 the Tainos numbered only around 60,000. By 1535 only a few dozen were still alive. The need for a new labor force to meet the growing demands of sugarcane cultivation in the 1520s prompted an increase in the importation of African slaves, which had begun in 1503. By
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Countiy Studies
1546 the colony had some 12,000 slaves and a white population of under 5,000.
The granting of land without any obligation to central authorities, as was done under the repartimiento system, led to a rapid decentralization of power. Power was also diffused because of the tendency of the capital city, Santo Domingo (which also served as the seat of government for the entire Spanish Indies), to orient itself toward continental America, which provided gold for the crown, and toward Spain, which provided administrators, supplies, and immigrants to the colonies. With little contact existing between the capital and the hinterland, local government was doomed to be ineffective, and for practical purposes the countryside fell under the sway of the large local landowners.
As early as the 1490s, the landowners among the Spanish colonists successfully conspired against Columbus. His successor, Francisco de Bobadilla, was appointed chief justice and royal commissioner by the Spanish crown in 1499. Bobadilla sent Columbus back to Spain in irons; Queen Isabella soon ordered him released. Bobadilla, who had proved an inept administrator, was replaced in 1503 by the more efficient Nicolds de Ovando, who assumed the titles of governor and supreme justice. Because of his success in initiating reforms desired by the crown-the encomienda system among them-Ovando received the title of Founder of Spain's Empire in the Indies.
In 1509 Columbus's son, Diego, was appointed governor of the colony of Santo Domingo. Diego's ambition aroused the suspicions of the crown, which in 1511 established the audiencia, a new political institution intended to check the power of the governor. The first audiencia was simply a tribunal composed of three judges whose jurisdiction extended over all the West Indies. The tribunal's influence grew, and in 1524 it was designated the Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo (Audiencia Real de Santo Domingo), with jurisdiction in the Caribbean, the Atlantic coast of Central America and Mexico, and the northern coast of South America. As a court representing the crown, the audiencia was given expanded powers that encompassed administrative, legislative, and consultative functions; the number ofjudges increased correspondingly. In criminal cases, the audiencia's decisions were final, but important civil suits could be appealed to the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies (Real y Supremo Consejo de Indias) in Spain.
Dominican Republic: Histotical Setting
The Council of the Indies, created by Charles V in 1524, was the Spanish crown's main agency for directing colonial affairs. During most of its existence, the council exercised almost absolute power in making laws, administering justice, controlling finance and trade, supervising the church, and directing armies.
The arm of the Council of the Indies that dealt with all matters concerned with commerce between Spain and the colonies in the Americas was the House of Trade (Casa de Contrataci6n), organized in 1503. Control of commerce in general, and of tax collection in particular, was facilitated by the designation of monopoly seaports on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Trade between the colonies and countries other than Spain was prohibited. The crown also restricted trade among the colonies. These restrictions hampered economic activity in the New World and encouraged contraband traffic.
The Roman Catholic Church became the primary agent in spreading Spanish culture in the Americas. The ecclesiastical organization developed for Santo Domingo and later established throughout Spanish America reflected a union of church and state closer than that which actually prevailed in Spain itself. The Royal Patronage of the Indies (Real Patronato de Indias, or, as it was called later, the Patronato Real) served as the organizational agent of this affiliation of the church and the Spanish crown.
Santo Domingo's importance to Spain declined in the first part of the sixteenth century as the gold mines became exhausted and the local Indian population was decimated. With the conquest of Mexico by Herndn Cort6s in 1521 and the discovery there, and later in Peru, of great wealth in gold and silver, large numbers of colonists left for Mexico and Peru, and new immigrants from Spain also largely bypassed Santo Do-mingo.
The stagnation that prevailed in Santo Domingo for the next 250 years was interrupted on several occasions by armed engagements, as the French and British attempted to weaken Spain's economic and political dominance in the New World. In 1586 the British admiral, Sir Francis Drake, captured the city of Santo Domingo and collected a ransom for its return to Spanish control. In 1655 Oliver Cromwell dispatched a British fleet commanded by Sir William Penn to take Santo Domingo. After meeting heavy resistance, the British sailed farther west and tookJamaica instead.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Counhy Studies
The withdrawal of the colonial government from the northern coastal region opened the way for French buccaneers, who had a base on Tortuga Island (Ile de la Tortue), off the northwest coast of present-day Haiti, to settle on Hispaniola in the mid-seventeenth century. The creation of the French West India Company in 1664 signaled France's intention to colonize western Hispaniola. Intermittent warfare went on between French and Spanish settlers over the next three decades; Spain, however, was hard-pressed by warfare in Europe and could not maintain a garrison in Santo Domingo sufficient to protect the entire island against encroachment. In 1697, under the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain ceded the western third of the island to France. The exact boundary of this territory (SaintDomingue-modern Haiti) was not established at the time of cession and remained in question until 1929.
During the first years of the eighteenth century, landowners in the Spanish colony did little with their huge holdings, and the sugar plantations along the southern coast were abandoned because of harassment by pirates. Foreign trade all but ceased, and almost all domestic commerce took place in the capital city.
The Bourbon dynasty replaced the Habsburgs in Spain in 1700. The new regime introduced innovations-especially economic reforms-that gradually began to revive trade in Santo Domingo. The crown progressively relaxed the rigid controls and restrictions on commerce between the mother country and the colonies and among the colonies. By the middle of the century, both immigration and the importation of slaves had increased.
In 1765 the Caribbean islands received authorization for almost unlimited trade with Spanish ports; permission for the Spanish colonies in America to trade among themselves followed in 1774. Soon duties on many commodities were greatly reduced or removed altogether. By 1790 traders from any port in Spain could buy and sell anywhere in Spanish America, and by 1800 Spain had opened colonial trade to all neutral vessels.
As a result of the stimulus provided by the trade reforms, the population of the colony of Santo Domingo increased from about 6,000 in 1737 to approximately 100,000 in 1790, with roughly equal numbers of whites, free coloreds, and slaves. The size and composition of Santo Domingo's population contrasted sharply, however, with that of the neighboring and far more prosperous French colony of Saint-Domingue, where
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
some 30,000 whites and 27,000 freedmen extracted labor from some 400,000 black slaves.
The Struggle for Formal Sovereignty
The nineteenth-century struggle for independence of what was to become the Dominican Republic was an incredibly difficult process, conditioned by the evolution of its neighbor. Although they shared the island of Hispaniola, the colonies of Saint-Domingue and Santo Domingo followed disparate paths, primarily as a result of economic factors. Saint-Domingue was the most productive agricultural colony in the Western Hemisphere, and its output contributed heavily to the economy of France (see French Colony of Saint-Domingue, 1697-1803, ch.6.) Prosperous French plantation owners imported great numbers of slaves from Africa and drove this captive work force ruthlessly. By contrast, Santo Domingo was a small, unimportant, and largely ignored colony with little impact on the economy of Spain.
Although by the end of the eighteenth century economic conditions were improving somewhat, landowners in Santo Domingo did not enjoy the same level of wealth attained by their French counterparts in Saint-Domingue. The absence of market-driven pressure to increase production enabled the domestic labor force to meet the needs of subsistence agriculture and to export at low levels. Thus, Santo Domingo imported far fewer slaves than did Saint-Domingue. Spanish law also allowed a slave to purchase his freedom and that of his family for a relatively small sum. This fact contributed to the higher proportion of freedmen in the Spanish colony than in Haiti; by the turn of the century, freedmen actually constituted the majority of the population. Again, in contrast to conditions in the French colony, this population profile contributed to a somewhat more egalitarian society, plagued much less by racial schisms,
With a revolution against the monarchy well underway in France, the inevitable explosion took place in Saint-Domingue in August 1791 (see Fight for Independence, 1791-1803, ch. 6). The initial reaction of many Spanish colonists to news of the slaughter of Frenchmen by armies of rebellious black slaves was to flee Hispaniola entirely. Spain, however, saw in the unrest an opportunity to seize all or part of the western third of the island through an alliance of convenience with the British. These intentions, however, did not survive encounters in the
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
field with forces led by the former slave Fran~ois Dominique Toussaint Louverture. By mid-1795, Spain had signed a peace treaty with France in which it surrendered the eastern part of the island; the terms of the treaty reflected Spain's setbacks in Europe and its relative decline as a world power. In recognition of his leadership against the Spanish (under whose banner he had begun his military career), British, and rebellious royalists and mulattoes, Toussaint was named governor general of SaintDomingue by the French Republic in 1796. After losing more than 25,000 troops, Britain withdrew from the island in April 1798. Toussaint marched into Santo Domingo in January 1801; one of his first measures was to abolish slavery.
France occupied the devastated Spanish-speaking colony in February 1802. The Spanish and Dominican elites on the Spanish part of the island allied themselves with the French, who reinstituted slavery in that part of the island. However, the expeditionary force dispatched by Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by the forces of the former French slaves, led by Toussaint -and later by Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Yellow fever, malaria, and war led to the loss of 52,000 French soldiers. Upon defeating the French, Dessalines and his followers established the independent Republic of Haiti in January 1804 (see Fight for Independence, 1791-1803, ch.6). A small French presence, however, remained in the former Spanish colony, in spite of Haitian pressures.
By 1808 a number of 6migr6 Spanish landowners had returned to Santo Domingo. These royalists had no intention of living under French rule, however, and sought foreign aid and assistance to restore Spanish sovereignty. Help came from the Haitians, who provided arms, and the British, who occupied Samand and blockaded the port of Santo Domingo in 1809. The remaining French representatives fled the island in July 1809.
The 1809 restoration of Spanish rule ushered in an era referred to by some historians as Espafia Boba (Foolish Spain). Under the despotic rule of Ferdinand VII, the colony's economy deteriorated severely. Some Dominicans began to wonder if their interests would not best be served by the sort of independence movement that was sweeping the South American colonies. In keeping with this sentiment, Spanish lieutenant governorjos6 Nfifiez de Cdceres announced the colony's independence as the state of Spanish Haiti on November 30, 1821. Cdceres requested admission to the Republic of Gran Colom-
Dominican Republic: Histofical Setting
bia (consisting of what later became Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panama), recently proclaimed established by Sim6n Bolivar and his followers. While the request was in transit, however, the president of Haiti, Jean-Pierre Boyer, decided to invade Santo Domingo and to reunite the island under the Haitian flag.
The twenty-two-year Haitian occupation that followed (1822-44) is recalled by Dominicans as a period of brutal military rule, although the reality is more complex. Haiti's policies toward Santo Dominf o were induced in part by international financial pressures because Haiti had promised in an 1825 treaty to indemnify former French settlers in return for French recognition of Haitian independence. Ultimately, it was a period of econornic decline and of growing resentment of Haiti among Dominicans. The main activity was subsistence agriculture, and exports consisted of small amounts of tobacco, cattle hides, caoba wood (Dominican mahogany), molasses, and rum; the population, in turn, had declined precipitously by 1909 to some 75,000 people. Boyer attempted to enforce in the new territory the Rural Code (Code Rural) he had decreed in an effort to improve productivity among the Haitian yeomanry; however, the Dominicans proved no more willing to adhere to its provisions than were the Haitians (see Early Years of Independence, 1804-43, ch. 6). Increasing numbers of Dominican landowners chose to flee the island rather than live under Haitian rule; in many cases, Haitian administrators encouraged such emigration.
Dominicans also resented the fact that Boyer, the ruler of an impoverished country, did not (or could not) provision his army. The occupying Haitian forces lived off the land in Santo Domingo, commandeering or confiscating what they needed. Racial animosities also affected attitudes on both sides; black Haitian troops reacted with resentment toward lighter-skinned Dominicans, while Dominicans came to associate the Haitians' dark skin with the oppression and abuses of occupation. Furthermore, Haitians, who associated the Roman Catholic Church with the French colonists who had so cruelly exploited and abused them before independence, confiscated all church property in the east, deported all foreign clergy, and severed the ties of the remaining clergy to the Vatican. The occupation reinforced Dominicans' perception of themselves as different from Haitians with regard to culture, religion, race, and daily practices.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
Scattered unrest and isolated confrontations between Haitians and Dominicans soon began; by 1838 significant organized movements against Haitian domination formed. The most important was led by juan Pablo Duarte of a prominent Santo Domingo family who returned from seven years of study in Europe to find his father's business had been ruined under Haitian occupation. Unlike many of the country's subsequent caudillo rulers, Duarte was an idealist, an ascetic, and a genuine nationalist. Although he played no significant part in its rule, he is considered the father of his country. He certainly provided the inspiration and impetus for achieving independence from Haiti.
In July 1838, Duarte led the effort to create a secret movement, dubbed La Trinitaria (The Trinity). Its original nine members had organized themselves into cells of three; the cells went on to recruit as separate organizations, maintaining strict secrecy. At the same time, the name clearly evoked the Holy Trinity. Its motto was "Dios, Patria, y Libertad" (God, Country, and Liberty), and the movement's flag and shield had a cross and an open Bible-all of which became national symbols. Dominican nationality became defined in religious and Hispanic terms, which permitted contrast to Haiti. As the country's principal enemy was the anti-Catholic and non-Spanishspeaking Haiti, and perhaps because the Catholic Church was very weak in the country, Dominican liberals were largely prochurch, in contrast to their counterparts in the rest of Central and South America.
The catalyst that helped set off the Dominican struggle for independence was the overthrow of Boyer in the Haitian Revolution of 1843. Initially good relations between liberal Haitians and liberal Dominicans in Dominican territory, however, soon grew tense. General Charles Rivi~re-Hfrard successfully cracked down on the Trinitarios, forcing Duarte to flee in August 1843. However, Francisco del Rosario Sdnchez, Duarte's brother Vicente, and Ram6n Melia helped to reestablish the Trinitaria movement. They planned an independence effort built around arms that a returning Duarte was to bring in late December; however, Duarte failed in his efforts to gain the necessary weapons and was forced to postpone his return home because of a serious illness. Concurrently, other conspiracies flourished, particularly one seeking to gain the support of France. When Duarte had not returned by February 1844, the rebels agreed to launch their uprising without him.
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
On February 27, 1844-thereafter celebrated as Dominican Independence Day-the rebels seized the Ozama fortress in the capital. The Haitian garrison, taken by surprise and apparently betrayed by at least one of its sentries, retired in disarray. Within two days, all Haitian officials had departed Santo Domingo. Melia headed the provisional governing junta of the new Dominican Republic. Duarte returned to his country on March 14, and on the following day entered the capital amidst great adulation and celebration. However, the optimism generated by revolutionary triumph would eventually give way to the more prosaic realities of the struggle for power.
Ambivalent Sovereignty, Caudillo Rule, and Political Instability
The decades following independence from Haiti were marked by complex interactions among Dominican governing groups, opposition movements, Haitian authorities, and representatives of France, Britain, Spain, and the United States. Duarte and the liberal merchants who had led the initial independence effort were soon swept out of office and into exile, and the independent tobacco growers and merchants of the northern Cibao valley, who tended to favor national independence, were unable to consolidate control of the center. Government revolved largely around a small number of caudillo strongmen, particularly Pedro Santana Familias and Buenaventura Biez M~ndez (allies who became rivals), and their intrigues involving foreign powers in defense against Haiti and for personal gain. All these factors meant that neither a coherent central state nor a strong sense of nationhood could develop during this period.
The Infant Republic, 1844-61
Santana's power base lay in the military forces mustered to defend the infant republic against Haitian retaliation. Duarte, briefly a member of the governing junta, for a time commanded an armed force as well. However, the governing junta trusted the military judgment of Santana over that of Duarte, and he was replaced with General Jos6 Maria Imbert. Duarte assumed the post of governor of the Cibao, the northern farming region administered from the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, commonly known as Santiago. In July 1844, Melia and a throng of other Duarte supporters in Santiago urged him to
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Countiy Studies
take the title of president of the republic. Duarte agreed to do so, but only if free elections could be arranged. Santana, who felt that only the protection of a great power could assure Dominican safety against the Haitian threat, did not share Duarte's enthusiasm for the electoral process. His forces took Santo Domingo on July 12, 1844, and proclaimed Santana ruler of the Dominican Republic. Mella, who attempted to mediate a compromise government including both Duarte and Santana, found himself imprisoned by the new dictator. Duarte and Sdnchez followed Mella into prison and subsequently into exile.
The country's first constitution in 1844 was a remarkably liberal document. It was influenced directly by the Haitian constitution of 1843 and indirectly by the United States constitution of 1789, by the liberal 1812 Cadiz constitution of Spain, and by the French constitutions of 1799 and 1804. Because of this inspiration, it called for presidentialism, a separation of powers, and extensive "checks and balances." However, Santana proceeded to emasculate the document by demanding the inclusion of Article 210, which granted him extraordinary powers "during the current war" against Haiti.
Santana's dictatorial powers continued throughout his first term (1844-48), even though the Haitian forces had been repelled by December 1845. He consolidated his power by executing anti-Santana conspirators, by rewarding his close associates with lucrative positions in government, and by printing paper money to cover the expenses of a large standing army, a policy that severely devalued the new nation's currency. Throughout his term, Santana also continued to explore the possibility of an association with a foreign power. The governments of the United States, France, and Spain all declined the o ffe r.
Santana responded to a general discontent prompted mainly by the deteriorating currency and economy by resigning the presidency in February 1848 and retiring to his finca (ranch) in El Seibo. He was replaced in August 1848 by minister of war Manuel jim6nez, whose tenure ended in May 1849. The violent sequence of events that culminated in Jim6nez's departure began with a new invasion from Haiti, this time led by self-styled emperor Faustin Soulouque (see Increasing Instability, 1843-1915, ch. 6). Santana returned to prominence at the head of the army that checked the Haitian advance at Las Carreras in April 1849. As the Haitians retired, Santana pressed
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
his advantage against jim~nez, taking control of Santo Domingo and the government on May 30, 1849.
Although Santana once again held the reins of power, he declined to formalize the situation by running for office. Instead, he renounced the temporary mandate granted him by the Congress and called for an election-carried out under an electoral college system with limited suffrage-to select a new president. Santana favored Santiago Espaillat, who won a ballot in the Congress on July 5, 1849; Espaillat declined to accept the presidency, however, knowing that he would have to serve as a puppet so long as Santana controlled the army. This refusal cleared the way for Bdez, president of the Congress, to win a second ballot, which was held on August 18, 1849.
Bdez made even more vigorous overtures to foreign powers to establish a Dominican protectorate. Both France (Bdez's personal preference) and the United States, although still unwilling to annex the entire country, expressed interest in acquiring the bay and peninsula of Samand. as a naval or commercial port. Consequently, in order to preserve its lucrative trade with the island nation and to deny a strategic asset to its rivals, Britain became more actively involved in Dominican affairs. In 1850 the British signed a commercial and maritime treaty with the Dominicans. The following year, Britain mediated a peace treaty between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Bdez's first term established the personal rivalry with Santana that dominated Dominican politics until the latter's death in 1864. President Bdez purged Santana's followers (santanistas) from the government and installed his own followers (baecistas) in their place, pardoned a number of Santana's political opponents, reorganized the military in an effort to dilute Santana's power base, and apparently conceived a plan to create a militia that would serve as a counterforce to the army.
Seeing his influence clearly threatened, Santana returned to the political arena in February 1853, when he was elected to succeed Bdez. The general moved quickly to deal with Bdez, who had once been a colonel under his command, denouncing him for ties to the Haitians and as a threat to the nation's security. Exercising his authority under Article 210 of the constitution, Santana expelled the former president from the Dominican Republic.
Although he enjoyed considerable popularity, Santana confronted several crises during his second term. In February 1854, a constituent assembly promulgated a new, even more
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Countiy Studies
liberal constitution than that of 1844, which also eliminated the dictatorial powers granted by Article 210. However, it was almost immediately modified to place all control over the armed forces directly in the hands of the president. With his control over the army restored, Santana readily forced the adoption by the Congress of a much more authoritarian constitutional text later that year.
On the international front, renewed annexation talks between the Dominican and United States governments aroused the concern of Haitian emperor Soulouque. Motivated at least in part by a desire to prevent the acquisition of any portion of Hispaniola by the slaveholding United States, Soulouque launched a new invasion in November 1855. However, Dominican forces decisively defeated the Haitians in a number of engagements and forced them back across the border by January 1856.
The final crisis of Santana's second term also originated in the foreign policy sphere. Shortly after the Haitian campaign, the Dominican and United States governments signed a commercial treaty that provided for the lease of a small tract in Samandï¿½ for use as a coaling station. Although Santana delayed implementation of the lease, its negotiation provided his opponents-including baecistas and the government of Spain-the opportunity to decry Yankee imperialism and demand the president's ouster. Pressure built to such an extent that Santana felt compelled to resign on May 26, 1856, in favor of his vice president, Manuel de la Regla Mota.
Regla Mota's rule lasted almost five months. An empty treasury forced the new president to discharge most of the army. Thus deprived of the Dominican rulers' traditional source of power, his government all but invited the return of B~ez. With the support of the Spanish, Bdez was named vice president by Regla Mota, who then resigned in Bdez's favor. Not a forgiving man by nature, Bdiez lost little time in denouncing ex-president Santana and expelling him from the country. Once again, Biez purged santanistas from the government and replaced them with his own men.
Bdez had little time in which to savor his triumph over his rival, however. Reverting to the policies of B~ez's first term, the government flooded the country with what rapidly became all but worthless paper money. Farmers in the Cibao, who objected strongly to the purchase of their crops with this devalued currency, rose against B~iez in what came to be known as
Dominican Republic: Histofical Setting
the Revolution of 1857. Their standard-bearer, not surprisingly, was Santana.
Pardoned by a provisional government established at Santiago, Santana returned in August 1857 tojoin the revolution. He raised his own personal army and soon dominated the movement. A year of bloody conflict between the governments of Santiago and Santo Domingo took a heavy toll in lives and money. Under the terms of a June 1857 armistice, Bdez once again fled to Cura ao with all the government funds he could carry. Santana proceeded to betray the aspirations of some of his liberal revolutionary followers by restoring the dictatorial constitution of 1854. Santanismo again replaced baecismo; only a small group of loyalists realized any benefit from the exchange, however. Politically, the country continued to walk a treadmill. Economically, conditions had become almost unbearable for many Dominicans. The general climate of despair set the stage for the success of Santana's renewed efforts to obtain a protector for his country.
Annexation by Spain, 1861-65
On March 18, 1861, Santana announced the annexation of the Dominican Republic by Spain. A number of conditions had combined to bring about this reversion to colonialism. The Civil War in the United States had lessened the Spanish fear of retaliation from the north. In Spain itself, the ruling Liberal Union of General Leopoldo O'Donnell had been advocating renewed imperial expansion. And in the Dominican Republic, both the ruler and a portion of the ruled were sufficiently concerned about the possibility of a renewed attack from Haiti or domestic economic collapse to find the prospect of annexation attractive.
Support for annexation did not run as deep as Santana had represented to the Spanish, however. The first rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in May 1861, but was quashed in short order. A better organized revolt, under the leadership of baecista General Francisco del Rosario Sdnchez, sprang up only a month later. Santana, now bearing the title of captain general of the Province of Santo Domingo, was forced to take to the field against his own countrymen as the representative of a foreign power. The wily Santana lured Sdnchez into an ambush, where he was captured and executed. Despite this service, Santana found his personal power and his ability to dole out patronage to his followers greatly restricted under Spanish
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
rule. As a result, he resigned the captaincy general in January 1862.
Resentment and rebellion continued, fed by racial tension, excessive taxation, the failure to stabilize the currency, the uncompensated requisition of supplies by the Spanish army, heavy-handed reform of local religious customs by an inflexible Spanish archbishop, and the restriction of trade to the benefit of the Spanish metropolis. The Spaniards quelled more uprisings in 1863, but guerrilla actions continued. In response to the continuing unrest, a state of siege was declared in February 1863.
Rebellious Dominicans set up a provisional government in Santiago, headed by General Jos6 Antonio Salcedo, on September 14, 1863. Their proclamation of an Act of Independence launched what is known as the War of Restoration. For their part, the Spanish once again turned to Santana, who received command of a force made up largely of mercenaries. However, by this time, his popularity had all but disappeared. Indeed, the provisional government had denounced Santana and condemned him to death for his actions against his countrymen. On June 14, 1864, a broken and despondent Santana saved the rebels the trouble of carrying out their sentence by dying (or, unproven speculation asserts, by committing suicide).
Meanwhile, the guerrilla war against the Spanish continued. The rebels further formalized their provisional rule by replacing Salcedo (who had advocated the return of Bdez to rule a restored republic), and then holding a national convention on February 27, 1865, which enacted a new constitution and elected Pedro Antonio Pimentel Chamorro president.
Several circumstances began to favor a Spanish withdrawal. One was the conclusion of the Civil War in the United States, which promised new efforts by Washington to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. Another was that the Spanish military forces, unable to contain the spread of the insurrection, were losing even greater numbers of troops to disease. The O'Donnell government had fallen, taking with it any dreams of a renewed Spanish empire. On March 3, 1865, the queen of Spain approved a decree repealing the annexation of Santo Do-mingo, and byjuly all Spanish soldiers had left the island.
The Contest for Power, 1865-82
The Spanish left both economic devastation and political chaos in their wake. In the period from 1865 to 1879, there
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
were twenty-one different governments and at least fifty military uprisings. A power struggle began between the conservative, cacique-dominated south and the more liberal Cibao, where the prevalence of medium-sized landholdings contributed to a more egalitarian social structure. The two camps eventually coalesced under the banners of separate political parties. The cibaeiios adhered to the National Liberal Party (Partido Nacional Liberal), which became known as the Blue Party (Partido Azul). The southerners rallied to B~iez and the Red Party (Partido Rojo).
The conservative Reds effectively employed their numerical superiority in the capital to force the restoration of B~.ez, who returned triumphantly from exile and assumed the presidency on December 8, 1865. However, he was unable to assert the kind of dictatorial control over the whole nation that he and Santana had once alternately enjoyed because power had been diffused, particularly between the opposing poles of the Cibao and the south.
After a successful uprising that forced B~aez to flee the country in May 1866, a triumvirate of cibaefio military leaders, the most prominent of whom was Gregorio Luper6n, assumed provisional power. General Jos6 Maria Cabral Luna, who had served briefly as president in 1865, was reelected to the post on September 29, 1866. The baecistas, however, were still a potent force in the republic; they forced Cabral out and reinstalled B~iez on May 2, 1868. Once again, his rule was marked by peculation and efforts to sell or lease portions of the country to foreign interests. These included an intermittent campaign to have the entire country annexed by the United States, which President Ulysses S. Grant also strongly supported. However, the United States Senate rejected the 1869 treaty calling for annexation, giving President Grant his first major legislative defeat. Grant continued efforts to annex Dominican territory until 1873. B~ez, in turn, was again overthrown by rebellious Blues in January 1874.
After a period of infighting among the Blues, backing from Luper6n helped Ulises Francisco Espaillat Quifiones win election as president on March 24, 1876. Espaillat, a political and economic liberal and the first individual who was not a general to reach the presidency, apparently intended to broaden personal freedoms and to set the nation's economy on a firmer footing. He never had the opportunity to do either, however. Rebellions in the south and east forced Espaillat to resign on
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
December 20, 1876. Ever the opportunist, Bdiez returned once more to power. The most effective opposition to his rule came from guerrilla forces led by a politically active priest, Fernando Arturo de Merifio. In February 1878, the unpopular Bdiez departed his country for the last time; he died in exile in 1882.
Both Santana and Bdez had now passed from the scene. They had helped create a nation where violence prevailed in the quest for power, where economic growth and financial stability fell victim to the seemingly endless political contest, and where foreign interests still perceived parts of the national territory as available to the highest bidder. This divisive, chaotic situation invited the emergence of an able military leader and a shrewd, despotic political leader who would dominate the country over a seventeen-year period.
Ulises Heureaux, Growing Financial Dependence, and Continued Instability
Ulises Heureaux, 1882-99
Ulises Heureaux, Luper6n's lieutenant, stood out among his fellow Dominicans both physically and temperamentally. The illegitimate son of a Haitian father and a mother originally from St. Thomas, he, like Luper6n, was one of the few black contenders for power. As events would demonstrate, he also possessed a singular thirst for power and a willingness to take any measures necessary to attain and to hold it.
During the four years between Bdez's final withdrawal and Heureaux's ascension to the presidency, seven individuals held or claimed national, regional, or interim leadership. Among them were Ignacio Maria Gonzdlez Santin, who held the presidency from June to September 1878; Luper6n, who governed from Puerto Plata as provisional president from October 1879 to August 1880; and Merifio, who assumed office in September 1880 after apparently fraudulent general elections. Heureaux served as minister of interior under Merifio; his behind-thescenes influence on the rest of the cabinet apparently exceeded that of the president. Although Merifio briefly suspended constitutional procedures in response to unrest fomented by some remaining baecistas, he abided by the twoyear term established under Luper6n and turned the reins of government over to Heureaux on September 1, 1882.
Heureaux's first term as president was not particularly noteworthy. The administrations of Luper6n and Merifio had
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
achieved some financial stability for the country; political conditions had settled down to the point where Heureaux needed to suppress only one major uprising during his two-year tenure. By 1884, however, no single successor enjoyed widespread support among the various caciques who constituted the republic's ruling group. Luper6n, still the leader of the ruling Blue Party, supported General Segundo Imbert for the post, while Heureaux backed the candidacy of General Francisco Gregorio Billini. A consummate dissembler, Heureaux assured Luper6n that he would support Imbert should he win the election, but Heureaux also had ballot boxes in critical precincts stuffed in order to assure Billini's election.
Inaugurated president on September 1, 1884, Billini resisted Heureaux's efforts to manipulate him. Thus denied de facto rule, Heureaux undermined Billini by spreading rumors to the effect that the president had decreed a political amnesty so that he could conspire with ex-president Cesdireo Guillermo Bastardo (February 27-December 6, 1879) against Luper6n's leadership of the Blues. These rumors precipitated a governmental crisis that resulted in Billini's resignation on May 16, 1885. Vice President Alejandro Woss y Gil succeeded Billini. Heureaux assumed a more prominent role under the new government. A number of his adherents were included in the cabinet, and the general himself assumed command of the national army in order to stem a rebellion led by Guillermo. The latter's death removed another potential rival for power and further endeared Heureaux to Luper6n, a longtime enemy of Guillermo.
Luper6n accordingly supported Heureaux in the 1886 presidential elections. Opposed by Casimiro de Moya, Heureaux relied on his considerable popularity and his demonstrated skill at electoral manipulation to carry the balloting. The blatancy of the fraud in some areas, particularly the capital, inspired Moya's followers to launch an armed rebellion. Heureaux again benefited from Luper6n's support in this struggle, which delayed his inauguration by four months but further narrowed the field of political contenders. Having again achieved power, Heureaux maintained his grip on it for the rest of his life.
Several moves served to lay the groundwork for Heureaux's dictatorship. Constitutional amendments requested by the president and effected by the Congress extended the presidential term from two to four years and eliminated direct elections
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
in favor of the formerly employed electoral college system. To expand his informal power base, Heureaux (who became popularly known as General Lilis, thanks to a common mispronunciation of his first name) incorporated both Reds and Blues into his government. The president also established an extensive network of secret police and informants in order to avert incipient rebellions. The press, previously unhampered, came under new restrictions.
In the face of impending dictatorship, concerned Dominican liberals turned to the only remaining figure of stature, Luper6n. The elections of 1888 therefore pitted Heureaux against his political mentor. If the dictator felt any respect for his former commander, he did not demonstrate it during the campaign. Heureaux's agents attacked Luper6n's campaigners and supporters, arresting and incarcerating considerable numbers of them. Recognizing the impossibility of a free election under such circumstances, Luper6n withdrew his candidacy, declined the entreaties of those of his followers who urged armed rebellion, and fled into exile in Puerto Rico.
Although plots, intrigue, and abortive insurrections continued under his rule, Heureaux faced no serious challenges until his assassination in 1899. He continued to govern in mock-constitutional fashion, achieving reelections through institutionalized fraud, even as repression worsened. Like Santana and Bdiez before him, Heureaux sought the protection of a foreign power, principally the United States. Although annexation was no longer an option, the dictator offered to lease the Samandi Peninsula to the United States. The arrangement was never consummated, however, because of opposition from the liberal wing of the Blue Party and a number of concerned European powers. In spite of protests from Germany, Britain, and France, in 1891 Washington and Santo Domingo concluded a reciprocity treaty that allowed twenty-six United States products free entry into the Dominican market in exchange for similar dutyfree access for certain Dominican goods.
Under Heureaux, the Dominican government considerably expanded its external debt, even as there was considerable blurring between his private holdings and the state's financial affairs. Some improvements in infrastructure resulted, such as the completion of the first railroads. Initial attempts at professionalizing the army and bureaucratizing the state were made, and educational reforms were introduced. As a result of favorable state policies, modern sugar estates began to replace cat-
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
tie-ranching estates, even as exports of coffee and cocoa expanded. Yet, onerous terms on the major external loan, corruption and mismanagement, and a decline in world sugar markets, all exacerbated both domestic budget deficits and external balance of payments shortfalls.
Despite the dictator's comprehensive efforts to repress opposition-his network of spies and agents extended even to foreign countries-opposition eventually emerged centered in the Cibao region, which had suffered under Heureaux's policies favoring sugar interests in Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macoris. An opposition group calling itself the Young Revolutionary junta (Junta Revolucionaria de J6venes) was established in Puerto Rico by Horacio Vdsquez Lajara, a young adherent of Luper6n. Other prominent members of the group included Federico VelAsquez and Ram6n Cceres Vdsquez. The three returned to their plantations in the Cibao and began to lay the groundwork for a coordinated rebellion against the widely detested Heureaux. The impetuous Cdceres, however, shot and fatally wounded the dictator when he passed through the town of Moca on July 26, 1899. Cdceres escaped unharmed.
Growing Financial Dependence and Political Instability
Heureaux left two major legacies: debt and political instability. It was these legacies that finally helped usher in the United States military occupation of 1916. In the six years after Heureaux's assassination in 1899, the country experienced four revolts and five presidents. National politics came to revolve primarily around the conflict between the followers of Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra, called jimenistas, and the followers of Horacio Vdsquez Lahara, called horacistas; both men and both groups had been involved in plots against Heureaux.
After a brief period of armed conflict, Vdsquez headed a provisional government established in September 1899. Elections broughtJimenes to the presidency on November 15. The Jimenes administration faced a fiscal crisis when European creditors began to call in loans that had been contracted by Heureaux. Customs fees represented the only significant source of government revenue at that time. When the Jimenes government pledged 40 percent of its customs revenue to repay its foreign debt, it provoked the ire of the San Domingo Improvement Company. A United States-based firm, the Improvement Company, had lent large sums to the Heureaux regime. As a result, it not only received a considerable percent-
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
age of customs revenue, but also had been granted the right to administer Dominican customs in order to ensure regular repayment. Stung by the Jimenes government's resumption of control over its customs receipts, the directors of the Improvement Company protested to the United States Department of State. The review of the case prompted a renewed interest in Washington in Dominican affairs.
Cibao nationalists suspected the president of bargaining away Dominican sovereignty in return for financial settlements. Government forces led by V~squez put down some early uprisings. Eventually, however, personal competition between Jimenes and Vdsquez brought them into conflict. Vdsquez's forces proclaimed a revolution on April 26, 1902; with no real base of support, Jimenes fled his office and his country a few days later. However, conflicts among the followers of Vdsquez and opposition to his government from local caciques grew into general unrest that culminated in the seizure of power by ex-president Alejandro Woss y Gil in April 1903.
Dominican politics had once again polarized into two largely nonideological groups. Where once the Blues and Reds had contended for power, now two other personalist factions, the jimenistas (supporters of Jimenes) and the horacistas (supporters of Visquez and Ciceres), vied for control. Woss y Gil, a jimenista, made the mistake of seeking supporters among the horacista camp and was overthrown by jimenista General Carlos Felipe Morales Languasco in December 1903. Rather than restore the country's leadership to Jimenes, however, Morales set up a provisional government and announced his own candidacy for the presidency-with Cdceres as his running mate. The renewed fraternization with the horacistas incited another jimenista rebellion. This uprising proved unsuccessful, and Morales and Cceres were inaugurated on June 19, 1904. Yet, conflict within the Morales administration between supporters of the president and those of the vice president eventually led to the ouster of Morales, and Cdceres assumed the presidency on December 29, 1905.
As a backdrop to the continuing political turmoil in the Dominican Republic, United States influence increased considerably during the first few years of the twentieth century. Pressures by European creditors on the Dominican Republic and the Anglo-German blockade of Venezuela in 1902-03 led to President Theodore Roosevelt's "corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, which declared that the United States would assume the
Offices of the General Customs Receivership, SantoDomingo, 1907
Courtesy National Archives
police powers necessary in the region to ensure that creditors would be adequately repaid. United States military forces had intervened several times between 1900 and 1903, primarily to prevent the employment of warships by European governments seeking immediate repayment of debt. Injune 1904, the Roosevelt administration negotiated an agreement whereby the Dominican government bought out the holdings of the San Domingo Improvement Company. Then, following an intermediate agreement, the Morales government ultimately signed a financial accord with the United States in February 1905. Under this accord, the United States government assumed responsibility for all Dominican debt as well as for the collection of customs duties and the allocation of those revenues to the Dominican government and to the repayment of its domestic and foreign debt. Although parts of this agreement were rejected by the United States Senate, it formed the basis for the establishment in April 1905 of the General Customs Receivership, the office through which the United States government administered the finances of the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
The Cdceres government became the financial beneficiary of this arrangement. Freed from the burden of dealing with creditors, Cdceres attempted to reform the political system. Constitutional reforms placed local ayuntamientos (town councils) under the power of the central government, extended the presidential term to six years, and eliminated the office of vice president. Cdiceres also nationalized public utilities and established a bureau of public works to administer them. The curtailment of local authority particularly irked those caciques who had preferred to rule through compliant ayuntamientos. The continued financial sovereignty of the "Yankees" also outweighed the economic benefits of the receivership in the minds of many Dominican nationalists. Intrigues fomented in exile by Morales, Jimenes, and others beset Cd.ceres, who was assassinated on November 19, 1911.
The assassination of Cdceres led to another period of political turmoil and economic disorganization that was to culminate in the republic's occupation by the United States. The fiscal stability that had resulted from the 1905 receivership eroded under Ciceres's successor, Eladio Victoria y Victoria, with most of the increased outlays going to support military campaigns against rebellious partisans, mainly in the Cibao. The continued violence and instability prompted the administration of President William H. Taft to dispatch a commission to Santo Domingo on September 24, 1912, to mediate between the warring factions. The presence of a 750-member force of United States Marines apparently convinced the Dominicans of the seriousness of Washington's threats to intervene directly in the conflict; Victoria agreed to step down in favor of a neutral figure, Roman Catholic archbishop Adolfo Alejandro Nouel Bobadilla. The archbishop assumed office as provisional president on November 30.
Nouel proved unequal to the burden of national leadership. Unable to mediate successfully between the ambitions of rival horacistas and jimenistas, he resigned on March 31, 1913. His successorJos6 Bordas Vald~s, was equally unable to restrain the renewed outbreak of hostilities. Once again, Washington took a direct hand and mediated a resolution. The rebellious horacistas agreed to a cease-fire based on a pledge of United States oversight of elections for members of local ayuntamientos and a constituent assembly that would draft the procedures for presidential balloting. The process, however, was flagrantly manipulated and resulted in Bordas's reelection on June 15, 1914.
Dominican Rep~ublic: Historical Setting
Bordas reached out to the jimnenistas, naming one of their leaders, Desiderio Arias, as government delegate to the Cibao. However, horacistas soon revolted, declaring a new provisional government under Vdsquez. Subsequent mediation by the United States government led to municipal and congressional elections in December 1913. However, these elections were blatantly manipulated by Bordas, leading to renewed tensions with not only horacistas but also jimenistas.
The United States government, this time under President Woodrow Wilson, again intervened. The "Wilson Plan"-delivered as an ultimatum-essentially stated: elect a president or the United States will impose one. Bordas resigned, and the Dominicans accordingly selected Ram6n Bdez Machado (the son of Buenaventura B~iez) as provisional president on August 27, 1914, to oversee elections. Comparatively fair presidential elections held on October 25 returned jimenes to the presidency.
However, a combination of continued internecine political infighting and United States pressure made jimenes's position untenable soon after his inauguration on December 6, 1914. The United States government wished him to regularize the appointment of a United States comptroller, who was overseeing the country's public expenditures, and to create a new national guard, which would be under the control of the United States military, thus eliminating the existing army controlled by Arias. At the same time, Jimenes found himself with less and less political support, as he confronted opposition first from horacistas and then from his own secretary of war, Desiderio Arias. Arias spearheaded an effort to have jimenes removed by impeachment so that he could assume the presidency. Although the United States ambassador offered military support to his government, Jimenes opted to step down on May 7, 1916. At this point, the United States decided to take more direct action. United States forces had already occupied Haiti (see United States Involvement in Haiti, 1915-34, ch. 6), and this time Arias retreated from Santo Domingo on May 13, under threat of naval bombardment; the first Marines landed three days later. Although they established effective control of the country within two months, the United States forces did not proclaim a military government until November.
The country occupied by the United States Marines was one marked not only by weak sovereignty, but also by unstable political rule, fragmented and fearful economic elites, a weak
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Counhy Studies
church, and the absence of a central state and of a national military institution independent of individual leaders or loyalties.
From the United States Occupation 0 916-24) to the Emergence of Trujillo 0 930)
The United States occupation of the Dominican Republic was to be a critical turning point in Dominican history, although not for the reasons intended by the occupying forces. Led by military governor Rear Admiral Harry S. Knapp, programs were enacted in education, health, sanitation, agriculture, and communications; highways were built; and other public works were created. In addition, other programs crucial to strengthening state structures and a market economy were implemented, including both a census and a cadastral survey. The latter allowed land titles to be regularized and United States sugar companies to expand their holdings dramatically, even as infrastructure to facilitate exports was developed. The most significant measure was the establishment of a new Dominican constabulary force.
Most Dominicans, however, greatly resented the loss of their sovereignty to foreigners, few of whom spoke Spanish or displayed much real concern for the welfare of the republic. The most intense opposition to the occupation arose in the eastern provinces of El Seibo and San Pedro de Macoris. From 1917 to 1921, the United States forces battled a guerrilla movement known as gavilleros in that area. Although the guerrillas enjoyed considerable support among the population and benefited from a superior knowledge of the terrain, they eventually yielded to the occupying forces' superior power.
After World War 1, however, public opinion in the United States began to run against the occupation, and in June 1921 United States representatives presented a withdrawal proposal, known as the Harding Plan. The plan called for Dominican ratification of all acts of the military government, approval of a US$2.5-million loan for public works and other expenses, the acceptance of United States officers for the constabulary-now known as the National Guard (Guardia Nacional)-and the holding of elections under United States supervision. Popular reaction to the plan was overwhelmingly negative. Moderate Dominican leaders, however, used the plan as the basis for further negotiations that resulted in an agreement allowing for the selection of a provisional president to rule until elections
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
could be organized. Under the supervision of High Commissioner Sumner Welles, Juan Bautista Vicini Burgos assumed the provisional presidency on October 21, 1922. In the presidential election of March 15, 1924, Horacio V~isquez handily defeated Francisco J. Peynado; shortly after his inauguration in July, all United States marines withdrew.
The aging V~isquez governed ineffectively and corruptly, dramatically expanding public employment and extending his term in office by two years. As doubts emerged about the fairness of the 1930 elections, an uprising against the president led to the naming of Rafael Estrella Uren- a as provisional president pending the elections. Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina, the head of the country's newly established military force, had played a critical, secretive role in ensuring the success of the rebellion against Vdsquez. Trujillo soon emerged as the only presidential candidate in the elections, winning with 99 percent of the vote.
Trujillo was able to gain power and quickly consolidate a much more solid grip on power than previous Dominican rulers because of domestic and international factors. He now led a far more powerful national military institution than had previously existed while traditional powerholders remained weak and the population was largely disarmed. Moreover, he benefited from the improved transportation and communication infrastructure built during the occupation. In addition, in the 1920s, the United States moved toward a policy of nonintervention, a policy facilitated by the absence of any perceived threat to continued United States influence in the area from an outside power.
The Trujillo Era, 1930-61
Rafael Trujillo was born in 1891 and raised in San Crist6bal, a small town near the capital, in a family of modest means of mixed Spanish, Creole, and Haitian background. In less than ten years, from 1919 to 1928, he emerged from being an obscure minor officer in a newly formed constabulary force to become head of the country's army. Over the period of his rule from 1930 to 1961, he formally held the presidency from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952; however, he always retained direct control over the military, allowing pliant individuals such as his brother Fkctor to serve as president. His thirst for power was combined with megalomania (for example, Santo Domingo was renamed Ciudad Trujillo and Pico Duarte, the high-
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Countiy Studies
est mountain in the Antilles, became Pico Trujillo) and a drive to accumulate massive wealth.
Trujillo's regime quickly moved beyond the traditional Dominican caudillo regimes of the nineteenth century. By the end of his second term, it was evident that his regime's totalitarian features went beyond those of Heureaux, its historical predecessor. Occasionally partial liberalizations occurred in response to international pressures. Such liberal episodes were particularly evident in late 1937 and early 1938, following the outcry that came after the October 1937 massacre of some 5,000 to 12,000 Haitians Along the Dominican-Haitian border, and in the immediate post-World War 11 era. But Trujillo's accumulation of wealth and power would continue, reaching a peak in 1955. The regime's deterioration began shortly thereafter, accelerating in 1958.
Central to Trujillo's domination of the country was control over an expanding armed forces and police, which were his personal instrument rather than a national institution; the armed forces and the police grew from around 2,200 in 1932 to 9,100 in 1948 to 18,000 in 1958. In the mid-1950s, Trujillo transferred the best troops and weapons to a military service known as Dominican Military Aviation, controlled by his son Ramfis.
Yet, Trujillo's regime was not based purely on repression, although over time it increasingly became so. Ideologically, Trujillo portrayed himself with some success as a forger of the Dominican nation, builder of the state, and defender of its economic interests. His was the first prolonged period in the country's history when the country was not directly attacked or occupied by Spain, the United States, or Haiti. Trujillo built upon the country's antipathy to Haiti to help articulate a nationalist ideology appealing to traditional Hispanic and Roman Catholic values, aided by intellectuals such asJoaquin Balaguer Ricardo. In the 1930s, especially, he also articulated a vision of discipline, work, peace, order, and progress. As these values became embodied in a number of large-scale public works and construction projects, and particularly as the economy began moving out of the Great Depression of the late 1930s, Trujillo almost certainly gained respect among some elements of the population. In some cases, he also gained support because he presented himself in a messianic form. By the 1950s, and particularly after signing a concordat with the Vatican in 1954, Trujillo often attacked "international commu-
Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina
Courtesy Library of Congress
nism" as a threat to the country's traditional values that he claimed he was seeking to uphold.
Trujillo also waved the ideological banner of economic nationalism, although it sometimes cloaked his own personal accumulation of wealth. Trujillo ended United States administration of Dominican customs (in 1941), retired the Dominican debt (in 1947), and introduced a national currency to replace the dollar (also in 1947), even as he amassed a sizeable personal fortune.
Economically, Trujillo eventually became the single dominant force in the country by combining abuse of state power, threats, and co-optation. Trujillo's initial schemes to enrich himself revolved around the creation of state or commercial monopolies. He then gradually moved into industry, forcing owners to allow him to buy up shares, while also enjoying healthy commissions on all public works contracts. After World War II, Trujillo expanded into industrial production. His most massive investments were made in sugar, which was largely foreign-owned. The planning and implementation of Trujillo's sugar operations, however, were so poor that had it not been for the numerous state subsidies they received, they would have lost money.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Counhy Studies
Although some of the country's economic elite maintained a degree of individual autonomy, no possibility existed for independent organization. Trujillo enjoyed humiliating those who previously had enjoyed both social prestige and economic wealth; they intensely disliked him but were forced to conform. Only in Trujillo's last two years did any concerted opposition emerge from within the economic elite. Indeed, Trujillo's economic holdings at the time of his death were staggering. Almost 80 percent of the country's industrial production was controlled by him; and nearly 60 percent of the country's labor force depended directly or indirectly on him, 45 percent employed in his firms and another 15 percent working for the state. The only organization that retained any degree of autonomy was the Roman Catholic Church; until the very end of his rule, it remained abjectly loyal to him.
Politically, Trujillo combined guile, cynicism, ruthlessness, and co-optation. He cynically deployed constitutional norms and legal requirements, which ostensibly were followed faithfully, and totally dominated a single-party apparatus. In addition, Trujillo engaged in byzantine manipulation of individuals, who were shifted around public offices in a disconcerting fashion as personal rivalries were promoted and tested. At its apogee, the Dominican Party (Partido Dominicano) had branches throughout the country, helping to keep Trujillo apprised of local realities, needs, and potential threats to his rule. The party's charitable activities, homages to Trujillo, and campaign efforts were financed largely by a percentage taken from the salaries of public employees. Trujillo made voting mandatory (not voting could be risky), and in 1942 he expanded the suffrage to women.
International factors were also important in helping Trujillo sustain his grip on power. Trujillo employed public relations firms and assiduously cultivated his military contacts and individual politicians in the United States to enhance his reputation and sustain United States support. He went to elaborate lengths to demonstrate domestically that he retained support from the United States. In some periods, United States diplomats expressed their frustration at being manipulated by Trujillo even as United States military personnel openly praised his rule. At the same time, his complex web of conspiracy, intrigue, and violence extended beyond Dominican borders; he provided support for various regional dictators and plotted against perceived foreign enemies, such as R6mulo Bet-
Dominican Republic: Histarical Setting
ancourt of Venezuela, who, in turn, provided support for exile groups plotting against Trujillo.
By the late 1950s, Trujillo faced multiple challenges, even as the country's economy was suffering and his own mental acuity was declining. Domestic opposition, agitation by exiles, and international pressures began to reinforce each other. A failed invasion attempt in June 1959 from Cuba helped spawn a major underground movement, itself brutally crushed in January 1960. As a gesture of liberalization, in August 1960 Trujillo removed his brother from the presidency, replacing him with then vice president Joaquin Balaguer,
However, domestic opposition continued to grow, the Roman Catholic Church began to distance itself from the regime, and with concerns mounting about the Cuban Revolution, the United States distanced itself as well. A summary of United States policy intentions during this period is provided in President John F. Kennedy's often-cited dictum that in descending order of preferences the United States would prefer a democratic regime, continuation of a Trujillo regime, or a Castro regime, and that the United States should aim for the first, but not renounce the second until it was sure the third could be avoided, Covert and overt pressure, including cutting off the United States sugar quota and Organization of American States (OAS-see Glossary) sanctions, were applied to the Trujillo regime. Finally, conspirators, who for the most part had largely been supporters of the regime in the past, successfully assassinated Trujillo on May 30, 1961. Following Trujillo's death, attention immediately focused on what kind of regime would replace him. It took additional threats of United States military intervention to force Trujillo's relatives from the island in November 1961 in order to allow opposition elements to emerge.
Democratic Struggles and Failures
As were the years following the assassination of Heureaux decades earlier, the immediate post-Trujillo period was a convulsive one for the country, The preexisting political institutions and practices from the Trujillo regime were clearly inimical to a successful democratic transition. Yet, a clear break with the Trujillos was achieved. In January 1962, Joaquin Balaguer, who as vice president had taken over upon Trujillo's death, was forced into exile by opposition elements. A provisional government was formed to prepare for democratic elec-
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
tions. The upper-class opposition to Trujillo was organized in the National Civic Union (Uni6n Civica Nacional-UCN). The UCN dominated the provisional government an'd expected its candidate, Viriato Fiallo, to win the elections. To the UCN's surprise, it was defeated by Juan Bosch Gavifio, one of the founders of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Dominicano-PRD) in exile in the late 1930s, and the UCN soon disappeared. The PRD was successfully converted into a mass party with both urban and rural appeal: Bosch campaigned as the candidate of the poor and promised to implement a variety of socioeconomic and political reforms.
The Bosch administration represented a freely elected, liberal, democratic government concerned for the welfare of all Dominicans. The 1963 constitution separated church and state, guaranteed civil and individual rights, and endorsed civilian control of the military. These and other changes, such as land reform, struck conservative landholders and military officers as radical and threatening. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church also resented the secular nature of the new constitution, in particular its provision for legalized divorce. The hierarchy, along with the military leadership and the economic elite, also feared communist influence in the republic, and they warned of the potential for "another Cuba."
As a result, the conservative socioeconomic forces coalesced with political, military, and church figures- to overthrow President Bosch on September 25, 1963, only seven months after he assumed office; United States support for his government had also weakened. The institutional changes that Bosch, his new constitution, and his proposed reforms represented, in a situation in which his party possessed an absolute majority, were perceived as too threatening; however, middle-sector and popular-sector groups remained relatively weak and unorganized. If Bosch's regime was overthrown in 1963 ostensibly because of its alleged communist nature, weak radical leftist elements were in fact strengthened by the coup, and the country experienced further polarization over the next several years.
Following the coup, a civilian junta known as the Triumvirate, dominated by the UCN and headed by Emilio de los Santos, was formed. However, Santos resigned on December 23 and was replaced by Donald Reid Cabral, who increasingly became the dominant figure. His regime lacked legitimacy or strong support, however, and on April 25, 1965, a civil-military conspiracy sought to return Bosch to power. The Dominican
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
government's action provoked a series of events leading to the "constitutionalist" uprising in support of Bosch. Three days later, on April 28, the United States intervened because the "loyalist" Dominican military troops led by General Eli as Wessin y Wessin were unable to control the growing civil-military rebellion, often referred to as a civil war. The intervention was the result of an exaggerated fear on the part of the United States regarding a potential "second Cuba." Its unilateral nature was subsequently modified by the creation of an OASsponsored peace force, which supplemented the United States military presence in the republic.
Ultimately, negotiations during 1965-66 arranged a peaceful surrender of the constitutionalist forces, which were surrounded by foreign troops in downtown Santo Domingo. The negotiations also prevented a new outbreak of hostilities and provided for elections, which were overseen by a provisional government led by Hector Garcia Godoy. However, many Dominicans viewed these elections, which permitted the United States to extricate its troops from the country, as tainted. Bosch and Balaguer (who had returned from exile in June 1965) were the two main candidates. Bosch felt betrayed by the United States, which had blocked his possible return to power and turned on his military supporters, and he ran a lackluster campaign. Balaguer, at the head of his own conservative Reformist Party (Partido Reformista-PR), campaigned skillfully and energetically, promising peace and stability. Balaguer was clearly the candidate favored by most conservative business interests and by the officer corps that retained control of the armed forces; most Dominicans also were convinced he was the candidate strongly favored by the United States. Although the civil war had been confined to urban areas, it left some 3,000 dead and the country polarized. Thus, for many Dominicans, Balaguer's administration lacked legitimacy.
Authoritarian Balaguer, 1966-78
In his authoritarian and patrimonial style, predilection for grandiose public construction projects, and emphasis on the country's Hispanic essence, Balaguer resembled Trujillo. However, Balaguer's treatment of economic, military, and political power differed from that of the strongman under whom he had served, in part because of changes in Dominican society and international circumstances.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
The Balaguer period from 1966 to 1978 was one of high economic growth; the country averaged a 7.6 percent increase in real GDP over the period. Growth was based on increased export earnings, import-substitution in consumer goods promoted by generous tax incentives, and public investment projects. It was facilitated by the United States sugar quota and generous economic assistance, particularly in the early Balaguer years. Balaguer ruled in a patrimonial fashion, ensuring that he was the central axis around which all other major political and economic forces revolved. At the same time, he eventually undermined his pos-ition by promoting the development of business groups separate from, even if dependent upon, the state. Such an approach sharply contrasted with the approach taken in the Trujillo period. However, organized labor remained extremely weak as a result of repression, co-optation, and very restrictive labor legislation.
Relations between business and Balaguer were complicated by the growing incursions of the armed forces into business and into politics. Balaguer had a commanding presence within the military as a result of his ties to the Trujillo period, his anticommunism, his statesmanlike caudillo figure, and his acceptance of military repression as well as large-scale corruption. However, he clearly was not the military figure Trujillo had been. He sought to manage the military by playing off the ambitions of the leading generals and shifting their assigned posts. Yet, he occasionally confronted serious challenges, such as a coup effort by Elias Wessin y Wessin in 1971, which he successfully dismantled. The two leaders were later to reconcile politically.
The initial Balaguer years were a period of relative polarization that saw government repression and sporadic terrorist activities by opposition groups. In a six-year period after the 1965 occupation, some 2,000 additional Dominicans were killed. Following his electoral victory in 1966, Balaguer ran again and won in elections in 1970 and 1974. However, in these elections, the military placed strong pressure on opposition candidates, most of whom ultimately withdrew prior to election day. Balaguer also practiced a policy of co-optation, bringing opposition figures into government. The extent and the severity of repression, particularly after 1976, were considerably less than in the Trujillo years.
By the 1978 elections, Balaguer's drive for power, reelectionist aspirations, and policy decisions had alienated a number of
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
his former supporters. His popularity was also affected by worsening economic conditions. An economic downturn finally affected the country around 1976, when the sugar boom that had offset oil price increases faded. In addition, the country's substantial growth, industrialization, and urbanization had expanded middle-sector and professional groups, which were disgruntled by Balaguer's method of rule and apparent discrimination against newer and regional groups. The PRD, feeling the mood of the population and sensing support from the administration of United States president Jimmy Carter, nominated a moderate, Silvestre Antonio Guzm~in Ferndndez, as its candidate to oppose Balaguer in the 1978 elections.
For these elections, the PRD also projected a more moderate image and strengthened its international contacts, particularly with the United States government and the Socialist International. The PRD's ability to project itself as a less threatening alternative to Balaguer in 1978 was facilitated by the decision of Bosch in 1973 to abandon his party and establish another, more radical and cadre-oriented party, the Party of Dominican Liberation (Partido de la Liberaci6n Dominicana-PLD). Bosch's exit followed upon his disillusionment with liberal democracy following the 1965 United States intervention. In the 1980s, however, he was to lead his party back into the electoral arena.
Electoral victory did not come easily for the PRD. As it became evident early in the morning after election day that the party was winning by a wide margin, a military contingent stopped the vote count. In the end, the effort to thwart the elections was dismantled because of firm opposition by the Carter administration, other Latin American and European governments, and domestic groups. Yet, in the tense period between the election and the inauguration, congressional electoral results were "adjusted" to provide the exiting Balaguer with a guarantee that he would not be prosecuted. Principally this adjustment involved giving Balaguer's party, the PR, a majority in the Senate, which appointed judges, and thus was key to the successful prosecution of corruption charges.
The PRD in Power and Balaguer, Again
Unlike Balaguer, the leaders of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) promoted a democratic agenda. During the electoral campaign of 1978, the PRD conveyed the image of being the party of change (el partido del cambio); the party
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
pledged to improve the living standards of the less privileged, to include those who felt politically underrepresented, and to modernize state institutions and the rule of law. As a result,' the PRI's rise to power generated expectations among the Dominican people for socioeconomic and political reforms that were largely not achieved.
One threat to democracy that began to recede in 1978 was that of military incursion into politics, given that President Guzmin dismissed many of the key generals associated with repression. The armed forces have remained under civilian control. However, this-control resulted primarily from the personal relations top military officers had with the president and the divided political loyalties within the officer corps. Even when Balaguer returned to power in 1986, however, the military did not regain the level of importance and influence it had had during his first twelve years in office.
The Guzmiin administration (1978-82) was viewed as transitional because it faced a Senate controlled by Balaguer's party and growing intraparty rivalry in the PRD, which was led by Salvador Jorge Blanco. Yet, the PRD was able to unify around Jorge Blanco's presidential candidacy (Guzmdin had pledged not to seek reelection) and defeat Balaguer and Bosch in the May 1982 elections. Tragically, Guzmdin committed suicide in July 1982, apparently because of depression, isolation, and concerns that Jorge Blanco might pursue. corruption charges against family members; vice president Jacobo Majiuta Mzar completed Guzm~n's term until the turnover of power in August.
Initial hopes that the Jorge Blanco administration (1982-86) would be a less personalist, more institutional, reformist presidency were not realized. A major problem was the economic crisis that not only limited the resources the government had available and demanded inordinate attention, but also forced the government to institute unpopular policies, sometimes by executive decree. Problems had begun under Guzm~in: prices sharply increased following the second Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil shock, interest rates skyrocketed, and exports declined. In addition, sugar prices fell in 1977-79, rebounded in 1980, and then fell sharply again even as the United States sugar quota was being reduced and as prices of other Dominican exports also declined.
Significant steps toward economic stabilization were taken under the Jorge Blanco administration, although not without
Dominican Republic:- Historical Setting
difficulty. In April 1984, the government imposed price increases on fuel, food, and other items as part of a package of measures negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF-see Glossary) to renew international credit flows. Protests against these measures escalated into full-scale riots that were tragically mismanaged by the armed forces, leading to scores of deaths aiid the suspension of the measures. In the face of growing international constraints, the administration successfully complied with an IMF stand-by program over 1985 and 1986. However, the economic measures induced a sharp recession in the country. Another problem was executive-congressional deadlock, now driven by intraparty factionalism. The PRD was increasingly divided between followers of Salvador Jorge Blanco andJos6 Francisco Pefia G6mez on the one hand, and Jacobo Majluta Azar, on the other. Other difficulties resulted from the reassertion of patronage and executive largesse.
The situation in the country was perhaps responsible for the outcome of the May 1986 elections: Balaguer emerged victorious with a slim plurality, defeating Majluta of the PRD and Bosch of the PLD; Bosch had nevertheless received 18 percent of the vote, double the percentage from four years earlier. Balaguer had merged his party with several smaller Christian Democratic parties to form the Reformist Social Christian Party (Partido Reformista Social Cris ti ano-PRSC). However, the promise of a more coherent ideological base for his party was never realized.
Balaguer began his 1986 term by denouncing the mistakes and irregularities carried out by his predecessors. His denunciation led ultimately to the arrest of former president Jorge Blanco on corruption charges. The administration did nothing to remove the factors that fostered corruption, however, seemingly satisfied with discrediting the PRD and particularly Jorge Blanco.
Balaguer also sought to revive the economy quickly, principally by carrying out a number of large-scale public investment projects. He pursued a policy of vigorous monetary expansion, fueling inflationary pressures and eventually forcing the government to move toward a system of exchange controls. Inflation, which had been brought down to around 10 percent in 1986, steadily climbed through Balaguer's first term. Balaguer also faced increasing social unrest in the late 1980s. Numerous strikes, such as a one-day national strike in July 1987, another
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
in March 1988, and another in June 1989, took place between 1987-89; in 1990 Balaguer faced two general strikes in the summer and two others in the fall. Through a patchwork quilt of policies, the administration was able to limp through the May 1990 elections without a formal stabilization plan.
In spite of the country's problems, Balaguer achieved a narrow plurality victory in 1990. In elections marred by irregularities and charges of fraud, the eighty-three-year-old incumbent edged out his eighty-year-old opponent, Bosch, by a mere 24,470 votes. Pefia G6mez, the PRD candidate, emerged as a surprisingly strong third candidate. By 1990 the PRD was irreparably split along lines that had formed during the bitter struggle for the 1986 presidential nomination. Pefia G6mez had stepped aside for Jacobo Majluta in 1986 but had vowed not to do so again. The failure of numerous efforts since 1986 to settle internal disputes, as well as extensive legal and political wrangling, eventually left Pefia G6mez in control of the PRD apparatus. Majluta ran at the head of a new party and came in a distant fourth.
Once Balaguer was reelected, he focused on resolving growing tensions between his government and business and the international financial community. In August 1990, Balaguer commenced a dialogue with business leaders and signed a Solidarity Pact. In this pact, Balaguer agreed to curtail (but not abandon) his state-led developmentalism in favor of more austerity and market liberalization. He reduced public spending, renegotiated foreign debt, and liberalized the exchange rate, but he did not privatize state enterprises. An agreement with the IMF was reached in 1991, and ultimately what had been historically high rates of inflation in the country (59 percent in 1990 and 54 percent in 1991) receded. Levels of social protest also decreased, as the country looked toward the 1994 elections.
In the 1994 campaign, the main election contenders were Balaguer of the PRSC and Pefia G6mez of the PRD, with Bosch of the PLD running a distant third. In spite of suspicion and controversies, hopes ran high that with international help to the Electoral Board, a consensus document signed by the leading parties in place, and international monitoring, the 1994 elections would be fair, ending a long sequence of disputed elections in the Dominican Republic. Much to the surprise of many Dominicans and international observers, irregularities in voter registry lists were detected early on election day, which
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
prevented large numbers of individuals from voting. In what turned out to be extremely close elections, the disenfranchised appeared disproportionately to be PRD voters, a situation that potentially affected the outcome. The prolonged post-election crisis resulted from the apparent fraud in the 1994 elections. Balaguer had ostensibly defeated Pefia G6mez by an even narrower margin than that over Bosch in the 1990 elections. This situation caused strong reactions by numerous groups inside and outside the country: the United States government, the OAS, international observer missions, business groups, some elements of the Roman Catholic Church, and the PRD, among others. The severe criticism led to the signing of an agreement, known as the Pact for Democracy, reached among the three major parties on August 10, 1994. The agreement reduced Balaguer's presidential term to two years, after which new presidential elections would be held. The agreement also called for the appointment of a new Electoral Board as well as numerous constitutional reforms. The reforms included banning consecutive presidential reelection, separating presidential and congressional-municipal elections by two years, holding a run-off election if no presidential candidate won a majority of the votes, reforming the judicial system, and allowing dual citizenship.
A New Beginning?
The 1994 agreement and constitutional reforms, reinforced by increased vigilance by elements of Dominican civil society and by international actors, led to successful, free elections in 1996. None of the three main contenders in 1996 received the absolute majority necessary to win in the first round. Pefia G6mez of the PRD reached the highest percentage with 45.9 percent, followed by Leonel FernAndez of the PLD with 38.9 percent (Bosch had finally stepped down as party leader because of age and health), and Jacinto Peynado of the PRSC with 15 percent. Balaguer, who had not endorsed his party's first-round candidate, in the second round joined with the PRSC to officially endorse the candidacy of Leonel Ferndndez of the PLD in a "Patriotic Pact." The pact's spokesmen, who called for the preservation of national sovereignty and Dominicanness, were, in effect, articulating racial and anti-Haitian themes in their campaign against Pefia G6mez, who was of Haitian ancestry. Aided by the PRSC endorsement, Leonel Fermindez Reyna was able to defeat Pefia G6mez in the second round.
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
Ferndndez's arrival to the presidency illustrated many of the dramatic changes that had taken place in the country. At the time of the death of Trujillo in 1961, the Dominican Republic was a predominantly rural country with a population isolated from international contact and an economy largely dependent on the export of sugar and other agricultural crops. By 1996 the country was mostly urban, and its economy and culture were far more linked to the outside world. Sugar was fading in importance; the country's major sources of foreign exchange were now tourism, exports from free trade zones, and remittances from overseas -migrants. Indeed, the new president had spent part of his youth as a migrant in New York, where as many as one in fourteen Dominicans currently live; he could converse comfortably in English or Spanish about the implications of economic globalization, the threat of drug trafficking routes through the island republic, or the records of the dozens of Dominican baseball players in the major leagues of the United States.
The 1996 elections were the first in the country since 1962 when neither Balaguer nor Bosch was a candidate. Political change was evident, as were elements of continuity and conflict. Ferndndez obtained the presidency, but the new electoral calendar established by the 1994 reform meant that congressional elections would now be held at the midpoint of the presidential term. Indeed, his party had a very small representation in Congress because of its poor performance in the 1994 elections. Soon after Ferndndez's electoral victory, Balaguer's PRSC negotiated a pact with the PRD to obtain leadership positions in Congress. Without congressional support, however, as of mid-1998 the Ferndindez administration was stymied in its efforts to pass legislation.
Midway through his presidential term in office, Ferndindez had been governing in a more democratic fashion than Balaguer. As of mid-1998, the Ferndindez administration had had two major political successes. One was the appointment in August 1997 of a new Supreme Court-widely viewed as comprising many distinguished jurists-in a much more open process through a Council of the Magistrature established by the constitutional reform of 1994. The other was the holding of fair congressional and municipal elections on May 16, 1998. At the same time, the death of Pefia G6mez, one of the country's political leaders, on May 10, 1998, was an indicator of the transition in Dominican politics at the close of the twentieth cen-
Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
tury. Because of Pefia G6mez's death one week before the elections, the PRD won by an even wider margin than polls had suggested, gaining 80 percent of Senate seats, 56 percent of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and 83 percent of mayoral races. Although Fernindez's own PLD improved its congressional representation compared to 1994, it was not nearly to the level expected by the party; the PRSC also did very poorly.
Thus, the Dominican Republic is entering the new century seeking to strengthen still fragile democratic institutions, building on the successful democratic transition represented by the 1996 elections. The country is also having to learn how to manage the bitter interparty wrangling reflected in tense executivecongressional relations while also managing leadership changes in the major parties and confronting continuing serious socioeconomic challenges.
An excellent one-volume historical overview in English is Frank Moya Pons's The Dominican Republic: A National History. Also useful are the chapters by Frank Moya Pons and H. Hoetink found in The Cambridge History of Latin America (in volumes 2, 5, and 7, including their bibliographical essays).- On the nineteenth century, see also H. Hoetink, The Dominican People 1 85 9-1900: Notes for a Historical Sociology; Sumner Welles, Naboth's Vineyard: The Dominican Republic, 1844-1 924; and Emelio Betances, State and Society in the Dominican Republic. Bruce J. Calder's The Impact of Intervention is an excellent study of the United States occupation and its effects. On Trujillo, Robert Crassweller's Trujillo: The Life and Times of a Caribbean Dictator is highly recommended. Howard Wiarda has written extensively on the Dominican Republic; his most detailed work is a threevolume study, Dictatorship, Development and Disintegration: Politics and Social Changes in the Dominican Republic. Rosario Espinal has published many valuable articles, including "An Interpretation of the Democratic Transition in the Dominican Republic." Recent analyses of Dominican politics include those by Jan Knippers Black, The Dominican Republic, James Ferguson, The Dominican Republic: Beyond the Lighthouse, and Jonathan Hartlyn, The Stru ggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic. (For
further information and complete citations, see Bibliography)
Chapter 2. Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
A bohio, or rural hut
DOMINICAN SOCIETY OF THE late 1990s reflects the country's Spanish-African-Caribbean heritage. It manifests significant divisions along the lines of race and class. A small fraction of the populace controls great wealth, while the vast majority struggles to get by. The small emerging middle class works both to maintain and to extend its political and economic gains. Generally speaking, Dominican society offers relatively few avenues of advancement; most of those available allow families of modest means only to enhance slightly or consolidate their standing.
The majority of the population is mulatto, the offspring of Africans and Europeans. The indigenous Amerindian population had been virtually eliminated within half a century of initial contact. Immigrants-European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Caribbean-arrived with each cycle of economic growth. In general, skin color determines placement in the social hierarchy: lighter skin is associated with higher social and economic status. European immigrants and their offspring find more ready acceptance at the upper reaches of society than do darker-skinned Dominicans.
The decades following the end of the regime of Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina (1930-61) have been a time of extensive changes as large-scale rural-urban and international migration have blurred the gulf between city and countryside. Traditional attitudes persist: peasants continue to regard urban dwellers with suspicion, and people in cities continue to think of rural Dominicans as unsophisticated and naive. Nonetheless, most families include several members who have migrated to the republic's larger cities or to the United States. Migration serves to relieve some of the pressures of population growth. Moreover, cash remittances from abroad permit families of moderate means to acquire assets and maintain a standard of living far beyond what they might otherwise enjoy.
The alternatives available to poorer Dominicans are far more limited. Legal emigration requires assets beyond the reach of most, although some risk the water passage to Puerto Rico. Many rural dwellers migrate instead to one of the republic's cities. These newcomers, however, enjoy financial resources and training far inferior to those prevailing among families of moderate means. For the vast majority of the repub-
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
lic's population, the twin constraints of limited land and limited employment opportunities define the daily struggle for existence.
In the midst of far-reaching changes, the republic continues to be a profoundly family oriented society. Dominicans of every social stratum rely on family, kin, and neighbors for social identity and interpersonal relations of trust and confidence, particularly in the processes of migration and urbanization. At the same time, these processes often cause the family to disintegrate.
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola (La Isla Espafiola), which it shares with Haiti to the west. The 388-kilometer border between the two was established in a series of treaties, the most recent of which was the 1936 Protocol of Revision of the Frontier Treaty (Tratado Fronterizo) of 1929. The country is shaped in the form of an irregular triangle. The short side of the triangle is 388 kilometers long, while the two long sides form 1,575 kilometers of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Mona Passage. The total area of the country is 48,442 square kilometers. Although the Dominican Republic boasts the highest elevations in the Antilles, it also has a saltwater lake below sea level (see fig. 1).
The mountains and valleys of the Dominican Republic divide the country into three regions: the northern region, central region, and southwestern region. The northern region borders the Atlantic Ocean and consists of the Atlantic coastal plain, Cordillera Septentrional (Northern Range), Valle del Cibao (Cibao Valley), and Samandt Peninsula. The Atlantic coastal plain is a narrow strip that extends from the northwestern coast at Monte Cristi to Nagua, north of the Samandt Peninsula. The Cordillera Septentrional is south of and runs parallel to the coastal plain. Its highest peaks rise to an elevation of more than 1,000 meters. The Valle del Cibao lies south of the Cordillera Septentrional. It extends 240 kilometers from the northwest coast to the Bahia de Samandt (Samandt Bay) in the east and ranges in width from fifteen to forty-five kilometers. To the west of the ridge lies the Valle de Santiago, and to the east is the Valle de la Vega Real. The Samand~ Peninsula is an
Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
eastward extension of the northern region, separated from the Cordillera Septentrional by an area of swampy lowlands. The peninsula is mountainous, with its highest elevations reaching 600 meters.
The central region is dominated by the Cordillera Central (Central Range); it runs eastward from the Haitian border and turns southward at the Valle de Constanza to end in the Caribbean Sea. This southward branch is known as the Sierra de Ocoa. The Cordillera Central is 2,000 meters high near the Haitian border and reaches an elevation of 3,087 meters at Pico Duarte, the highest point in the country. An eastern branch of the Cordillera Central extends through the Sierra de Yamas~i to the Cordillera Oriental (Eastern Range). The main peaks of these two mountain groups are not higher than 880 meters. The Cordillera Oriental also is known as the Sierra de Seibo.
Another significant feature of the central region is the Caribbean coastal plain, which lies south of the foothills of the Sierra de Yamas~i and the Cordillera Oriental. It extends 240 kilometers from the mouth of the Ocoa River to the extreme eastern end of the island. The Caribbean coastal plain is ten to forty kilometers wide and consists of a series of limestone terraces that gradually rise to an elevation of 100 to 120 meters at the northern edge of the coastal plains at the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental. Finally, the central region includes the Valle de San Juan in the western part of the country; the valley extends 100 kilometers from the Haitian border to Bahia de Ocoa.
The southwestern region lies south of the Valle de San Juan. It encompasses the Sierra de Neiba, which extends 100 kilometers from the Haitian border to the Yaque del Sur River. The main peaks are roughly 2,000 meters high, while other peaks range from 1,000 to 1,500 meters. On the eastern side of the Yaque del Sur lies the Sierra de Martin Garcia, which extends twenty-five kilometers from the river to the Llanura de Azua (Plain of Azua).
The Hoya de Enriquillo, a structural basin that lies south of the Sierra de Neiba, is also within the southwestern region. The basin extends ninety-five kilometers from the Haitian border to the Bahia de Neiba and twenty kilometers from the Sierra de Neiba to the Sierra de Baoruco. The Sierra de Baoruco extends seventy kilometers from the Haitian border to the Caribbean Sea. Its three major peaks surpass 2,000 meters
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
in height. The Procurrente de Barahona (Cape of Barahona) extends southward from the Sierra de Baoruco and consists of a series of terraces.
The Dominican Republic has seven major drainage basins. Five of these rise in the Cordillera Central and a sixth in the Sierra de Yamasd. The seventh drainage system flows into the Lago Enriquillo (Lake Enriquillo) from the Sierra de Neiba to the north and the Sierra de Baoruco to the south. In general, other rivers are either sh-ort or intermittent.
The Yaque del Norte is the most significant river in the country. Some 296 kilometers long and with a basin area of 7,044 square kilometers, it rises near Pico Duarte at an elevation of 2,580 meters in the Cordillera Central. It empties into Bahia de Monte Cristi on the northwest coast where it forms a delta. The Yaque del Sur is the most important river on the southern coast. It rises to an elevation of 2,707 meters in the southern slopes of the Cordillera Central. Its upper course through the mountains comprises 75 percent of its total length of some 183 kilometers. The basin area is 4,972 square kilometers. The river forms a delta near its mouth in the Bahia de Neiba.
The Lago Enriquillo, the largest lake in the Antilles, lies in the western part of the Hoya de Enriquillo. Its drainage basin includes ten minor river systems and covers an area of more than 3,000 square kilometers. The northern rivers of the system are perennial and rise in the Sierra de Neiba, while the southern rivers rise in the Sierra de Baoruco and are intermittent, flowing only after heavy rainfall. The Lago Enriquillo itself varies from 200 to 265 square kilometers. Its water level oscillates because of the high evaporation rate, yet on the average it is forty meters below sea level. The water in the lake is saline.
The Dominican Republic has primarily a tropical climate, with more diurnal and local than seasonal variations in temperature, and with seasonal variability in the abundance of rainfall. The average annual temperature is 25'C, ranging from 18*C at an elevation of more than 1,200 meters to 28*C at an elevation of ten meters. Highs of 40*C are common in protected valleys, as are lows of 00C in mountainous areas. In general, August is the hottest month and January and February, the coldest.
Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
Seasons, however, vary more as a function of rainfall than of temperature. Along the northern coast, the rainy season lasts from November through January. In the rest of the country, it runs from May through November, with May being the wettest month. The dry season lasts from November through April, with March being the driest month. The average annual rainfall for the country as a whole is 150 centimeters. Rainfall varies, however, from region to region, from thirty-five centimeters in the Valle de Neiba to 274 centimeters in the Cordillera Oriental. In general, the western part of the country, including the interior valleys, receives the least rain.
Tropical cyclones-such as tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes-occur on the average once every two years in the Dominican Republic. More than 65 percent of the storms strike the southern part of the country, especially along the Hoya de Enriquillo. The season for cyclones lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November; some cyclones occur in May and December, but most occur in September and October. Hurricanes usually occur from August through October. They may produce winds greater than 200 kilometers per hour and rainfall greater than fifty centimeters in a twenty-fourhour period.
Size and Growth
The country's total population in 1993, according to the census of that year, totaled slightly more than 7 million; its population for 1997 has been estimated to be slightly above 8 million. Growth has been high since official census-taking began in 1920. The average growth rate peaked during the 1950s at 3.6 percent per year. Since then the rate has been declining: during the 1960s, the population grew at 2.9 percent annually; during the 1970s, at 2.3 percent; during the 1980s, at 2.0 percent; and during the 1990s, at 1.6 percent (see fig. 3).
The total fertility rate, although still relatively high, declined substantially in the 1970s and then slowly in the 1980s and early 1990s: from 3.7 children per woman of child-bearing age in 1985 to 3.2 in 1990, 2.8 in 1992, and 2.7 in 1995. Official estimates indicate that half of all married women use contraceptives-the rate was reportedly 58 percent in 1984 in comparison to 32 percent in 1975. However, the Dominican Republic's existing population growth rate and field studies
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
75 and over
50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39
MA .ES FEMALES
M f /'fY , f .,.
1 ' . 1 '. 1 1' ' 1 . ' I 1 1 . . . ' ' 1 - I . . . . .
500 400 300 200 100 0 100 200 300 400 500 POPULATION IN THOUSANDS
Source: Based on information from Dominican Republic, Oficina Nacional de
Estadistica, La Rpdblica Dominicana en Cifras, 1997, Santo Domingo, 1998,
Figure 3. Dominican Republic: Population Distribution by Age and
Sex, 1993 Census
seem to belie this figure. A scholarly study in the 1990s indicates, for example, that whereas the use of contraceptive pills ranged from 5 to 9 percent for the 1975 to 1986 period, permanent sterilization has become the most popular birth control method among Dominican women. Their recourse to it rose from 8 to 33 percent during the above period.
Despite the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church, the government began supporting family planning in 1967 with financing from the United States Agency for International Development. The family planning program expanded rapidly, from eight clinics concentrated in the cities and larger towns to more than 500 clinics-some in small towns and rural areasby the late 1980s. Both the Secretariat of State for Public Health and Social Welfare (Secretaria de Estado de Salud Pfiblica y Asistencia Social-SESPAS) and the National Council on Population and Family (Consejo Nacional de Poblaci6n y
Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
Familia-Conapofa) offer family planning services. By the 1980s, both organizations were trying to make their programs more responsive to the needs of rural families. In the 1980s, the groups focused on population reduction along with maternal and child health. The focus shifted in the 1990s to achieving a balance among population level, economic development, and progress toward social well-being.
Birth control encounters strong resistance from both sexes, especially in the countryside and the smaller cities. Although women use a variety of substances believed to be contraceptives or abortifacients, there is considerable misinformation about family planning. Many men believe birth control threatens their masculinity; some women think various contraceptive methods cause sickness. Dominican migrants who travel abroad are more aware of the available options, and some women migrants use modern contraceptives.
With regard to demographic distribution, the traditional (nonadministrative) subregions of the country include Valdesia and Yuma in the southeast, Enriquillo and Del Valle in the southwest, and the Central, Eastern, and Western Gibao in the north. The subregion of densest settlement is Valdesia on the southern coast, which contains the nation's capital and, according to the 1993 census, 41 percent of the population. Roughly one-third (30 percent in 1993) of all Dominicans live in the National District, the area surrounding the national capital of Santo Domingo. The other major area of settlement is the Central Gibao, which accounted for 23 percent of total population in 1993 (see table 2, Appendix).
Administrations have attempted to control population growth and distribution since the 1950s. The Trujillo regime fostered agricultural colonies scattered throughout the countryside and strung along the western frontier with Haiti. Some were coupled with irrigation projects. In the late 1970s, some new joint projects with Haiti were approved by President Silvesire Antonio Guzmin Fern~indez (1978-82).
Beginning in the late 1970s, the government also set up industrial free zones around the country. Although the desire to increase employment was the government's primary motivation, the establishment of free zones also had as a secondary goal the dispersal of industrialization, and thus migration, away from Santo Domingo (see Manufacturing, ch. 3). Intercensal
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
growth rates on the subregional and provincial levels reflect these trends. Puerto Plata grew at more than twice the rate of the nation as a whole in the 1970s. This trend continued in the 1980s and early 1990s as a result of the rapidly developing and expanding tourist industry along the north coast. The southeast, especially the National District, has expanded much faster than most of the country, as has La Romana, both largely on account of the increased number of industrial free zones.
The Dominican Republic is a country of migrants. Surveys in the mid-1970s found that nearly two-thirds of city dwellers and half of those in the countryside had migrated at least once. According to the 1981 census, nearly one-quarter of the population was living in a province other than that in which they were born. A decade later, according to the 1993 census, the figure had increased to one-third of the population. Rural areas in general, especially in the Central Cibao, have experienced significant levels of out-migration. The movement of peasants and the landless into the republic's growing cities has accounted for the lion's share of migration, however. Indeed, Dominicans have even coined a word, campuno, to describe the rural-urban campesino migrant. In the 1970s, the industrial free zones, particularly in La Romana and San Pedro de Macoris, attracted many migrants in search of employment. According to the 1981 census, the principal destinations for migrants were the National District followed by the provinces of La Romana, Independencia, and San Pedro de Macoris (see fig. 2). In the National District, 46 percent of the inhabitants were migrants. The main destination for migrants in the 1980s, according to the 1993 Dominican census, continued to be the National District but was followed this time by the provinces of Valverde and San Crist6bal and then La Romana and San Pedro de Macoris. This census indicated the increasing urbanization of the country as well as the apparent continuing magnet effect of the industrial zones, which in 1997 numbered thirty-five and employed 182,000 Dominicans.
In the 1990s, women predominated in both rural-urban and urban-rural migration (55 to 60 percent of the workers in the industrial free zones were women, representing what two Dominican analysts call the "feminization" of labor, especially in Santo Domingo). Men, however, are more likely than women to move from city to city or from one rural area to
Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
another. According to the 1993 census, in rural areas men outnumber women until the twenty to twenty-four-year age-group, when women become more numerous; in the forty-five to fiftyyear age-group, men once again become and remain in the majority. The figures reflect the fact that men in the twenty-five to forty-four-year age-group leave for the cities or for the United States. Many return two decades later. On the other hand, in the urban areas from their teens on women outnumber men.
In general, migrants earn more than non-migrants and suffer lower rates of unemployment, although underemployment is pervasive. Urban-rural migrants have the highest incomes. This category, however, consists of a select group of educated and skilled workers, mostly government officials, teachers, and the like moving from a city to assume specific jobs in rural areas. They receive higher wages as a recompense for the lack of urban amenities in villages.
Migrants speak of the migration chain cadenza ) tying them to other migrants and their home communities. Kin serve as the links in the chain. They care for family, lands, and businesses left behind, or, if they have migrated earlier, assist the new arrivals with employment and housing. The actual degree of support families can or are willing to give a migrant varies widely, however.
The process of rural-urban migration typically involves a series of steps. The migrant gradually abandons agriculture and seeks more nonagricultural sources of income. Migrants rarely arrive in the largest, fastest-growing cities "green" from the countryside. They acquire training and experience in intermediate-sized cities and temporary nonfarm jobs en route.
International migration plays a significant role in the livelihood of many Dominicans. Anywhere from 10 to 12 percent of the total population are residing abroad. Estimates of those living and working in the United States in the 1990s range from 300,000 to as high as 800,000. Roughly 200,000 more are estimated to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, many of them presumably waiting to get to the United States mainland. One Dominican official reported the estimated number in the late 1990s to be 700,000, which includes 75,000 illegals. In the mid1980s, the United States admitted from 23,000 to 26,000 Dominicans annually; by 1990 the number had increased to 42,195 and by 1993 to almost 46,000. (The United States census of 1990 reported that there were 511,297 Dominicans living
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Countiy Studies
as permanent residents. After the Dominican constitution was amended in 1994 to allow dual citizenship, there was a Dominican rush to naturalize.) Most emigrants go to New York City (68 percent in 1990); starting in the mid-1980s their destinations also included other cities of the eastern seaboard-Boston, Providence, and Hartford-and in the South, Miami.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, many professionals emigrated because of the lack of professional opportunities, thus constituting a brain drain, one that affected some key professions. Later, the majority of those emigrating were unemployed, unskilled, and women. A sizable minority (about one-third), however, emigrated not only for economic reasons but to continue their education, especially graduate and professional, or to join other family members. Many planned to save their money and return home to start a small business. In the 1980s and 1990s, the emigrants' educational and skill levels have been changing. Whereas the majority are still unskilled, an increasing minority includes emigrants who are relatively more educated and skilled than the Dominican populace as a whole. Most come from cities, but the mid- to large-sized farms of the overpopulated Cibao also send large numbers. Working in the United States has become almost an expected part of the lives of Dominicans from families of moderate means.
This practice linking the two countries has resulted in the development of what some scholars call the "dual societies"Dominican and United States-and the "dual identity" of Dominicans. Their moving back and forth, working and saving in the United States, being influenced by United States values, produces a north-south transnationalism. Because so many Dominicans live and work in New York City, a special word"Domyork"-was created at home to describe those returning to visit, open a business, or retire.
Cash remittances from Dominicans living abroad have become an integral part of the national economy. Emigrants' remittances constitute a significant percentage of the country's foreign exchange earnings. Remittances are used to finance businesses, purchase land, and bolster a family's standard of living. Most emigrants see sending money as an obligation. Although some refuse to provide assistance, they come under severe criticism from both fellow emigrants and those who remain behind. The extent to which an emigrant's earnings are committed to family and kin is sometimes striking. Anthropologist Patricia Pessar has described a Dominican man in New
View of the Duarte Highway north of Santo Domingo Courtesy, Inter-American Develop mentI Bank
York who earned less than US$500 per month. He sent US$150 of this to his wife and children and another US$100 to his parents and unmarried siblings. In 1990 remittances accounted for 40 percent of Dominican family income, and 88 percent of these remittances came from New Yobrk state.
Money from abroad has had a multiplier effect, it has spawned a veritable construction boom in emigrants' hometowns and neighborhoods beginning in the mid-1970s and continuing since that time. Some of the returning "Domvorks" who survived and profited from drug trafficking have brought about a major change in traditional Dominican society with 'their Hollywood homes, expensive cars, noisy bars, and discos. San Francisco de Macoris is the main city that has been so transformed. The increasing emigrant investments in housing and in tourism also have challenged the traditional elite's monopoly control. Additionally, emigrants contribute significant sums to the church back home. Many parish priests make annual fund-raising trips to New York to seek donations for local parish needs.
The impact of emigration is widely felt, which is illustrated by the experience of two Dominican villages, two decades apart, whose emigrants went to New York City and Boston. In
Dominican Republic and Haiti: Country Studies
the earlier case, in one Cibao village 85 percent of the households had at least one member living in New York in the mid1970s. In the later case, a village in the southern province of Peravia, more than 65 percent of the 445 households had relatives in the Boston metropolitan area in the mid-1990s. Where emigration is common, it alters a community's age pyramid: eighteen to forty-five-year-olds (especially males) are essentially missing. Emigration also eliminates many of the natural choices for leadership roles in the home community. Additionally, anthropologist-Pessar noted in a recent study the negative impact of departures upon rural society. Emigration, for example, has led to a shift from share-cropping to cattle grazing, resulting in the fragmentation of the rural economy. Although those left behind often feel isolated from their neighbors and are adrift, especially those who have left farming for cattle grazing, there is a constant exchange of news and information, and the maintenance of social contact between the remaining villagers and their emigrant relatives. The latter's remittances economically sustain or improve the welfare of the former.
For most of its history, the Dominican Republic was overwhelmingly rural; in 1920 more than 80 percent of its populace lived in the countryside, and by 1950 more than 75 percent still did. Substantial urban expansion began in the 1950s and gained tremendous momentum in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Urban growth rates far outdistanced those of the country as a whole. The urban population expanded at 6.1 percent annually during the 1950s, 5.7 percent during the 1960s to 1970s, 4.7 percent through the 1980s, and 3.3 percent from 1990 to 1995 (rural population has decreased 0.3 percent since 1990).
In the early decades of the twentieth century, the country was not only largely rural, but the urban scene itself was dominated by smaller cities and provincial capitals. In 1920 nearly 80 percent of all city dwellers lived in cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. Santo Domingo, with barely more than 30,000 residents, accounted for only 20 percent of those in cities. By contrast, in 1981 Santo Domingo alone accounted for nearly half of all city dwellers; it had more than double the total population of all cities of more than 20,000 inhabitants. Cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitan ts-n early 80 percent of the urban population in 1920-constituted less than 20 percent by 1981. According to the 1993 census, the Dominican
Dominican Republic.- The Society and Its Environment
Republic was 56 percent urban, and Santo Domingo had 40 percent of the urban population. The United Nations DemogTaphic Yearbook, 1996 estimated the country to be almost 62 percent urban in 1995.
Santo Domingo approximately doubled its population every decade between 1920 and 1970. Its massive physical expansion, however, dates from the 1950s. The growth in industry and urban construction, coupled with Trujillo's expropriations of rural land, fueled rural-urban migration and the city's growth. In 1993 the city had slightly more than 2 million inhabitants. The republic's second and third largest cities, Santiago de los Caballeros and La Romana, also experienced significant expansion in the 1960s and 1970s. Santiago, the center of traditional Hispanic culture, drew migrants from the heavily populated Cibao. La Romana, in the southeast, grew as a center of employment in the sugar industry as well as a tourism center; it was also the site of the country's first industrial free zone (see Manufacturing, ch. 3). The two cities continued to grow throughout the 1980s and early 1990s while the sugar industry declined-replaced by expanding industrial free zones and tourism in La Romana. In 1993 the population of Santiago de los Caballeros stood at 488,291 and that of La Romana at 141,570.
Population growth and rural-urban migration have strained cities' capacity to provide housing and amenities. Nevertheless, in 1981 nearly 80 percent of city dwellings had access to potable water; 90 percent had limited sewage disposal; and roughly 90 percent had electricity. These percentages subsequently declined because the provision of such services did not keep up with the general increase in population as well as with the continued rural-urban migration. For example, a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) report estimated that in 1993 the potable water supply reached 65 percent of the population: 80 percent were in urban areas and 46 percent were in rural areas (only 25 percent of rural communities had drinking water services). Sewage disposal services covered only 16 percent of the entire population, and 28 percent of the urban population had apartment or house connections. (According to the 1993 Dominican census, 214,354 of the country's 1,629,616 dwellings lacked sanitary services.) Finally, the PAHO report indicated that 81 percent of the dwellings had electricity.
By the mid-1980s, there was an estimated housing deficit of some 400,000 units; by 1990 estimates, 600,000 dwellings were
Dominican Republic and Haiti: County Studies
uninhabitable, 800,000 needed repairs, and only 500,000 were considered adequate. The need is greatest in the National District. Squatter settlements have grown in response to the scarcity of low-cost urban housing. In Santo Domingo these settlements are concentrated along the Ozama River and on the city's periphery. Whenjoaquin Balaguer Ricardo returned to the presidency in 1986, 3,000 squatters were forced from the construction site of the lighthouse along the Ozama River. They were moved to the side of the construction site where a slum area developed. A high wall was built to keep the area from being seen.
Public housing initiatives date from the late 1950s, when Trujillo built some housing for government employees of moderate means. Through the 1980s, a number of different governmental agencies played a role. Often motivated to create jobs during economic crises, the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency has designed a variety of projects in Santo Domingo. The Aid and Housing Institute and the National Housing Institute bear primary responsibility for the financing and construction of housing. In general, public efforts have been hampered by extreme decentralization in planning coupled with equally extreme concentration in decision-making. The primary beneficiaries of public projects are usually lower-income groups, although not the poorest urban dwellers. Projects have targeted those making at least the minimum wage, namely the lower-middle sector or the more stable segments of the working class.
Racial and Ethnic Groups
The island's indigenous inhabitants were mainly the Taino Indians, an Arawak-speaking group, and a small settlement of Carib Indians around the Bahia de SamanA. These Indians, estimated to number perhaps I million at the time of their initial contact with Europeans, for the most part had been killed or died by the 1550s as a result of harsh Spanish treatment. The Tainos were especially ill-treated.
The importation of African slaves began in 1503. By the nineteenth century, the population was roughly 150,000: 40,000 were of Spanish descent, 40,000 were black slaves, and the remainder were either freed blacks or mulattoes. In the mid-1990s, approximately 10 percent of the population was
Dominican Republic. The Society and Its Environment
considered white and 15 percent black; the remainder were mulattoes-75 percent (the percentages are often debated). Since then the percentage of whites has been slowly decreasing and that of mulattoes increasing; the black percentage has remained about the same, with Haitian immigration being a factor. The figures about the ethnic ratio and its changing composition are a sensitive Dominican issue because many elite and upper-class whites are anti-African (blacks and mulattoes) and seek to claim a higher, constant "white" figure. Many mulattoes, however, claim a larger percentage for themselves at the same time that many others have difficulty acknowledging their African roots.
Contemporary Dominican society and culture are primarily Spanish in origin. At the same time, much of popular culture reflects many African influences. Taino influence is limited to cultigens, such as maize or corn, and a few vocabulary words, such as huractin (hurricane) and hamaca (hammock). The African influence in society was officially suppressed and ignored by the Trujillo regime (1930-61) and then by Balaguer until the 1980s. However, certain religious brotherhoods with significant black membership have incorporated some Afro-American elements. Observers also have noted the presence of African influence in popular dance and music (see Culture, this ch.).
There has long been a preference in Dominican society for light skin, straight hair, and "white" racial features. Blackness in itself, however, does not necessarily restrict a person to a lower status position. Upward mobility is possible for the darkskinned person who manages to acquire education or wealth. During the era of Trujillo, joining the military became a major means of upward mobility, especially for dark and light-skinned Dominicans-the white elite would not permit its sons to join). Social characteristics focusing on family background, education, and economic standing are, in fact, more prominent means of identifying and classifying individuals. Darkerskinned persons are concentrated in the east, the south, and the far west near the Haitian border. The population of *the Cibao, especially in the countryside, consists mainly of whites or mulattoes.
Dominicans traditionally prefer to think of themselves as descendants of the island's Indians and the Spanish, ignoring their African heritage. Thus, phenotypical African characteristics, such as dark skin pigmentation, are disparaged. Trujillo, a