Central America and Caribbean :: Dominican Republic

Introduction ::Dominican Republic

    The Taino - indigenous inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to the arrival of the Europeans - divided the island into five chiefdoms and territories. Christopher COLUMBUS explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492; it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821 but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930 to 1961. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (first term 1996-2000) won election to a new term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, and was since reelected to a second consecutive term.

Geography ::Dominican Republic

People and Society ::Dominican Republic

Government ::Dominican Republic

    conventional long form: Dominican Republic
    conventional short form: The Dominican
    local long form: Republica Dominicana
    local short form: La Dominicana
    democratic republic
    name: Santo Domingo
    geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    31 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 district* (distrito); Azua, Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabon, Distrito Nacional*, Duarte, El Seibo, Elias Pina, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Independencia, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Monsenor Nouel, Monte Cristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, Puerto Plata, Salcedo, Samana, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, San Juan, San Pedro de Macoris, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Santiago Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Valverde
    27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
    Independence Day, 27 February (1844)
    28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002 and January 2010
    civil law system based on the French civil code; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age can vote; note - members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote by law
    chief of state: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Danilo MEDINA Sanchez (since 16 August 2012); Vice President Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ (since 16 August 2012)
    cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held on 20 May 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: Danilo MEDINA Sanchez elected president; percent of vote - Danilo MEDINA Sanchez 51.2%, Hipolito MEJIA 47%, other 1.8%; Margarita CEDENO DE FERNANDEZ elected vice president
    bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (183 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 16 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2016); in order to synchronize presidential, legislative, and local elections for 2016, those members elected in 2010 will actually serve six-year terms
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 31, PRSC 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 105, PRD 75, PRSC 3
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia (consists of a minimum of 16 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 13 judges)
    note - the Constitutional Court was established in 2010 by constitutional amendment
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and a non-governing party congressional representative; Supreme Court judges appointed for 7- year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms
    subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; justices of the peace; special courts for juvenile, labor, and land cases; Contentious Administrative Court for cases filed against the government
    Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]
    Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Miguel VARGAS Maldonado]
    National Progressive Front [Vinicio CASTILLO, Pelegrin CASTILLO]
    Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Carlos MORALES Troncoso]
    Citizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania)
    Collective of Popular Organizations or COP
    Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice or FINJUS
    ACP, AOSIS, BCIE, Caricom (observer), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF (observer), OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Anibal de Jesus de CASTRO Rodriguez
    chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
    FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
    consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Glendale (CA), Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Raul H. YZAGUIRRE
    embassy: corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
    mailing address: Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
    telephone: [1] (809) 221-2171
    FAX: [1] (809) 686-7437
    a centered white cross that extends to the edges divides the flag into four rectangles - the top ones are blue (hoist side) and red, and the bottom ones are red (hoist side) and blue; a small coat of arms featuring a shield supported by a laurel branch (left) and a palm branch (right) is at the center of the cross; above the shield a blue ribbon displays the motto, DIOS, PATRIA, LIBERTAD (God, Fatherland, Liberty), and below the shield, REPUBLICA DOMINICANA appears on a red ribbon; in the shield a bible is opened to a verse that reads "Y la verdad nos hara libre" (And the truth shall set you free); blue stands for liberty, white for salvation, and red for the blood of heroes
    palmchat (bird)
    name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem)

    lyrics/music: Emilio PRUD"HOMME/Jose REYES
    note: adopted 1934; also known as "Quisqueyanos valientes" (Valient Sons of Quisqueye); the anthem never refers to the people as Dominican but rather calls them "Quisqueyanos," a reference to the indigenous name of the island

Economy ::Dominican Republic

Energy ::Dominican Republic

Communications ::Dominican Republic

    1.044 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    8.77 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    general assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile-cellular service with a subscribership of nearly 90 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 1-809; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), Antillas 1, and the Fibralink submarine cables that provide links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media; 1 state-owned TV network and a number of private TV networks; networks operate repeaters to extend signals throughout country; combination of state-owned and privately owned radio stations with more than 300 radio stations operating (2007)
    .do
    404,500 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    2.701 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 68

Transportation ::Dominican Republic

Military ::Dominican Republic

Transnational Issues ::Dominican Republic

    Haitian migrants cross the porous border into the Dominican Republic to find work; illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage each year to Puerto Rico to find better work
    transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money laundering activity in particular by Colombian narcotics traffickers; significant amphetamine consumption (2008)