Portal:Dominican Republic

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Introduction

Flag of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic (Spanish: República Dominicana [reˈpuβliˌka ðoˌminiˈkana]) is a sovereign state located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two countries. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 48,445 square kilometers (18,705 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10 million people, of which approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.

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Christopher Columbus landed on the island on December 5, 1492, which the native Taíno people had inhabited since the 7th century. The colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, and the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821. The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but no longer under Spain's custody the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years later after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced mostly internal conflicts and a brief return to colonial status (but Spain had not come to take away its independence) before permanently ousting Spanish rule during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. A United States occupation lasted eight years between 1916 and 1924, and a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U.S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966–1978 & 1986–1996), the rules of Antonio Guzmán (1972–1978) & Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982–1986). Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time since 1996. Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía.

The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0%, respectively, the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing, tourism, and mining. The country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the world, the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation (under 1% on average in 2015), job creation, as well as a high level of remittances.

Selected article

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Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna born December 26, 1953 is a Dominican politician and expresident of the Dominican Republic. He was born in Santo Domingo but spent his childhood and formative years in New York City, United States. He joined the PLD at its inception in 1973, when the late Juan Bosch left the PRD to create the new party. Fernández was a close pupil of Bosch, and was presented as a vice-president candidate with the latter during the 1994 presidential elections. During his first term in office, Fernández's political agenda was one of economic and judicial reform. He helped enhance Dominican participation in hemispheric forums, such as the Organization of American States and the Miami Summit. The Dominican economy enjoyed an average growth rate of seven percent, the highest in Latin American in that period, along with countries like South Korea. Inflation was stabilized in the low single digits, the lowest in all of Latin America. He served a four-year term as president between 1996 and 2000.

Fernández also began a very personal and visionary plan to run the Dominican Republic. When developers proposed the country's first modern port during his first term, he said that "We can be the Singapore of the Caribbean." In Santo Domingo city, he built highways and tunnels and favored foreign investment, but delayed fundamental social reforms, like education and public health.

Fernandez wasn't able to run for a second term (the constitution did not allow it) and thus, his party chose his right-hand man, Danilo Medina the best, as candidate for the 2000 election. However, Medina would go on to be defeated by a charismatic populist PRD leader, Hipólito Mejía, who captured the popular sentiment at the time, as many Dominicans felt that the Fernández reforms had not improved their lives greatly, and questioned claims of unprecedented economic growth. (more...)

Selected biography

Danilo Medina Sanchez is the current President of the Dominican Republic, since August 16, 2012. With broad political career, Medina is a member of the Dominican Liberation Party, the political party which has run the government of the country since 2004. He won the May 2012 dominican presidential election, defeating Hipolito Mejía with 51% of the votes.

Medina was born in Arroyo Cano, San Juan Province, in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. He is the oldest of eight brothers born of Juan Pablo Medina and Amelia Sánchez. Since he was 18 years old he was a student leader, founding the San Juan de la Maguana branch of the Frente Revolucionario Estudiantil Nacionalista at the UASD. When Professor Juan Bosch founded the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana in 1973, Medina joined him. He studied economics at Instituto Tecnológico Santo Domingo (INTEC), and graduated magna cum laude in 1984. He has been a member of the Central Committee of the PLD since 1983. In 1986 election he was elected a deputy in Congress. In 1987, he married psychologist Cándida Montilla and has three daughters, Sibeli, Vanessa and Ana Paula. (more...)

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