Dominican Republic Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Dominican Republic. According to, Dominican Republic Independence Day is February 27. The country was shaken by political unrest for most of the year, mainly due to an expected agreement between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on new credits and fears that the loan would be conditional on public cuts and price increases. The protests also took place in light of the lack of electricity, which mainly affected poor areas and which was motivated by the power companies with fuel procurement problems due to the weak currency of the Dominican Republic.

The ruling party Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) has been wrestling with internal strife over the presidential candidacy for next year’s election. Ironically, President Hipólito Mejía, who is striving for a new term, was elected in 2000 by a similar wave of protests against rising living costs, gasoline price increases and a lack of electricity.

In 1985, the United States reduced its sugar quota for the Dominican Republic, further reducing the country’s export revenue. Unemployment rose dramatically, triggering a new social upheaval. But the government continued its IMF-oriented economic policy and cracked down hard on any strike.

Internal power struggles in the ruling party PRD cost 2 lives in an armed clash before the party could nominate Jacobo Majluta as its candidate for the 1986 presidential election.

During this year, the scale of the economic crisis clearly emerged. A strike among the judges paralyzed the country’s judiciary for 3 months. In May, the country’s medical association went into a hard labor battle. It was followed by similar struggles among nurses, agricultural consultants and veterinarians. In August, the trip had come to the Engineering Association, and architects and surveyors joined this conflict, demanding a minimum wage of $ 260 a month ($ 2000). The Dominican Economist Organization pointed out that the process of poverty that had been particularly severe since 1980 “had initially only affected the lowest incomes, but now it also affected the middle classes”.

For the country’s poorest sectors, the situation was unbearable. Committees for popular struggle were formed – basic organizations that fought the rise in prices of basic goods and services. In April, 28 Dominicans died of asphyxiation in a container on a ship before being discovered by a group of dockworkers. It emerged that every week a load of young Dominican women was sent to an owner of a brothel on the Franco-Dutch island of Saint-Martin. He then sold them for 800-1000 marks to other Caribbean islands.

On May 16 elections were held. Jacobo Majluta stood as presidential candidate for PRD, Joaquín Balaguer for PRSC and Juan Bosch for Marxist PLD. The election was chaotic and along the way the counting of votes had to be canceled, but it was reportedly won by Joaquín Balaguer. He took over the presidential post in very difficult circumstances. He was clearly conservative, did not have a parliamentary majority and faced a highly organized social opposition. He therefore did not have the power to implement an even tougher economic plan required by the IMF to give the country more credits. The situation worsened further as the United States cut further into the Dominican sugar quota. 17,000 were laid off by the state administration and unemployment reached 27%.

Dominican Republic Border Map