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Dominican Republic Country Information

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Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Flag
Population: 9,823,821
Area: 48,730
Continent: NA
Capitol: Santo Domingo
Currency: Peso (DOP)
Primary Languages Spoken: es-DO
Domain Name TLD: .do
Phone Prefix: +1-809 and
Country Code (FIPS): DR
Neighboring Countries: HT()

Dominican Republic Map
Dominican Republic Map



Summary:
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 1930-61. 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 (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna 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.

Location:
Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti

Geographical Coordinates:
19 00 N, 70 40 W

Climate:
tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall

Terrain:
rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed

Natural Resources:
nickel, bauxite, gold, silver

Area Comparisons:
slightly more than twice the size of New Hampshire

Coastline:
1,288 km

Growth Rate:
0.14%

Map Reference:
Central America and the Caribbean

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Facts

The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island Hispaniola is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries, Saint Martin being the other. Its size is 48,700 km with an estimated population of almost 10,000,000.

The Dominican Republic is the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas: Santo Domingo, the country's capital. For most of its independent history, the nation experienced political turmoil and unrest, suffering through many non-representative and tyrannical governments. Since the death of military dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina in 1961, the Dominican Republic has moved toward a liberal economic model, which has made it the largest economy in the region, and towards representative democracy.




Dominican Republic Profile

Geography
Area: 48,442 sq. km. (18,704 sq. mi.), about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Cities: Capital--Santo Domingo (pop. 2.25 million). Other city--Santiago de los Caballeros (908,230).
Terrain: Mountainous.
Climate: Maritime tropical.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Dominican(s).
Population (2009): 9.65 million.
Annual population growth rate (2009): 3.5%.
Ethnic groups: Mixed 73%, European 16%, African origin 11%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--70%. Literacy--84.7%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--19/1,000. Life expectancy--71 years for men, 73.1 years for women.
Work force: 60.2% services (tourism, transportation, communications, finances, others), 15.5% industry (manufacturing), 11.5% construction, 11.3% agriculture, 1.5% mining.

Government
Type: Representative democracy.
Independence: February 27, 1844. Restoration of independence, August 16, 1863.
Constitution: November 28, 1966 (amended July 25, 2002); 2010.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and head of government), vice president, cabinet. Legislative--bicameral Congress (Senate and House of Representatives). Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice.
Subdivisions: 31 provinces and the National District of Santo Domingo.
Political parties: Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), and several others.
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory, over 18 or married.

Economy (2010)
Nominal GDP: $51.6 billion.
Real GDP growth rate: 7.8%.
Per capita nominal GDP (est.): $5,231.
Agriculture (7.5% of real GDP): Products--rice, poultry, sugar, cacao, tobacco, coffee.
Non-manufacturing industry (4.5% of real GDP): construction and mining.
Manufacturing industry (21.3% of real GDP): beverages and tobacco, free trade zone (FTZ) textiles and wearing apparel, sugar, coke and refined petroleum products, grains.
Services (53.8% of real GDP): Communications, commerce, tourism, real estate, transport and storage.
Trade: Exports--U.S. $6.598 billion (f.o.b.), including free trade zones: FTZ exports (textiles, electronic products, jewelry, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, shoes), cacao, sugar, tobacco, coffee. Markets (2008)--U.S. (52.3%, including Puerto Rico) Haiti, Western Europe. Imports--U.S. $12.283 billion (f.o.b.), including free trade zones: petroleum and petroleum-derived products, lasting consumer goods (automobiles, etc.), food stuffs. Suppliers (2008)--U.S. (38.6%, including Puerto Rico), Taiwan, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia..

Dominican Republic People

Slightly fewer than half of Dominicans live in rural areas; many are small landholders. Haitians form the largest foreign minority group. All religions are tolerated; the state religion is Roman Catholicism.

Dominican Republic History

The island of Hispaniola, of which the Dominican Republic forms the eastern two-thirds and Haiti the remainder, was originally occupied by Tainos, an Arawak-speaking people. The Tainos welcomed Columbus in his first voyage in 1492, but subsequent colonizers were brutal, reducing the Taino population from about 1 million to about 500 in 50 years. To ensure adequate labor for plantations, the Spanish brought African slaves to the island beginning in 1503.

In the next century, French settlers occupied the western end of the island, which Spain ceded to France in 1697, and which, in 1804, became the Republic of Haiti. The Haitians conquered the whole island in 1822 and held it until 1844, when forces led by Juan Pablo Duarte, the hero of Dominican independence, drove them out and established the Dominican Republic as an independent state. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire; in 1865, independence was restored. Economic difficulties, the threat of European intervention, and ongoing internal disorders led to a U.S. occupation in 1916 and the establishment of a military government in the Dominican Republic. The occupation ended in 1924, with a democratically elected Dominican Government.

In 1930, Rafael L. Trujillo, a prominent army commander, established absolute political control. Trujillo promoted economic development--from which he and his supporters benefited--and severe repression of domestic human rights. Mismanagement and corruption resulted in major economic problems. In August 1960, the Organization of American States (OAS) imposed diplomatic sanctions against the Dominican Republic as a result of Trujillo's complicity in an attempt to assassinate President Romulo Betancourt of Venezuela. These sanctions remained in force after Trujillo's death by assassination in May 1961. In November 1961, the Trujillo family was forced into exile.

In January 1962, a council of state that included moderate opposition elements with legislative and executive powers was formed. OAS sanctions were lifted January 4, and, after the resignation of President Joaquin Balaguer on January 16, the council under President Rafael E. Bonnelly headed the Dominican Government.

In 1963, Juan Bosch was inaugurated president. Bosch was overthrown in a military coup in September 1963. Another military coup, on April 24, 1965, led to violence between military elements favoring the return to government by Bosch and those who proposed a military junta committed to early general elections. On April 28, U.S. military forces landed to protect U.S. citizens and to evacuate U.S. and other foreign nationals.

Additional U.S. forces subsequently established order. In June 1966, President Balaguer, leader of the Reformist Party (now called the Social Christian Reformist Party--PRSC), was elected and then re-elected to office in May 1970 and May 1974, both times after the major opposition parties withdrew late in the campaign. In the May 1978 election, Balaguer was defeated in his bid for a fourth successive term by Antonio Guzman of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). Guzman's inauguration on August 16 marked the country's first peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to another.

The PRD's presidential candidate, Salvador Jorge Blanco, won the 1982 elections, and the PRD gained a majority in both houses of Congress. In an attempt to cure the ailing economy, the Jorge administration began to implement economic adjustment and recovery policies, including an austerity program in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In April 1984, rising prices of basic foodstuffs and uncertainty about austerity measures led to riots.

Balaguer was returned to the presidency with electoral victories in 1986 and 1990. Upon taking office in 1986, Balaguer tried to reactivate the economy through a public works construction program. Nonetheless, by 1988 the country had slid into a 2-year economic depression, characterized by high inflation and currency devaluation. Economic difficulties, coupled with problems in the delivery of basic services--e.g., electricity, water, transportation--generated popular discontent that resulted in frequent protests, occasionally violent, including a paralyzing nationwide strike in June 1989.

In 1990, Balaguer instituted a second set of economic reforms. After concluding an IMF agreement, balancing the budget, and curtailing inflation, the Dominican Republic experienced a period of economic growth marked by moderate inflation, a balance in external accounts, and a steadily increasing GDP that lasted through 2000.

The voting process in 1986 and 1990 was generally seen as fair, but allegations of electoral board fraud tainted both victories. The elections of 1994 were again marred by charges of fraud. Following a compromise calling for constitutional and electoral reform, President Balaguer assumed office for an abbreviated term and Congress amended the constitution to bar presidential succession.

Since 1996, the Dominican electoral process has been seen as generally free and fair. In June 1996, Leonel Fernández Reyna of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) was elected to a 4-year term as president. Fernández's political agenda was one of economic and judicial reform. He helped enhance Dominican participation in hemispheric affairs, such as the OAS and the follow up to the Miami Summit. On May 16, 2000, Hipólito Mejía, the PRD candidate, was elected president in another free and fair election, soundly defeating PLD candidate Danilo Medina and former president Balaguer. Mejía championed the cause of free trade and Central American and Caribbean economic integration. The Dominican Republic signed a free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States and five Central American countries in August 2004, in the last weeks of the Mejía administration. During the Mejía administration, the government sponsored and obtained anti-trafficking and anti-money-laundering legislation, sent troops to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and ratified the Article 98 agreement it had signed in 2002. Mejía faced mounting domestic problems as a deteriorating economy--caused in large part by the government's measures to deal with massive bank fraud--and constant power shortages plagued the latter part of his administration.

During the Mejía administration, the constitution was amended to permit an incumbent president to seek a second successive term, and Mejía ran for re-election. On May 16, 2004, Leonel Fernández was elected president, defeating Mejía 57.11% to 33.65%. Eduardo Estrella of the PRSC received 8.65% of the vote. Fernández took office on August 16, 2004, promising in his inaugural speech to promote fiscal austerity, to fight corruption and to support social concerns. Fernández said the Dominican Republic would support policies favoring international peace and security through multilateral mechanisms in conformity with the United Nations and the OAS. The Fernández administration works closely with the United States on law enforcement and immigration and counter-terrorism matters. On May 16, 2008, President Fernández was reelected president with 53.8% of the vote. His new term runs until 2012. Congressional and municipal elections were held in May 2010, with Fernandez's PLD winning a slim majority of seats in the House of Represenatatives and 31 of 32 Senate seats, as well as a plurality of mayoral seats. President Fernandez's role in the victorious congressional campaign led his supporters to promote his candidacy for re-election in 2012. The new constitution promulgated in January 2010, would seem to prohibit this, and ultimately Fernandez announced that he would not run in the 2012 elections. After primary contests, the 2012 presidential race is currently divided between the ruling PLD candidate Danilo Medina and the opposition PRD candidate, former President Hipolito Mejia.

Dominican Republic Politics

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy with national powers divided among independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president appoints the cabinet, executes laws passed by the legislative branch, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for 4-year terms. Legislative power is exercised by a bicameral Congress--the Senate (32 members) and the House of Representatives (178 members).

The Dominican Republic has a multi-party political system which until 2010 held national elections every 2 years (alternating between presidential elections and congressional/municipal elections). The 2010 constitution adjusted the terms of the 2010 elections on a one-time basis to 6 years, so that beginning in 2016 the presidential, congressional, and municipal elections will be held simultaneously every 4 years in years evenly divisible by four. International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally free and fair. Elections are supervised by a Central Elections Board (JCE) of 9 members chosen for a four-year term by the newly elected Senate. JCE decisions on electoral matters are final.

Under the constitutional reforms negotiated after the 1994 elections, the 16-member Supreme Court of Justice is appointed by a National Judicial Council, which is comprised of the president, the leaders of both houses of Congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an opposition or non-governing-party member. One other Supreme Court Justice acts as secretary of the Council, a non-voting position. The Supreme Court has sole authority over managing the court system and in hearing actions against the president, designated members of his cabinet, and members of Congress when the legislature is in session.

The Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts and chooses members of lower courts. Each of the 31 provinces is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Mayors and municipal councils to administer the 124 municipal districts and the National District (Santo Domingo) are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.

Principal Government Officials
President--Leonel Fernández Reyna
Foreign Minister--Carlos Morales Troncoso
Ambassador to the United States--Anibal de Castro
Ambassador to the United Nations--Virgilio Alcántara
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Roberto Saladín

The Dominican Republic maintains an embassy in the United States at 1715 22d Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-6280).

DEFENSE
Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The commander in chief of the military is the president. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

Dominican Republic Economy

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy with national powers divided among independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president appoints the cabinet, executes laws passed by the legislative branch, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for 4-year terms. Legislative power is exercised by a bicameral Congress--the Senate (32 members) and the House of Representatives (178 members).

The Dominican Republic has a multi-party political system which until 2010 held national elections every 2 years (alternating between presidential elections and congressional/municipal elections). The 2010 constitution adjusted the terms of the 2010 elections on a one-time basis to 6 years, so that beginning in 2016 the presidential, congressional, and municipal elections will be held simultaneously every 4 years in years evenly divisible by four. International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally free and fair. Elections are supervised by a Central Elections Board (JCE) of 9 members chosen for a four-year term by the newly elected Senate. JCE decisions on electoral matters are final.

Under the constitutional reforms negotiated after the 1994 elections, the 16-member Supreme Court of Justice is appointed by a National Judicial Council, which is comprised of the president, the leaders of both houses of Congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an opposition or non-governing-party member. One other Supreme Court Justice acts as secretary of the Council, a non-voting position. The Supreme Court has sole authority over managing the court system and in hearing actions against the president, designated members of his cabinet, and members of Congress when the legislature is in session.

The Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts and chooses members of lower courts. Each of the 31 provinces is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Mayors and municipal councils to administer the 124 municipal districts and the National District (Santo Domingo) are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.

Principal Government Officials
President--Leonel Fernández Reyna
Foreign Minister--Carlos Morales Troncoso
Ambassador to the United States--Anibal de Castro
Ambassador to the United Nations--Virgilio Alcántara
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Roberto Saladín

The Dominican Republic maintains an embassy in the United States at 1715 22d Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-6280).

DEFENSE
Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The commander in chief of the military is the president. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

Dominican Republic Defense Program

Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The commander in chief of the military is the president. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

ECONOMY
After a decade of little to no growth in the 1980s, the Dominican Government initiated a program of economic reform in the early 1990s, adopting sound macroeconomic policies and opening the country to foreign investment. The economy grew at an average rate of 7.6% annually from 1996 to 2000. Growth faltered in the early 2000s as several of the Dominican Republic's main trading partners suffered recessions, reducing demand for manufactured goods. The economy contracted in 2003 (-0.3%) in the wake of a domestic banking crisis. The Mejía administration negotiated an IMF standby agreement in August 2003, though failed to comply with fiscal targets. The Fernández administration signed the agreement in January 2005, after securing required tax legislation. Fernández successfully renegotiated official bilateral debt with Paris Club member governments, commercial bank debt with London Club members, and sovereign debt with a consortium of lenders. Growth recovered, averaging 7.8% from 2004 to 2007. The standby agreement concluded in January 2008 with fiscal and financial targets largely met but reform in the electricity sector and financial markets unrealized.

The global economic crisis, and in particular the U.S. recession, started to impact the Dominican economy in 2008. Remittances, exports, and tourism fell, and continued to fall throughout 2009, driving down government revenue. In October 2009, seeking to shore up dwindling revenues and improve its ability to secure more favorable rates with private lenders, the Fernández administration negotiated a new 28-month, U.S. $1.7 billion standby agreement with the IMF. Among other goals, the agreement aims to address the unrealized reform from the previous agreement by addressing electricity sector inefficiencies and improving fiscal management.

Trade
The Dominican Republic's most important trading partner is the United States. Other markets include Haiti, Western Europe, and China. The country exports goods manufactured in free trade zones (FTZs), such as textiles, electronic products, jewelry, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, as well as cacao, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Aside from inputs into FTZs, it imports petroleum and petroleum-derived products, lasting consumer goods (automobiles, etc.), and food and foodstuffs.

On September 5, 2005, the Dominican Congress ratified a free trade agreement with the U.S. and five Central American countries, known as CAFTA-DR. The CAFTA-DR agreement entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007. U.S. direct investment in the Dominican Republic is primarily in the manufacturing sector. Remittances were close to $3 billion in 2010.

FTZs accounted for an estimated U.S. $4.08 billion in Dominican exports for 2010 (61.8% of total exports). FTZ rebounded after a slump in 2009, though FTZ exports are still roughly 15% lower than they were at their peak in 2000 The textiles sector--which constituted 53.6% of FTZ exports in 2000--has increasingly played a smaller role in the FTZ sector. It experienced an estimated 17% drop since 2008 (and a 62% drop since 2000) due in part to the appreciation of the Dominican peso against the dollar, Asian competition following expiration of the quotas of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, and a government-mandated increase in salaries. In 2009, the largest category of FTZ exports was the aggregate of non-traditional FTZ exports followed by textiles and electric products. .

Electricity
An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of participants in the electricity sector to establish long-term financial viability for the system. The sector is divided between privately-owned electricity generators and State-owned electricity distributors. Installed generation capacity is currently adequate, but a steadily increasing demand coupled with anemic recapitalization in generation point towards a looming shortage. Indeed, baseline demand is projected to overtake installed capacity by 2014. The investment climate remains unattractive due to late payment to generators by the government-owned distribution companies and the worries that generators have about fair competition. In 2009, the World Bank recorded that electricity distribution losses totaled about 40%, a rate of loss exceeded in only two other countries. Estimates continue to place total losses in the range of 35 to 42% due to low collection rates, theft, infrastructure problems, and corruption. As a result, the Government is always in arrears to the generators. Under the IMF Standby Agreement, the Government is committed to remaining current on debt to generators over 45 days old. Timely payments persist in being a challenge for the Dominican government and it frequently falls behind in-between IMF reviews. As an additional issue, an estimated 85% of Dominican citizens receive a subsidized billing rate, costing the Government a projected U.S. $1 billion in 2011. In response, the Dominican government recently announced an across-the board 8% increase in electricity rates, citing the relentless rise in oil prices. This follows an 11% rate increase on December 1, 2010.

Dominican Republic Foreign Relations

Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The commander in chief of the military is the president. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

ECONOMY
After a decade of little to no growth in the 1980s, the Dominican Government initiated a program of economic reform in the early 1990s, adopting sound macroeconomic policies and opening the country to foreign investment. The economy grew at an average rate of 7.6% annually from 1996 to 2000. Growth faltered in the early 2000s as several of the Dominican Republic's main trading partners suffered recessions, reducing demand for manufactured goods. The economy contracted in 2003 (-0.3%) in the wake of a domestic banking crisis. The Mejía administration negotiated an IMF standby agreement in August 2003, though failed to comply with fiscal targets. The Fernández administration signed the agreement in January 2005, after securing required tax legislation. Fernández successfully renegotiated official bilateral debt with Paris Club member governments, commercial bank debt with London Club members, and sovereign debt with a consortium of lenders. Growth recovered, averaging 7.8% from 2004 to 2007. The standby agreement concluded in January 2008 with fiscal and financial targets largely met but reform in the electricity sector and financial markets unrealized.

The global economic crisis, and in particular the U.S. recession, started to impact the Dominican economy in 2008. Remittances, exports, and tourism fell, and continued to fall throughout 2009, driving down government revenue. In October 2009, seeking to shore up dwindling revenues and improve its ability to secure more favorable rates with private lenders, the Fernández administration negotiated a new 28-month, U.S. $1.7 billion standby agreement with the IMF. Among other goals, the agreement aims to address the unrealized reform from the previous agreement by addressing electricity sector inefficiencies and improving fiscal management.

Trade
The Dominican Republic's most important trading partner is the United States. Other markets include Haiti, Western Europe, and China. The country exports goods manufactured in free trade zones (FTZs), such as textiles, electronic products, jewelry, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, as well as cacao, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Aside from inputs into FTZs, it imports petroleum and petroleum-derived products, lasting consumer goods (automobiles, etc.), and food and foodstuffs.

On September 5, 2005, the Dominican Congress ratified a free trade agreement with the U.S. and five Central American countries, known as CAFTA-DR. The CAFTA-DR agreement entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007. U.S. direct investment in the Dominican Republic is primarily in the manufacturing sector. Remittances were close to $3 billion in 2010.

FTZs accounted for an estimated U.S. $4.08 billion in Dominican exports for 2010 (61.8% of total exports). FTZ rebounded after a slump in 2009, though FTZ exports are still roughly 15% lower than they were at their peak in 2000 The textiles sector--which constituted 53.6% of FTZ exports in 2000--has increasingly played a smaller role in the FTZ sector. It experienced an estimated 17% drop since 2008 (and a 62% drop since 2000) due in part to the appreciation of the Dominican peso against the dollar, Asian competition following expiration of the quotas of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, and a government-mandated increase in salaries. In 2009, the largest category of FTZ exports was the aggregate of non-traditional FTZ exports followed by textiles and electric products. .

Electricity
An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of participants in the electricity sector to establish long-term financial viability for the system. The sector is divided between privately-owned electricity generators and State-owned electricity distributors. Installed generation capacity is currently adequate, but a steadily increasing demand coupled with anemic recapitalization in generation point towards a looming shortage. Indeed, baseline demand is projected to overtake installed capacity by 2014. The investment climate remains unattractive due to late payment to generators by the government-owned distribution companies and the worries that generators have about fair competition. In 2009, the World Bank recorded that electricity distribution losses totaled about 40%, a rate of loss exceeded in only two other countries. Estimates continue to place total losses in the range of 35 to 42% due to low collection rates, theft, infrastructure problems, and corruption. As a result, the Government is always in arrears to the generators. Under the IMF Standby Agreement, the Government is committed to remaining current on debt to generators over 45 days old. Timely payments persist in being a challenge for the Dominican government and it frequently falls behind in-between IMF reviews. As an additional issue, an estimated 85% of Dominican citizens receive a subsidized billing rate, costing the Government a projected U.S. $1 billion in 2011. In response, the Dominican government recently announced an across-the board 8% increase in electricity rates, citing the relentless rise in oil prices. This follows an 11% rate increase on December 1, 2010.

Dominican Republic Additionalal Political Information

Congress authorizes a combined military force of 44,000 active duty personnel. Actual active duty strength is approximately 32,000. However, approximately 50% of those are used for non-military activities such as security providers for government-owned non-military facilities, highway toll stations, prisons, forestry work, state enterprises, and private businesses. The commander in chief of the military is the president. The principal missions are to defend the nation and protect the territorial integrity of the country. The army, larger than the other services combined with approximately 20,000 active duty personnel, consists of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade. The air force operates two main bases, one in the southern region near Santo Domingo and one in the northern region near Puerto Plata. The navy operates two major naval bases, one in Santo Domingo and one in Las Calderas on the southwestern coast, and maintains 12 operational vessels. In the Caribbean, only Cuba has a larger military force.

The armed forces have organized a Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) and a Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP) to meet international security needs in these areas. The Secretary of the Armed Forces has also announced plans to form a specialized border corps (CESEF). Additionally, the armed forces provide 75% of personnel to the National Investigations Directorate (DNI) and the Counter-Drug Directorate (DNCD).

The Dominican National Police force contains 32,000 agents. The police are not part of the Dominican armed forces, but share some overlapping security functions. Sixty-three percent of the force serve in areas outside traditional police functions, similar to the situation of their military counterparts.

ECONOMY
After a decade of little to no growth in the 1980s, the Dominican Government initiated a program of economic reform in the early 1990s, adopting sound macroeconomic policies and opening the country to foreign investment. The economy grew at an average rate of 7.6% annually from 1996 to 2000. Growth faltered in the early 2000s as several of the Dominican Republic's main trading partners suffered recessions, reducing demand for manufactured goods. The economy contracted in 2003 (-0.3%) in the wake of a domestic banking crisis. The Mejía administration negotiated an IMF standby agreement in August 2003, though failed to comply with fiscal targets. The Fernández administration signed the agreement in January 2005, after securing required tax legislation. Fernández successfully renegotiated official bilateral debt with Paris Club member governments, commercial bank debt with London Club members, and sovereign debt with a consortium of lenders. Growth recovered, averaging 7.8% from 2004 to 2007. The standby agreement concluded in January 2008 with fiscal and financial targets largely met but reform in the electricity sector and financial markets unrealized.

The global economic crisis, and in particular the U.S. recession, started to impact the Dominican economy in 2008. Remittances, exports, and tourism fell, and continued to fall throughout 2009, driving down government revenue. In October 2009, seeking to shore up dwindling revenues and improve its ability to secure more favorable rates with private lenders, the Fernández administration negotiated a new 28-month, U.S. $1.7 billion standby agreement with the IMF. Among other goals, the agreement aims to address the unrealized reform from the previous agreement by addressing electricity sector inefficiencies and improving fiscal management.

Trade
The Dominican Republic's most important trading partner is the United States. Other markets include Haiti, Western Europe, and China. The country exports goods manufactured in free trade zones (FTZs), such as textiles, electronic products, jewelry, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, as well as cacao, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Aside from inputs into FTZs, it imports petroleum and petroleum-derived products, lasting consumer goods (automobiles, etc.), and food and foodstuffs.

On September 5, 2005, the Dominican Congress ratified a free trade agreement with the U.S. and five Central American countries, known as CAFTA-DR. The CAFTA-DR agreement entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007. U.S. direct investment in the Dominican Republic is primarily in the manufacturing sector. Remittances were close to $3 billion in 2010.

FTZs accounted for an estimated U.S. $4.08 billion in Dominican exports for 2010 (61.8% of total exports). FTZ rebounded after a slump in 2009, though FTZ exports are still roughly 15% lower than they were at their peak in 2000 The textiles sector--which constituted 53.6% of FTZ exports in 2000--has increasingly played a smaller role in the FTZ sector. It experienced an estimated 17% drop since 2008 (and a 62% drop since 2000) due in part to the appreciation of the Dominican peso against the dollar, Asian competition following expiration of the quotas of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, and a government-mandated increase in salaries. In 2009, the largest category of FTZ exports was the aggregate of non-traditional FTZ exports followed by textiles and electric products. .

Electricity
An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of participants in the electricity sector to establish long-term financial viability for the system. The sector is divided between privately-owned electricity generators and State-owned electricity distributors. Installed generation capacity is currently adequate, but a steadily increasing demand coupled with anemic recapitalization in generation point towards a looming shortage. Indeed, baseline demand is projected to overtake installed capacity by 2014. The investment climate remains unattractive due to late payment to generators by the government-owned distribution companies and the worries that generators have about fair competition. In 2009, the World Bank recorded that electricity distribution losses totaled about 40%, a rate of loss exceeded in only two other countries. Estimates continue to place total losses in the range of 35 to 42% due to low collection rates, theft, infrastructure problems, and corruption. As a result, the Government is always in arrears to the generators. Under the IMF Standby Agreement, the Government is committed to remaining current on debt to generators over 45 days old. Timely payments persist in being a challenge for the Dominican government and it frequently falls behind in-between IMF reviews. As an additional issue, an estimated 85% of Dominican citizens receive a subsidized billing rate, costing the Government a projected U.S. $1 billion in 2011. In response, the Dominican government recently announced an across-the board 8% increase in electricity rates, citing the relentless rise in oil prices. This follows an 11% rate increase on December 1, 2010.




List of States / Privinces / Districts in Dominican Republic


1. Provincia de Valverde
2. Provincia de Santiago Rodriguez
3. Provincia de Santiago
4. Provincia de San Pedro de Macoris
5. Provincia de San Juan
6. Provincia de San Cristobal
7. Provincia Sanchez Ramirez
8. Provincia de Samana
9. Provincia de Hermanas Mirabal
10. Puerto Plata
11. Provincia de Peravia
12. Provincia de Pedernales
13. Distrito Nacional
14. Provincia de Monte Plata
15. Provincia de Monte Cristi
16. Provincia de Monsenor Nouel
17. Provincia Maria Trinidad Sanchez
18. Provincia de La Vega
19. Provincia de La Romana
20. Provincia de La Altagracia
21. Provincia de Independencia
22. Provincia de Hato Mayor
23. Provincia Espaillat
24. Provincia de El Seibo
25. Provincia de Elias Pina
26. Provincia Duarte
27. Provincia de Dajabon
28. Provincia de Barahona
29. Provincia de Baoruco
30. Provincia de Azua
31. Provincia de San Jose de Ocoa
32. Provincia de Santo Domingo



Dominican Republic's Largest Cities

(Dominican Republic's Most Populated Cities)


Top 100 Dominican Republic cities shown of 191 total Dominican Republic cities that are over 1,000 in population...

1. Santo Domingo 2,201,941
2. Santiago de los Caballeros 1,200,000
3. San Pedro de Macoris 217,899
4. La Romana 208,437
5. San Cristobal 154,040
6. Puerto Plata 146,000
7. San Francisco de Macoris 124,763
8. Salvaleon de Higuey 123,787
9. Concepcion de La Vega 102,426
10. Punta Cana 100,023
11. Santa Cruz de Barahona 77,160
12. Bonao 73,269
13. San Juan de la Maguana 72,950
14. Bajos de Haina 66,784
15. Bani 66,709
16. Moca 61,834
17. Azua de Compostela 59,139
18. Mao 48,297
19. Esperanza 42,169
20. Cotui 41,641
21. Villa Altagracia 40,027
22. Hato Mayor del Rey 35,999
23. Nagua 33,862
24. Villa Bisono 33,137
25. Jarabacoa 29,983
26. Constanza 29,481
27. Santa Cruz de El Seibo 23,547
28. Tamboril 23,304
29. Las Matas de Farfan 21,802
30. San Jose de Ocoa 21,148
31. Bayaguana 21,055
32. Neiba 18,670
33. Quisqueya 17,694
34. San Fernando de Monte Cristi 17,001
35. Sabana Grande de Boya 16,834
36. Dajabon 16,398
37. Sabaneta 16,380
38. Monte Plata 15,532
39. Sabana de La Mar 13,977
40. Duverge 13,405
41. Cambita Garabitos 13,382
42. Cabral 12,303
43. Comendador 12,070
44. Salsipuedes 11,675
45. Villa Vasquez 11,642
46. Yamasa 11,595
47. San Gregorio de Nigua 11,542
48. Santa Barbara de Samana 11,432
49. Sanchez 11,365
50. Pedernales 11,072
51. Vicente Noble 11,060
52. Sabana Yegua 10,624
53. Las Matas de Santa Cruz 10,218
54. Villa Gonzalez 10,177
55. Fantino 10,024
56. San Jose de Las Matas 9,853
57. Las Guaranas 9,586
58. Pimentel 9,550
59. Sosua 9,482
60. Miches 9,273
61. Villa Jaragua 9,248
62. Rio San Juan 8,983
63. Piedra Blanca 8,531
64. Padre Las Casas 8,485
65. Imbert 8,024
66. Las Terrenas 7,713
67. Laguna Salada 7,601
68. Tenares 7,390
69. Peralta 7,236
70. El Factor 7,014
71. Paya 6,916
72. Loma de Cabrera 6,679
73. Moncion 6,625
74. Jimani 6,567
75. Nizao 6,530
76. Gaspar Hernandez 6,506
77. Paraiso 6,490
78. Licey al Medio 6,435
79. Tamayo 6,429
80. Castillo 6,328
81. Jima Abajo 6,299
82. Guaymate 6,224
83. Otra Banda 6,071
84. Galvan 6,027
85. Rincon 5,909
86. Veragua Arriba 5,858
87. Villa Riva 5,700
88. Yayas de Viajama 5,669
89. El Valle 5,666
90. San Victor Arriba 5,624
91. Yaguate 5,610
92. Estebania 5,591
93. Juan de Herrera 5,543
94. Los Llanos 5,529
95. La Descubierta 5,521
96. Esperalvillo 5,445
97. Enriquillo 5,423
98. Cercado Abajo 5,316
99. San Rafael del Yuma 5,285
100. Vallejuelo 5,217

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