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Dominican Republic Historical and Political Profile

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Dominican Republic Index

  • Dominican Republic-The System of Dominican Politics POLITICAL DYNAMICS
  • Dominican Republic-SOCIETY
  • Dominican Republic-The Navy
  • Dominican Republic-The Legislature
  • Dominican Republic-Mining
  • Dominican Republic-Acknowledgements
  • Dominican Republic-RELIGION
  • Dominican Republic-Foreign Debt
  • Dominican Republic-Outside Actors
  • Dominican Republic-Ethnic Heritage RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS
  • Dominican Republic-Tourism SERVICES
  • Dominican Republic-Foreign Trade FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
  • Dominican Republic-Penal Law and Procedure
  • Dominican Republic-The Contest for Power, 1865-82
  • Dominican Republic-Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Sugar Plantations
  • Dominican Republic-Expenditures
  • Dominican Republic-Banking and Financial Services
  • Dominican Republic-Forestry and Fishing
  • Dominican Republic-Transition to Elected Government THE POST-TRUJILLO ERA
  • Dominican Republic-Urbanization
  • Dominican Republic-Communications
  • Dominican Republic-The Air Force
  • Dominican Republic-The Air Force
  • Dominican Republic-Local Government
  • Dominican Republic-Health and Social Security
  • Dominican Republic-Political Parties
  • Dominican Republic-Drainage
  • Dominican Republic-Land Tenure and Land Policy
  • Dominican Republic-Migration
  • Dominican Republic-RURAL SOCIETY
  • Dominican Republic-GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
  • Dominican Republic-Joaquín Balaguer, 1966-78
  • Dominican Republic-The Mass Media
  • Dominican Republic-The Urban Poor
  • Dominican Republic-THE FIRST COLONY
  • Dominican Republic-Climate
  • Dominican Republic-Monetary and Exchange-Rate Policies
  • Dominican Republic-The Roman Catholic Church
  • Dominican Republic-Economic Elites
  • Dominican Republic-The Executive
  • Dominican Republic-Traditional Manufacturing
  • Dominican Republic-The Infant Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Free-Zone Manufacturing
  • Dominican Republic-Peasants
  • Dominican Republic-The Armed Forces
  • Dominican Republic-ULISES HEUREAUX, 1882-99
  • Dominican Republic-Middle Class
  • Dominican Republic-The Elite URBAN SOCIETY
  • Dominican Republic-Informal Sector
  • Dominican Republic-Fiscal Policy ECONOMIC POLICY
  • Dominican Republic-HAITI AND SANTO DOMINGO
  • Dominican Republic-FAMILY AND KIN
  • Dominican Republic-Education SOCIAL WELFARE
  • Dominican Republic-Balance of Payments
  • Dominican Republic-Mixed Farming
  • Dominican Republic-Formal Sector LABOR
  • Dominican Republic-The Middle Sector
  • Dominican Republic-OCCUPATION BY THE UNITED STATES, 1916-24
  • Dominican Republic-Public Administration
  • Dominican Republic-The Prison System
  • Dominican Republic-Annexation by Spain, 1861-65
  • Dominican Republic-Missions
  • Dominican Republic-Crops
  • Dominican Republic-Chapter 5 - Dominican Republic: National Security
  • Dominican Republic-Land Use
  • Dominican Republic-The Judiciary
  • Dominican Republic-GEOGRAPHY
  • Dominican Republic-Chapter 3 - Dominican Republic: The Economy
  • Dominican Republic-Civil War and United States Intervention, 1965
  • Dominican Republic-ECONOMY
  • Dominican Republic-The Criminal Justice System
  • Dominican Republic-Size and Growth POPULATION
  • Dominican Republic-RENEWED CONFLICT, 1899-1916
  • Dominican Republic-The Bureaucracy
  • Dominican Republic-Revenues
  • Dominican Republic -COUNTRY PROFILE: Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Chapter 1 - Dominican Republic: Historical Setting
  • Dominican Republic-Constitutional Development THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
  • Dominican Republic-Natural Regions
  • Dominican Republic-Foreword
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Chapter 4 - Dominican Republic: Government and Politics
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Manufacturing INDUSTRY
  • Dominican Republic-AGRICULTURE
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Trade Unions
  • Dominican Republic-Political Developments since 1978
  • Dominican Republic-FOREIGN RELATIONS
  • Dominican Republic-Transportation
  • Dominican Republic-Modern Immigration
  • Dominican Republic-The Army
  • Dominican Republic-Antonio Guzmán, 1978-82
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia
  • Dominican Republic-GEOGRAPHY
  • Dominican Republic-The Electoral System
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Energy
  • Dominican Republic-Manpower
  • Dominican Republic-Chapter 2 - Dominican Republic: The Society and Its Environment
  • Dominican Republic-Haitians
  • Dominican Republic-Defense Spending
  • Dominican Republic-Livestock
  • Dominican Republic-Interest Groups
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominican Republic-Crime
  • Dominican Republic-Student Politics
  • Dominican Republic-Preface
  • BackgroundExplored and claimed by Christopher COLUMBUS on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola 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 second term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term.
    LocationCaribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
    Area(sq km)total: 48,670 sq km
    land: 48,320 sq km
    water: 350 sq km
    Geographic coordinates19 00 N, 70 40 W
    Land boundaries(km)total: 360 km
    border countries: Haiti 360 km

    Coastline(km)1,288 km

    Climatetropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Lago Enriquillo -46 m
    highest point: Pico Duarte 3,175 m
    Natural resourcesnickel, bauxite, gold, silver
    Land use(%)arable land: 22.49%
    permanent crops: 10.26%
    other: 67.25% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)2,750 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)21 cu km (2000)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 3.39 cu km/yr (32%/2%/66%)
    per capita: 381 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardslies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
    Environment - current issueswater shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    Geography - noteshares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
    Population9,650,054 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 31.4% (male 1,543,141/female 1,488,016)
    15-64 years: 62.7% (male 3,087,351/female 2,960,319)
    65 years and over: 5.9% (male 264,476/female 306,751) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 24.9 years
    male: 24.8 years
    female: 25.1 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)1.489% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)22.39 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)5.28 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-2.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 69% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 25.96 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 28 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 23.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 73.7 years
    male: 71.88 years
    female: 75.6 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.76 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Dominican(s)
    adjective: Dominican
    Ethnic groups(%)mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%

    Religions(%)Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

    Country nameconventional long form: Dominican Republic
    conventional short form: The Dominican
    local long form: Republica Dominicana
    local short form: La Dominicana
    Government typedemocratic republic
    Capitalname: Santo Domingo
    geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions31 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
    Constitution28 November 1966; amended 25 July 2002

    Legal systembased on French civil codes; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age; note - members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote
    Executive branchchief of state: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rafael ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004)
    cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the president
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second consecutive term); election last held 16 May 2008 (next to be held in May 2012)
    election results: Leonel FERNANDEZ reelected president; percent of vote - Leonel FERNANDEZ 53.6%, Miguel VARGAS 41%, Amable ARISTY less than 5%

    Legislative branchbicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (32 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Diputados (178 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held 16 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010); House of Representatives - last held 16 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 22, PRD 6, PRSC 4; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 96, PRD 60, PRSC 22

    Judicial branchSupreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the National Judicial Council comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and an additional non-governing party congressional representative)

    Political pressure groups and leadersCitizen Participation Group (Participacion Ciudadania); Collective of Popular Organizations or COP; Foundation for Institution-Building and Justice (FINJUS)
    International organization participationACP, BCIE, Caricom (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, PetroCaribe, RG, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Flag descriptiona 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 an olive 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

    Economy - overviewThe Dominican Republic has enjoyed strong GDP growth since 2005 and continued to post sound gains through mid-2008. The global recession, however, had a significant impact on GDP growth in the latter half of the year as tourism and remittances, two of the Dominican Republic's most important economic contributors, showed signs of slowing. The economy is highly dependent upon the US, the destination for about two-thirds of exports. Remittances from the US amount to about a tenth of GDP, equivalent to almost half of exports and three-quarters of tourism receipts. The country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Although 2007 saw inflation around 6%, the rate grew to over 12% in 2008. High food prices, driven by the effects of consecutive tropical storms on agricultural products, and education prices were significant contributors to the jump. The effects of the global financial crisis and the US recession are projected to negatively affect GDP growth in 2009 with a rebound expected in 2010. Although the economy is growing at a respectable rate, high unemployment and underemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. The Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) came into force in March 2007, which should boost investment and exports and reduce losses to the Asian garment industry.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$78.19 billion (2008 est.)
    $74.25 billion (2007 est.)
    $68.43 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$44.44 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)5.3% (2008 est.)
    8.5% (2007 est.)
    10.7% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$8,200 (2008 est.)
    $7,900 (2007 est.)
    $7,400 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 10.8%
    industry: 22.9%
    services: 66.3% (2008 est.)
    Labor force4.119 million (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 14.6%
    industry: 22.3%
    services: 63.1% (2005)
    Unemployment rate(%)14.1% (2008 est.)
    15.6% (2007 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)42.2% (2004)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.5%
    highest 10%: 38.7% (2005)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index49.9 (2005)
    47.4 (1998)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)19.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $7.46 billion
    expenditures: $9.027 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)10.6% (2008 est.)
    6.1% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$3.619 billion (31 December 2008)
    $4.074 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$5.902 billion (31 December 2008)
    $5.631 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$17.37 billion (31 December 2008)
    $15.92 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
    Economic aid - recipient$76.99 million (2005)

    Public debt(% of GDP)37.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    61.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productssugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
    Industriestourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco

    Industrial production growth rate(%)1.3% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$4.436 billion (2008 est.)
    -$2.068 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$6.95 billion (2008 est.)
    $7.16 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
    Exports - partners(%)US 58.1%, Haiti 9.3%, Netherlands 2.9% (2008)
    Imports$16.1 billion (2008 est.)
    $13.6 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
    Imports - partners(%)US 39.2%, Venezuela 7.7%, Mexico 5.4%, Colombia 4.9% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.288 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $2.562 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$11.42 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $10.21 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$15.59 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $12.71 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$59 million (31 December 2008 est.)
    Exchange ratesDominican pesos (DOP) per US dollar - 34.775 (2008 est.), 33.113 (2007), 33.406 (2006), 30.409 (2005), 42.12 (2004)

    Currency (code)Dominican peso (DOP)

    Telephones - main lines in use985,700 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular7.21 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: relatively efficient system based on island-wide microwave radio relay network
    domestic: fixed telephone line density is about 10 per 100 persons; multiple providers of mobile cellular service with a subscribership of roughly 75 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 1-809; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
    Internet country code.do
    Internet users2.147 million (2008)
    Airports35 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 19,705 km
    paved: 9,872 km
    unpaved: 9,833 km (2002)

    Ports and terminalsBoca Chica, Caucedo, Puerto Plata, Rio Haina, Santo Domingo
    Military branchesArmy, Navy, Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2009)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,440,203
    females age 16-49: 2,326,694 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,056,774
    females age 16-49: 1,921,836 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 97,766
    female: 93,922 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.8% of GDP (2006)
    Disputes - internationalHaitian 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

    Trafficking in personscurrent situation: the Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; a large number of Dominican women are trafficked into prostitution and sexual exploitation in Western Europe, Australia, Central and South America, and Caribbean destinations; a significant number of women, boys, and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, the Dominican Republic is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly in terms of not adequately investigating and prosecuting public officials who may be complicit with trafficking activity, and inadequate government efforts to protect trafficking victims; the government has taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts with children through criminal prosecutions (2008)
    Electricity - production(kWh)14.02 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 92%
    hydro: 7.6%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0.4% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)12.7 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)119,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)116,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)470 million cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1.1% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS62,000 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deaths4,100 (2007 est.)
    Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
    water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 87%
    male: 86.8%
    female: 87.2% (2002 census)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 13 years (2004)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.6% of GDP (2006)

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