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Dominican Republic declares independence as a sovereign state

Dominican Republic declares independence as a sovereign state



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On February 27, 1844, revolutionary fervor boiled over on the eastern side of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Finally coming into the open after years of covert planning, a group known as La Trinitaria seized the fortress of Puerta del Conde in the city of Santo Domingo, and beginning the Dominican War of Independence.

Much of what is now the Dominican Republic had been de facto autonomous in the early 1800s, with the Spanish occupied by Napoleon's invasion and the Haitians to the west fighting off their French colonizers. Heavily influenced and encouraged by Haiti, which had achieved independence in 1804, Dominicans declared independence as the Republic of Spanish Haiti in 1821. Despite being nominally free, however, the less-wealthy and less-densely populated half of the island came under the control of Haiti and entered into formal union with its neighbor in 1822.

Though Haiti had been only the second European colony in the Americas to achieve independence, and its revolution constituted one of the largest and most important slave revolts in all of history, Dominica suffered under Haitian rule. Though the two were nominally united, the western half of the island was clearly where the political influence lay, and the crippling debts imposed on Haiti by the French and other powers had a profoundly negative effect on the island's economy as a whole. In 1838, three educated and "enlightened" Dominicans named Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez founded a resistance organization. They named the organization La Trinitaria due to their decision to divide it into three smaller cells, each of which would operate with almost no knowledge of what the other cells were doing. In this highly secretive way, La Trinitaria set about gathering support from the general populace, even managing to covertly convert two regiments of the Haitian army.

Finally, on February 27, 1844, they were forced to make a move. Though Duarte was away on the mainland seeking support from the recently-liberated peoples of Colombia and Venezuela, La Trinitaria received a tip that the Haitian government had been made aware of their activities. Seizing the moment, they gathered roughly 100 men and stormed Puerta del Conde, forcing the Haitian army out of Santo Domingo. Sánchez fired a cannon shot from the fort and raised the blue, red, and white flag of the Dominican Republic, which still flies over the country today.

The Haitians pillaged the countryside as they retreated West, and fighting continued throughout the spring. Over the next few years and even into the next decade, the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic were periodically at war, each invading the other in response to previous invasions. The storming of the Puerta del Conde, however, represented a turning point in the history of a nation that had long been subjugated, first to the Spanish and then to its Haitian neighbors.


Dominican Independence Day

The Dominican Republic&rsquos Carnival is celebrated every year during the entire month of February, culminating with the largest celebration on Independence Day, February 27. The Dominican&rsquos cultural identity and creativity are on display throughout this vibrant month.The festivities in the Dominican Republic can be traced back to the 1500s, in the ruins of a town called La Vega, even before it was celebrated in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

Most towns will send their representatives to La Vega around Independence Day to march in the parade, dressed in a variety of costumes from around the country. Carnival in the Dominican Republic is an event in which everyone participates in and prepares for. Most Dominican towns commemorate Carnival with slight differences from within their own traditions. These distinctions are reflected by the outrageous costume styles and masks, which represent many religious and traditional characters. Each town organizes groups to dress in the same costume or similar colors to symbolize a character representing their individual town. The most commonly known characters are the Diablo Cojuelo (Limping devil), the Calife, and Roba la Gallina (Steal the Chicken).

The Diablo Cojuelo is the most popular character seen throughout Carnival. It is viewed as a flamboyant costume and some suggest it symbolizes early colonizers of the Americas.The interesting history of Dominican Republic independence intertwined with their awe‐inspiring Carnival in February is an experience everyone should have at least once in his or her lifetime.


The Map and the Territory

Classic political theory has traditionally represented sovereignty as supreme, absolute, territorially confined, and vertically rooted in the apparatus of the state. The traditional philosophy of sovereignty, rooted in the treaty of Westphalia in 1648, poses that national governments hold supreme authority over their internal affairs and that other states should not intervene under exception of threat or obligation of alliance. 1 Recent scholarship has sought to complicate this notion by demonstrating the extent to which formally independent nations (mostly in the Global South) have been palpably shaped by outside interests, supranational organizations, and both internal and external nongovernmental actors. These scholars have emphasized how nonstate, trans-state, and suprastate actors (such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, international nongovernmental organizations, military contractors, lending firms, and others agents) are increasingly taking up what were long thought to be the privileged duties of state governments. 2 The perceived “newness” of these processes is, however, often overstated. For, as historians of empire have shown, claims to sovereignty have always been fractured, layered, negotiated, and contested. 3

This is nowhere more evident than in the Caribbean, where the history of postcolonial sovereignty has unfolded as a story of sovereignty challenged, contested, disavowed, and undermined. From the moment of Haiti’s declaration of independence in 1804, Caribbean sovereignty has been an open question. The political authority of the first black republic posed a challenge to the international system of states at the time, requiring the international community to create new protocols for trade and diplomacy with which to engage Haiti economically while skirting the political and ontological challenges posed by its revolution. 4 Indeed, it was only after Haiti’s economic sovereignty had been fully undermined through the imposition of crippling debt that its political sovereignty was nominally recognized. Similarly, Cuba’s independence in 1898 was conditional on the securing of a permanent relationship with the United States. In the wake of its war of independence with Spain, Cuba remained under US military occupation until 1901, at which point the US-authored Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Cuban constitution, guaranteeing permanent use of the Guantanamo military base, authorizing future US interventions, and barring Cuba from entering into foreign trade with other foreign powers. In the immediate aftermath of the formation of the United Nations in the 1940s, the Caribbean continued to serve as a site of political experimentation with the development of alternative formulas of decolonization that offered limited self-governance, such as the formation of the Puerto Rican commonwealth, and stratified forms of inclusion, as with the creation of the French overseas departments. This period also led to significant exploration with models of federation, including the short lived West Indies Federation (1958–62).

This history of fractured, uneven, contested, and negotiated sovereignty continues to shape the region as a whole, and at present the majority of societies in the Caribbean are not independent nation-states but rather protectorates, territories, departments, and commonwealths (see appendix). In addition, the Caribbean also holds a large number of nonsovereign enclaves: military bases, privately owned islands, semiautonomous tourist resorts, free-trade zones, tax havens, wildlife preserves, satellite launching stations, detention centers, penal colonies, floating data centers, and other spaces of suspended, subcontracted, usurped, or imposed foreign jurisdiction that challenge the principles of bounded territorial authority associated with the Westphalian order. Moreover, even the nominally independent nations of the Caribbean have repeatedly had their political and economic sovereignty challenged through military invasions, electoral interference, security legislation, and the multiple barriers placed on international trade throughout the global South. As a result, sovereignty in the Caribbean is best understood as a contested claim and an imposed ideal rather than an actually existing condition. It is for this reason that we suggest that the Caribbean is best understood (borrowing from Antonio Benítez-Rojo) as a nonsovereign archipelago, where patterns of constrained and challenged sovereignty can be said to repeat themselves. 5

However, rather than representing the Caribbean as a site of problematic sovereignty, we would like to emphasize how Caribbean history brings into question the notion of sovereignty itself. We believe that sovereignty needs to be understood as part of that family of words that Michel-Rolph Trouillot describes as “North Atlantic universals.” 6 These concepts do not seek to merely describe the world but to constrain it possibilities. In other words, these are the native categories of the West, as a project not a place. In describing the Caribbean as a site of nonsovereignty, we are thus suggesting that it is not simply a site where “ordinary sovereignty” wanes and fails but also a fertile site from which to contest, disrupt, and reimagine notions of sovereignty, autonomy, freedom, liberty, and self-determination beyond the canon of political theory. 7

Cartography plays a constitutive role in this process, as it has historically reproduced the idea of the sovereign nation-state as a bounded entity and naturalized it as the site of proper politics. Geographic histories reveal that the visualizing power of the map preceded the formation of sovereign states and created the conditions of possibility for colonial expansion. As Jordan Branch argues, maps reshaped our perceptions of legitimate political authority and organization, paving the way for the shift from medieval to modern political structures. 8 Of course, this sense of insular sovereignty casts the production of European modernity as an internal, autarkic shift. Yet, the global power of mapmaking in the production of sovereign states took hold through colonial circuits of exchange and violence. The map is “a technology of possession,” as Anne McClintock argues, “promising that those with the capacity to make such perfect representations must also have the right of territorial control.” 9 Again, the map reifies the truth of what it represents, promising and delivering virgin lands and nonsovereign territories in need of discovery, settlement, borders, and territorial authority.

If the philosophical and material projects of modernity and colonialism took shape through a geographic reordering of sovereignty, our contemporary moment suggests another emerging shift. Sylvia Wynter argues that the various imaginaries of decolonization made possible “a new opening—that of the collective challenge made to . . . symbolic representational systems,” and hence, the possibility of a “new world view.” 10 The crucial question then becomes, What spatiotemporal models can grasp and even utilize such an opening? The problem, Wynter suggests, is that much contemporary political and geopolitical theory “mistakes the map for the territory,” by working within the ideological coordinates of Eurocentric, Western thought rather than investigating the historical processes that bequeathed those mores to the present. 11 Orienting struggles according to certain maps attends to representations of political space as if these representations faithfully and transparently described contemporary horizons of possibility. Yet, the landscape of possibility always exceeds the limits of representation. Moreover, the map is itself a function of a foundational set of codes concerning who controls visual representation and what counts as representable in the first place. Attending to those codes themselves, rather than to simply the maps they generate, profoundly disrupts the cartographic gaze and its imposed limits.

One such code, we argue, is the evolutionary discourse of political development, which produces a naturalized view of the nation-state that then renders nonindependent and nonsovereign Caribbean islands as exceptional, paradoxical, and even pathogenic. 12 Confined to a map of the properly sovereign Caribbean, those “paradoxical” societies that articulate freedom without the grammar of national independence, or those nominally independent countries that fail to achieve bounded autonomy, are found wanting or inexplicable. If we instead begin our work from the space between the map and the territory—and the political processes that render them transferable—it becomes possible to see those “exceptional” cases as not always already failed but as generative sites for alternative visions of sovereignty itself.

Wynter’s deployment of the map as the key symbol for this epistemic mistake is certainly intentional. Cartography spatially produces and reproduces political-economic arrangements while retroactively naturalizing them. 13 Through this visual power, a recursive relationship develops between the boundary projects of modernity and the limits of identity and expression, thus reifying the political and epistemological perspective the map purports to describe. Charles de Gaulle’s infamous declaration, made upon looking at a transatlantic map—“Between Europe and America I see only specks of dust”—indexes this cartographic effect. Edouard Glissant uses this quotation as the epigraph to Caribbean Discourse, making it the point of departure for reimagining the geographic meaning of the Caribbean and “the future of small countries.” 14 Those little bits of dust, he hopes, might help produce alternative spatiotemporal models of identity and collective life beyond the fortress island of national sovereignty or the “flat world” of globalization. 15

If the visual representations we use to capture questions of political sovereignty are inextricably intertwined with how and what we imagine sovereignty to be, then the question becomes how to visually represent this process, where the production of space is both the precondition and the result of imagining sovereignty itself. In some sense, this question poses a visual correlate to the longstanding concern in Caribbean thought with the displacement of universal history, such as Glissant’s experiments with alter-chronologies or Trouillot’s interrogations of Western historiography. Cartographic experimentation also questions any neat division between spatial and temporal categories by demonstrating how the production of space through a “mapping of the present” entails a specific mode of articulating the past and future. 16

Building on these ideas, we thus consider alternative cartographic and geographic approaches that begin from the tense and tenuous relationship between the map and the territory and which are grounded in the specificity of Caribbean political history. Our goal, then, is not simply to update previous textual or analogue modes of engagement but to trace and enact their transformation through digital subjectivities and new cartographic technologies. We thus ask, What could visual representations of the Caribbean become if no longer anchored by political sovereignty as a regulatory ideal of postcolonial independence or economic development? Faced with de Gaulle’s dismissal of Caribbean specks of dust as inferior to the point of irrelevance, Glissant demanded a “prophetic vision of the past” beyond “schematic chronology” or “nostalgic lament.” 17 The Caribbean novelist had to reach into the past without the teleological comfort of Western history to invent futures from the traces, the scraps, the cinders of collective memory and everyday life. While his interlocutors often limit this discussion to the novel and the word, we take the insistence on vision as a point of departure: a prophetic cartography of the postcolonial Caribbean.


Sortable list

In this list, "date of last subordination" refers to the last date of control by an external government. In some cases this is the same as the date of independence marking decolonization or dissolution of a political union. In other cases, a sovereign state submitted to foreign military occupation or political subjugation for a period of time and later regained its independence.

Dates refer to de facto rule or occupation of the major territory, whether or not legitimized by international recognition.

In a union such as Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, or the Kalmar Union, one of the constituents can be considered the dominant power – generally where the seat of government was located. The United Kingdom is a particularly complicated case. If England is viewed as the dominant member, then history can be traced from Roman conquest, Saxon invasions, 10th century unification, and the 1066 Norman Conquest before the union of England and Scotland in 1707. However, if viewed from a Scottish perspective, an unbroken history of sovereignty can be traced from unification in 843 through the 1707 union with England (with a brief annexation by England from 1657 to 1660). Some Scots view the 1707 union as a ceding of sovereignty to England. [47]

1920-1995: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
1918-1920: Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
1824-1918: Part of Russian Empire
1796–1824: Part of Qajar Empire
1747–1796: Part of Afsharid Dynasty
(1760–1794): Part of Zand Dynasty
1736–1747: Part of Afsharid Empire
(1722–1729): Part of Hotaki Dynasty
1501–1736: Part of Safavid Empire
1468–1508: Part of Agh Qoyunlu
1405–1507: Part of Timurid Dynasty
1406–1468: Part of Qara Qoyunlu
1370–1405: Part of Timurid Empire
1337–1376: Part of Sarbadars
1336–1432: Part of Jalayirid Dynasty
1335–1393: Part of Muzaffarid Dynasty
1335–1357: Part of Chobanid Dynasty
1256–1335: Part of Ilkhanate Empire
1077–1231: Part of Khwarazmian Empire
1037–1194: Part of Great Seljuq Empire
963–1186: Part of Ghaznavid Empire
875–999: Part of Samanid Dynasty
934–1055: Part of Buyid Dynasty
867–1002: Part of Saffarid Dynasty
928–1043: Part of Ziyarid Dynasty
750–1258: Part of Abbasid Caliphate
661–750: Part of Umayyad Caliphate
(642–759/760): Part of Dabuyid dynasty
224–651: Part of Sassanid Empire
247 BCE – 224 CE: Part of Parthian Empire
312–63 BCE: Part of Seleucid Empire
550–330 BCE: Part of Achaemenid Empire
(652–625 BCE): Part of Scythian Kingdom
678–550 BCE: Part of Median Empire
850–616 BCE: Part of Mannaeans
2700–539 BCE: Part of Elam
3200–2700 BCE: Part of Proto-Elamite

Note: Although the Mongol's Yuan Dynasty and the Manchu's Qing Dynasty were considered foreign by the Han Chinese in their times, current Chinese official position considers these two dynasties as Chinese, as they were established by Chinese ethnic minorities and had their capitals in present-day Beijing. The PRC government considers itself the successor of the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China.

1945-1949: Indonesian Struggle for Independence
1942-1945: Part of Japan in World War II
1816-1942: Part of Dutch East Indies
1812-1816: Part of British India (following Dutch-French defeat in the Napoleonic War)
1802-1812: Part of Batavian Republic (Client State of the Napoleon French)
1619-1802: Under Administration of VOC
15th-17th Century: Various Islamic Kingdoms, most notably Mataram, Demak, and Banten in Java Malaka, Johor-Riau, Minang and Aceh in Sumatra Brunei and Banjarmasin in Kalimantan, Makassar in Sulawesi, and Ternate and Tidore in Moluccas
1292-1478: Majapahit Empire, united Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and parts of Philippines under the reign of Hayam Wuruk
4th Century-13th Century: Various Hindu-Buddhist Kingdoms, most notably Srivijaya in 8th-10th Century AD
4th Century: First Hindu Kingdom of Kutai in Kalimantan
2nd Century: Alleged Indian Kingdom of Salakanagara in Java

1979–1980: Part of Interim Government
1925–1979: Part of Pahlavi Dynasty (Anglo-Soviet occupation 1941-1946)
1796–1925: Part of Qajar Empire
1747–1796: Part of Afsharid Dynasty
(1760–1794): Part of Zand Dynasty
1736–1747: Part of Afsharid Empire
(1722–1729): Part of Hotaki Dynasty
1501–1736: Part of Safavid Empire
1468–1508: Part of Agh Qoyunlu
1405–1507: Part of Timurid Dynasty
1406–1468: Part of Qara Qoyunlu
1370–1405: Part of Timurid Empire
1337–1376: Part of Sarbadars
1336–1432: Part of Jalayirid Dynasty
1335–1393: Part of Muzaffarid Dynasty
1335–1357: Part of Chobanid Dynasty
1256–1335: Part of Ilkhanate Empire
1077–1231: Part of Khwarazmian Empire
1037–1194: Part of Great Seljuq Empire
963–1186: Part of Ghaznavid Empire
875–999: Part of Samanid Dynasty
934–1055: Part of Buyid Dynasty
867–1002: Part of Saffarid Dynasty
928–1043: Part of Ziyarid Dynasty
750–1258: Part of Abbasid Caliphate
661–750: Part of Umayyad Caliphate
(642–759/760): Part of Dabuyid dynasty
224–651: Part of Sassanid Empire
247 BCE – 224 CE: Part of Parthian Empire
312–63 BCE: Part of Seleucid Empire
550–330 BCE: Part of Achaemenid Empire
(652–625 BCE): Part of Scythian Kingdom
678–550 BCE: Part of Median Empire
850–616 BCE: Part of Mannaeans
2700–539 BCE: Part of Elam
3200–2700 BCE: Part of Proto-Elamite


A Selection of Independence Days

January to March

A total of 31 countries around the world celebrate their independence days between January 1 and March 31. Of these countries 7 commemorate the day on January 1 including Haiti, Sudan, Cuba, Cameroon, Samoa, Brunei, and the Czech Republic. Myanmar and Ukraine celebrate their independence days on January 4 and 22 respectively. 12 countries including Sri Lanka, Chile, Serbia, Lithuania, Gambia, and the Dominican Republic attained their independence in February.

April to June

Senegal was the first country to attain independence in April (April 4), followed by Georgia on April 9. Syria, Zimbabwe, and Irelands commemorate their independence days on April 17, 18, and 24 respectively. Both Togo and Sierra Leon share Independence Day (April 27) although they attained independence in 1960 and 1961 respectively. 12 countries across the globe observe their independence days in May, among them Latvia (May 4), Romania (9), Paraguay (15), and Georgia and Guyana (May 26). Interestingly, Israel on or between April 15 and May 15 (a day known as Iyar 5) depending on the Hebrew calendar. Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Russia, Iceland, the DRC, and 6 others attained their independence in June.

July to September

Five countries including Canada, Rwanda, Somali, Hong Kong, and Burundi have July 1 as their Independence Day. The US commemorates its Independence Day on July 4. Algerian independence is celebrated on July 5. South Sudan, the newest sovereign state, attained independence on July 9, 2011. A record 26 countries celebrate their independence days in the month of August, among them Jamaica (6), Ecuador (10), Pakistan (14), South and North Korea (15), India (15), the Congo Republic (15), Gabon (17), and Malaysia (31) among others. 21 independence days are celebrated in September of every year, including in Uzbekistan (September 1), Brazil (7), Costa Rica (15), Mexico (16), Chile (18), Mali (22), and Botswana (30).

October to December

Although Cyprus attained independence from the UK on August 16, 1960, Independence Day is celebrated on October 1. Africa’s most populated country, Nigeria, also celebrates its Independence Day on October 1. Other countries that commemorate their independence in October include Uganda (9), Fiji (10), Zambia (24), and the Czech Republic (28). Angola, Morocco, Albania, Lebanon, Panama, and Yemen celebrate their independence days on various dates in November while Portugal, Finland, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Qatar among other countries became independent in December.


4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

Foreign investors receive no special investment incentives and no other types of favored treatment, except for investments in renewable energy in manufacturing investments located in Special Zones and investments in tourism projects in certain locations. There are no requirements for investors to export a defined percentage of their production.

Foreign companies are not restricted in their access to foreign exchange. There are no requirements that foreign equity be reduced over time or that technology be transferred according to defined terms. The government imposes no conditions on foreign investors concerning location, local ownership, local content, or export requirements.

The Renewable Energy Incentives Law No. 57-07 provides some incentives to businesses developing renewable energy technologies. Foreign investors praise the provisions of the law, but express frustration with approval and execution of potential renewable energy projects.

Special Zones for Border Development, created by Law No. 28-01, encourage development near the economically deprived Dominican Republic – Haiti border. A range of incentives, largely in the form of tax exemptions for a maximum period of 20 years, are available to direct investments in manufacturing projects in the Zones. These incentives include the exemption of income tax on the net taxable income of the projects, the exemption of sales tax, the exemption of import duties and tariffs and other related charges on imported equipment and machinery used exclusively in the industrial processes, as well as on imports of lubricants and fuels (except gasoline) used in the processes.

Law 158-01 on Tourism Incentives, as amended by Law 195-13, and its regulations, grants wide-ranging tax exemptions, for fifteen years, to qualifying new projects by local or international investors. The projects and businesses that qualify for these incentives are: (a) hotels and resorts (b) facilities for conventions, fairs, festivals, shows and concerts (c) amusement parks, ecological parks, and theme parks (d) aquariums, restaurants, golf courses, and sports facilities (e) port infrastructure for tourism, such as recreational ports and seaports (f) utility infrastructure for the tourist industry such as aqueducts, treatment plants, environmental cleaning, and garbage and solid waste removal (g) businesses engaged in the promotion of cruises with local ports of call and (h) small and medium-sized tourism-related businesses such as shops or facilities for handicrafts, ornamental plants, tropical fish, and endemic reptiles.

For existing projects, hotels and resort-related investments that are five years or older are granted 100 percent exemptions from taxes and duties related to the acquisition of the equipment, materials and furnishings needed to renovate their premises. In addition, hotels and resort-related investments that are fifteen years or older will receive the same benefits granted to new projects if the renovation or reconstruction involves 50 percent or more of the premises.

Finally, individuals and companies get an income tax deduction for investing up to 20 percent of their annual profits in an approved tourist project. The Tourism Promotion Council (CONFOTOUR) is the government agency in charge of reviewing and approving applications by investors for these exemptions, as well as supervising and enforcing all applicable regulations. Once CONFOTOUR approves an application, the investor must start and continue work in the authorized project within a three-year period to avoid losing incentives.

The government does not currently have a practice of jointly financing foreign direct investment projects. It has contemplated changes to the investment legal framework, such as a law on public-private partnerships, but this change has not yet been introduced.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Dominican Republic’s free trade zones (FTZs) are regulated by the Promotion of Free Zones Law (No. 8-90), which provides for 100 percent exemption from all taxes, duties, charges and fees affecting production and export activities in the zones. These incentives are for 20 years for zones located near the Dominican-Haitian border and 15 years for those located throughout the rest of the country. This legislation is managed by the Free Trade Zone National Council (CNZFE), a joint private sector/government body with discretionary authority to extend the time limits on these incentives. Products produced in FTZs can be sold on the Dominican market, however, relevant taxes apply.

In general, firms operating in the FTZs experience report fewer bureaucratic and legal problems than do firms operating outside the zones. Foreign currency flows from the FTZs are handled via the free foreign exchange market. Foreign and Dominican firms are afforded the same investment opportunities both by law and in practice.

In 2018, FTZs exports totaled USD USD 6.2 billion, comprising 3.3 percent of GDP. According to CNZFE’s 2018 Statistical Report, there are 673 companies (up from 665 the previous year) operating in a total of 74 FTZs (up from 71 the previous year). Of the companies operating in FTZs, 39.9 percent are from the United States. Other significant investments were made by companies registered in the Dominican Republic (22.4 percent), United Kingdom (8.2 percent), Canada (4.5 percent), and Germany (3.5 percent). Companies registered in 38 other countries comprised the remaining 22.6 percent of investments. The main FTZ sectors receiving investment include: medical and pharmaceutical products (27.3 percent) tobacco and derivatives (20 percent) textiles (14.5 percent) services (7.7 percent) agroindustrial products (6 percent), footwear (4.2 percent) metals (3 percent) plastics (2.6 percent) and electronics (2.4 percent).

Exporters/investors seeking further information from the CNZFE may contact:

Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas de Exportación
Leopoldo Navarro No. 61
Edif. San Rafael, piso no. 5
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Phone: (809) 686-8077
Fax: (809) 686-8079
Website Address: http://www.cnzfe.gov.do

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The Dominican labor code establishes that 80 percent of the labor force of a foreign or national company, including free trade zone companies, be composed of Dominican nationals. The management or administrative staff of a foreign company is exempt from this regulation. The Foreign Investment Law (No. 16-95) provides that contracts for licensing patents or trademarks, for the provision of technical expertise, and for leases of machinery and equipment must be registered with the Directorate of Foreign Investment of the Central Bank.

There are no requirements for foreign information technology providers to turn over source code and/or provide access (i.e. backdoors into hardware and software or turn-over keys for encryption) to surveillance. There are no mechanisms used to enforce any rules on maintaining set amounts of data storage within the country/economy. The government has not enacted data localization policies.


Popular consultation – Yes to Independence

In 1996, José Ramos Horta and the bishop of Dili, D. Ximenes Belo, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their dedication to the defense of human rights and independence of Timor-Leste. In 1998, with Suharto’s resignation and the end of the "Indonesian economic miracle”, B.J.Habibie was immediately sworn in as President. He later announced that he was willing to hold a referendum on autonomy (with integration into Indonesia) or independence for East Timor. The referendum took place on August 30, 1999, with the participation of more than 90%. 78,5% of the East Timorese favored independence and rejected the autonomy suggested by Indonesia.

Nevertheless, pro-Indonesia militias went on a rampage, assaulting UNAMET headquarters (the observers of the United Nations) and forcing Bishop Ximenes Belo to flee to Australia, while Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão took refuge in the British embassy in Jakarta. The wave of murders continued, promoted by the anti-independence militias and supported by members of the Indonesian army dissatisfied with the referendum results.


Cayetano Rodríguez considers “defending our sovereignty is not racism”

Cayetano Rodriguez del Prado, the author of the book “Notas Autobiográficas, Recuerdos de la Legión Olvidada” (Autobiographical Notes, Memories of the Forgotten Legion), which recounts his experiences during the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, the years after the overthrow of the Bosch government and the 12-year government of Joaquin Balaguer, understands that they must help to improve the situation in Haiti, but said that the solution is not to dissolve or destroy the country to achieve it.

“There is no nation that can resist an uncontrolled immigration indefinitely,” said Rodriguez del Prado, who was awarded in 2008 with the National History Prize for the book mentioned above, whose purpose is to avoid that the militants of the Dominican Popular Movement (MPD), coming from the poor sectors of the society and who had no press or media to recognize their struggles for the sovereignty, demands, and democracy of the country, be forgotten.

In his treatise, he also recalls the participants of the MPD, as well as the June 14th Movement (1J4), the Popular Socialist Party (PSP), and the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD).

Rodriguez del Prado explained that the April 24 movement began as a military counter-coup that would reestablish the democratic order in the Dominican Republic with the return to the presidency of Juan Bosch, interrupted on September 25, 1963, by a coup d’état.

He referred to the former president as an idealist, intellectual, and writer but did not consider him a frontal combat politician.

“When he saw the forces that opposed him, they simply knocked him down and he accepted that situation. I cannot say that he did not fight, but he did not fight with the strength that some people expected,” he said.

He affirmed that when the movement began, the leftist groups that existed were not informed by the military.

“It was thought to be only a military movement but the situation got out of hand because it is very difficult to do something democratic without the massive participation of the people,” he declared.

However, once they discovered the plans of the revolution, they maintained active participation in them together with the bases of the PRD and the progressive wing of the Partido Revolucionario Social Cristiano (PRSC) that was not involved in the conspiracy and the military uprising that overthrew Bosch.

When the US troops disembarked in the country on April 28, part of my constitutionalist soldiers who participated in the revolt decided to withdraw, alleging that they were not prepared to confront the Americans.

For this reason, they handed over their weapons to the civilians so that they would be the ones to fight for national independence. According to the expert, approximately 250 soldiers were left fighting alongside the population.

“The North Americans never imagined that the Dominican people would stand up to them and that they would not surrender easily,” he said.

The April revolution was an event that reverberated around the world, so much so that the Dominican Republic received the support of various leaders from around the globe. Mexico, Cuba, France, and China were some of the countries that supported the struggle of the Dominican people against the invasion led by the United States. At that time, French President Charles de Gaulle, Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz of Mexico and Fidel Castro of Cuba spoke out.

Meanwhile, other nations, which Rodriguez described as “puppets of the United States,” supported the Americans to give legality to the invasion. Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Paraguay stand out.

For Rodriguez, the lesson of these events is that once the decisive moment occurs, the Dominican people unite to defend their nation and its independence from foreign powers.

During the meeting, he also referred to the problem of Haitian migration in the country. He considered that various international organizations understand that the problems of the neighboring country should not be solved at the expense of the Dominican people.

The writer said that migrations are good in all nations as long as they are carried out in a controlled manner and benefit both countries.

He said that the country could not have such a high percentage of Haitian nationals that it would cause the loss of the Dominican nation.

He clarified that he disagrees with the initiation of persecutions against Haitians but instead establishes an adequate migration regulation to comply with those who wish to reside in the national territory.

“Each country has the right to defend its sovereignty, that is not the same as racism,” he affirmed.

On individuals who justify Haitian migration by claiming that the country also has many Venezuelans, Rodriguez said that in proportion, Haitian nationals represent a much higher number than Venezuelans.

“For every Venezuelan in the country there are 90 or 100 Haitians if not more,” he stated.


Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries

Shaul Schwarz / Getty Reportage for TIME

A woman watches bodies being bulldozed from the streets by the U.N. in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 16, 2010

The day after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Christian televangelist Pat Robertson sparked outrage with his comments on The 700 Club that the nation's history of catastrophes owed to a "pact with the devil" that its residents had made some 200 years ago. How else to explain why Haiti suffers, while the Dominican Republic — which shares the 30,000 sq. mi. of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola — is relatively well-off? "That island of Hispaniola is one island," Robertson said. "The Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty." (See why Pat Robertson blames Haiti for the earthquake.)

Robertson's rationale is more than suspect, yet the differences between the two nations are undeniable. The U.N. ranks the Dominican Republic 90th out of 182 countries on its human-development index, which combines a variety of welfare measurements Haiti comes in at 149th. In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years. In Haiti, it's 61. You're substantially more likely to be able to read and write if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, and less likely to live on less than $1.25 a day. (See TIME's exclusive pictures from the Haiti earthquake.)

Much of this difference is geographic. The mountains that lie across the island can cut off Haiti's rainfall. The northeast trade winds, and so the rain, blow in the Dominican Republic's favor. Haiti's semiarid climate makes cultivation more challenging. Deforestation — a major problem in Haiti, but not in its neighbor — has only exacerbated the problem. Other differences are a result of Hispaniola's long and often violent history — even TIME called it a "forlorn, hate-filled little Caribbean island" in 1965. On the eastern part of Hispaniola, you'll probably speak Spanish in the west, it's more likely to be French or Creole, a division that's the result of centuries of European colonization and numerous power struggles. (Not to mention the decimation of Hispaniola's indigenous Taino people — who, of course, spoke none of those languages.)

When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, he named the land La Isla Española. It served as a Spanish colony and base for the empire's further conquests, though it was never particularly profitable. In 1697 the Spanish formally ceded the western third of the island to the French, who were already present and more heavily invested. The Hispaniolan outposts of both empires imported African slaves, though the latter did so to a much greater extent. The colonies — Santo Domingo and Saint-Domingue, respectively — subsequently developed vastly different demographics. According to a study by the American Library of Congress, by the end of the 18th century, there were about 40,000 white landowners, 25,000 black or interracial freedmen and 60,000 slaves in the Spanish colony, compared with approximately 30,000 whites, 27,000 freedmen, and at least 500,000 black slaves in its French counterpart.

As revolution raged in France in the 1790s, its colonial slaves in Hispaniola revolted in 1804, they declared independence, and Haiti, which was named after the Taino word for "land of mountains," became the world's first sovereign black republic. The Dominican Republic wasn't established until 1844, after not just European rule but also 22 years of Haitian occupation. Strife between (as well as within) the neighbors, rooted in deep class, racial and cultural differences, was constant. Interference by foreign powers was often the norm. The Spanish took back the Dominican Republic in the early 1860s, and for periods during the 20th century, the U.S. occupied both nations, supposedly to restore order but also, in the face of European threats, to assert its influence in the western hemisphere. Internal politics were characterized by multiple coups, revolts and dictators, the most infamous being Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and François and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti. Juan Bosch, the first democratically elected President of the Dominican Republic in 1962, was almost immediately overthrown after taking office in 1963. Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first freely elected President of Haiti, in 1990 he was ousted as well, returned and was ousted again.

But while both countries struggled with democracy, economically they began to diverge. Haiti had long been exploited, by foreign powers, neighbors and its own rulers. France not only milked Haiti for coffee and sugar production but also extracted an indemnity from it: the young nation had to pay a burdensome sum to its former colonizer in order to achieve France's diplomatic recognition. The lighter-skinned Dominicans looked down on the darker-skinned Haitians: in 1965, even as the Dominican Republic was embroiled in civil war, Haitians were working in Dominican fields and not the other way around. And while Trujillo at least encouraged economic development in his country, Duvalier père et fils essentially sold their people as cheap sugar-cane cutters to the Dominican Republic.


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