Dominican Republic - US Relations
The history of U.S. relations with the Dominican Republic, indeed with the Caribbean region generally, is a tale of mutual frustration. Perhaps in no other country. Dominican Republic: Background and U.S. Relations. Congressional Research Service. Summary. The Dominican Republic, a country of. The Dominican Republic, a country of roughly million people that shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, is a close U.S.
The Dominican Government has been supportive of many U. The two governments cooperate in the fight against the traffic in illegal substances. The Dominican Republic has worked closely with U. Bilateral trade is important to both countries. The Dominican Republic was the United States' 33rd-largest goods export market in The Dominican Republic's exports to the U.
Embassy works closely with U. At the same time, the Embassy is working with the Dominican Government to resolve a range of ongoing commercial and investment disputes. The Embassy counsels U.
Dominican Republic - FOREIGN RELATIONS
This is a challenging business environment for U. Each eyed the other's politics warily and often tried to influence the outcome. Because of the complex racial, cultural, and social disparities between the two nations, it seemed doubtful that relations between the two countries would ever be friendly. Dominican relations with the nearby island of Puerto Rico were quite good.
A considerable amount of commercial trade, tourism, and investment activity took place between the two islands. Many Dominicans emigrated to Puerto Rico, where they generally enjoyed better jobs, salaries, and benefits.
Puerto Rico's links to the United States through its commonwealth status also facilitated the migration of Dominicans to the United States mainland. Many Puerto Ricans had invested in the Dominican Republic or owned weekend cottages there. At the same time, the large Dominican population in Puerto Rico was used by some as evidence to support the charge that Dominicans were taking jobs away from Puerto Ricans.
Despite a few minor points of contention, relations between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico were generally stable and amiable. In contrast, the Dominicans had an uneasy, and still largely informal, relationship with Cuba. The Dominican Republic had broken diplomatic relations with Cuba in ; on several subsequent occasions, Cuba sought to promote revolution in the Dominican Republic.
Our Relationship | U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic
With the growth of the Dominican economy in the s, however, the Dominican Republic surpassed Cuba in per capita gross domestic product GDPreversing the two nations' traditional relative positions. By the late s, the Dominicans dealt with Cuba from a position of strength rather than weakness, but they remained wary of Cuban military strength and the possibilities of Cuban subversion.
During the s, the contacts between Cuba and the Dominican Republic increased: Most of these contacts were informal, but some official contacts between government representatives of the two countries also took place. For Cuba these exchanges formed part of its hemispheric-wide efforts to break out of the relative diplomatic and commercial isolation in which it existed after and to overcome the United States economic blockade.
For the Dominican Republic, a flirtation with Cuba served to keep the domestic left from criticizing the government; it also put pressure on the United States, which in the s did not favor normalization of relations with Cuba. One major impediment to closer ties was the competition of the two island nations in world sugar markets, a situation hardly calculated to encourage cooperation. By the Dominican Republic had become more closely involved in the larger political and economic developments of the circum-Caribbean.
It maintained close relations with Venezuela, with which it had important trade links. Dominican officials also maintain that those who did not get through the naturalization program can still obtain temporary residency followed by a path to citizenship through the regularization plan that runs through June 16, Dominican officials maintain that the process provides a path to citizenship and is open to those who did not make it through the naturalization plan.
State Department officials maintain that, as the IACHR ruled, the regularization plan provides temporary residency to Haitians living in the Dominican Republic and does not apply to Dominicans of Haitian descent. According to President Medina, more thanindividuals had applied to the program, 40, of whom met all of its requirements by February Haiti has only opened one center to help people obtain documents; that center reportedly has an extremely long wait time.
If the Dominican Republic rendered thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless and deported some of them to Haiti, the potential impact on Haiti could be significant.
The Haitian government initially recalled its ambassador from the Dominican Republic in response to the Tribunal's ruling. Haitian and Dominican officials began convening regular bilateral talks to address migration and a range of other topics; the first round occurred in January The Dominican government said that it would not negotiate the Tribunal's decision or how it plans to implement it.
Haiti reportedly recognized Dominican sovereignty on migration policy, and the Dominican government assured Haiti that "concrete measures will be taken to safeguard the basic rights of people of Haitian descent" living in the country. The Haitian government reportedly reaffirmed its commitment to expedite the issuance of passports and national civil registration cards at border posts and in consulates in the Dominican Republic.
Although the talks have continued, Dominicans remain concerned about continued illegal immigration to their territory due to the current political instability in Haiti and the limited support the government of Haiti has given to the naturalization and regularization processes.
The Dominican military has increased efforts to secure the Dominican-Haitian border and prevent new inflows of Haitian migrants. In FebruaryHaiti's Ambassador to the Dominican Republic resigned after receiving harsh criticism for failing to help Haitians in that country access the regularization program.
The Haitian government remains concerned about the fate of its citizens living in the Dominican Republic. This concern, as well as anti-Dominican rallies in Haiti, increased after the violent deaths of two Haitians in February in two different Dominican cities. The elections scheduled for May will mark the first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections held in the country since Regardless, most observers are expecting the party to retain the presidency in With the PLD predicted to dominate the legislative elections as well, some are concerned about the long-term effects of one-party dominance on the quality of democracy in the country.
Economic expansion was also facilitated by the passage of market-friendly economic reforms in the late s. One critical reform was a law allowing the partial privatization of unprofitable state enterprises.
U.S. Department of State
Economic expansion did not translate into significant reductions in poverty, however, as inequality and unemployment remained high. Inthe Dominican economy, wracked by banking scandals, economic mismanagement, and an inability to compete with cheaper Asian apparel producers, contracted by 0. The IMF's review of the three-year package lauded the government's ability to bounce back from the economic crisis and efforts to bring public spending under control.
However, the IMF also urged the government to reduce energy subsidies and broaden the tax base in order to have a better fiscal position and revenue available for targeted social programs. High levels of foreign investment, strong performance in the mining and telecommunications sectors, and continued strength in tourism revenues have boosted growth.
Despite its resilience and dynamism, the Dominican economy remains somewhat vulnerable to external shocks, which can cause declines in remittances, exports, or tourism inflows or increases in energy and food prices. However, recent increases in revenue from consumption taxes and tariffs on mining exports have given the government more room to maneuver in the event of external shocks than in the past.
Energy Challenges and Opportunities The Dominican government is seeking to reduce its reliance on foreign primarily Venezuelan oil imports, diversify the country's energy matrix, and address long-standing challenges in the electricity sector. Although the Dominican government continues to benefit from PetroCaribe, it appears to be planning for an increasingly possible scenario in which subsidized funding may run out if Venezuela's economic troubles continue.
More recently, the Dominican government has increased the percentage of energy it gets from natural gas; renewable sources; and, despite the associated environmental costs involved, coal.