By the time you read this post, we’re going to be just few days away from the first full General Elections in the Dominican Republic in 22 years. And well, as in every election cycle, there’s always a lot of stuff happening: from candidates being shot to death for various reasons, to people fleeing any party to another just because their promised nomination and therefore candidacy was removed to them and given to someone from the coalition. Yes folks, Dominican politics can surely be bloody and entertaining all at the same time.
This is the first of a series of posts I’ll be writing here, reflecting on one of my guilty pleasures: POLITICS! I can thank my dad for always being involved in politics, luckily for me, he’s not a known person for the general public but he’s quite known as an insider for various main political parties, currently my dad’s backing the Government through an ally party, so if the incumbent President wins, he’s hoping to get lucky this time around (my mom and I are hoping that this time around, things DO go their way).
Running for the position of President of the Dominican Republic there are a total of 8 individuals running to either stay as Commander-in-Chief or become the next one. Let me express my opinion on each one of them, thoughtfully and most importantly: 100% raw cutthroat “Auggie” style, as per usual.
1 – Danilo Medina > Party for the Dominican Liberation (PLD)
Incumbent President of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Danilo Medina, is shockingly but not unsurprisingly running for re-election. Modyfing our country’s constitution for a record-breaking 39th time so his expected to be 2nd term could be approved. His party, by it’s initials in Spanish, PLD, has been HAMMERED both by the media and the general folks in the street by abusing and doing basically everything they’ve wanted to do with the Constitution. Currently leading all polls, no one doubts he’s going to win for a 2nd time, and as this victory is pretty much likely happenning, the party’s former leader, Dr. Leonel Fernández, has opted to support the candidacy as his wife, Margarita Cedeño also current Veep, is as well in the mix since she is Medina’s running mate.
The country hasn’t changed MUCH during Medina’s administration, however, general Government corruption levels are extremely high and probably be in their highest in recent history. As many people have seen that they haven’t done absolutely anything, folks whine heavily about corruption but many of them, including me – your beloved author, are just like “Why am I going to give a f*ck about their sh*t? Will they do anything about it? Hell nah!”, it’s a general feeling. People don’t trust their own public institutions not even one bit.
President Medina has built a TON of classrooms and there aren’t enough students or capable teachers to fill many of the buildings built during this administration. That just sucks. 4% of the GBP destinated to the Ministry of Education has been finally been implemented in the naitonal budget during this administration, also the Santo Domingo Metro had the anticipated opening of the 2nd line for full operations in late 2012 and the expansion of that same 2nd line is expected to begin it’s operations by the end of 2016. Another detail that goes in favor of Medina is the “Surprise Visits”, this program in a way, is his form of distancing himself from Ex-president Fernández and his style of Government.
Overall, Medina is not as bad as some people think he is. Or well, that’s how I see it, he has seriously distanced himself from Fernández’s shadow, that’s for sure. Insiders (and many people my parents know) have said that the guy is sneaky and shady AF, and I’m like “Say whaaaaatttttt!!!” Anyway, he’s the safest bet as we’re able to maintain what we currently have and THEY should fix the messy sh*t they did with the Immigration Reform from 2013.
2 – Luis Abinader > Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM)
This is the main candidate of the opposition. He’s a wealthy AF businessman, his family’s companies amass a lot of money and they own a wide variety of businesses that go from call-centers (aka the one I used to work) to factories, and many more. Abinader, ALONE is an actual good thing for the country, however, what’s ruining his hopes and overall candidacy are the party and the people behind him.
In 2013, the fallout, and let me say it appropiately THE FALLOUT on the country’s oldest and most traditional party, the Dominican Revolutionary Party – PRD, hit the nation by storm. And that totally brought a new flavor into the mix, as the party itself divided yet again all thanks to the big rivalry between leaders Miguel Vargas and Hipólito Mejía (ironically in a personal level, they’re both close friends and have family members in common). As Vargas has a LOT of money thanks to his successful endeavors as a businessman and real estate developer (downtown SDQ shopping mall Blue Mall is owned by him and another few people, and he was the developer of that entire project), this has helped him stay ruling that party while eveyrone who was on Mejía’s side flipped to a small party that by late 2013 was renamed the Modern Revolutionary Party and he was named Presidential candidate by mid-2015.
His project does not bring nothing much to the table, he’s basically proposing things that are needed but NO substantial changes. Also, ALL of the candidates of that party (and simpy any other party in DR) have been battling with an astonishing amount of Government spending towards the campaign, easily beating the amount spent for Medina’s election in 2012. His candidacy is coming out as the “change” but has been pretty bland and to a certain extent, extremely boring.
3 – Guillermo Moreno > Alliance for the Country (AP)
This is Moreno’s second or third attempt to become President. Well, he hasn’t been really successful previously, and as the panorama looms in, it’s not running in his favor, but because he’s been more present and active in the political drama surrounding Dominican Republic politicians and their crazy behavior. He’s an actual good choice, but well, he’s not as supported or listned to as he and his team do deserve.
4 – Minerva “Minou” Tavárez Mirabal > Alliance for Democracy (APD)
Minerva Tavárez better known by her nickname Minou, is not a new face in Dominican politics. Her parents are true legends in the fight for the democracy we’re now able to enjoy (or sort of democracy), her mother was Minerva Mirabal, one of the Mirabal Sisters and her father was the one and only Manuel Aurelio Tavárez, known as Manolo Tavárez, one of the leaders behind the 1965 Revolution.
She was a high-ranked figure in the country’s Foreign Affairs department during the Fernández administration in the late 1990s and later became Deputee for the National District in 2002, position she held until approximately late 2014, when she quitted the Dominican Liberation Party, as by then she just wasn’t feeling it. She founded her own party Democratic Option, but was not formalized by the Central Joint for Electoral Affairs (best possible and also pretty savvy translation from it’s Spanish given name).
Well, she became the first female to publicly be supported by a major or minor party, in her case, the Alliance for Democracy, in a candidacy for the presidency of the country. She’s not a bad option too, as she’s not been as mainstream as many of her fellow competitors, but during Monday nights debate she came out as pretty bland. Sorry Minou, try harder in 2020.
5 – Soraya Aquino > Party for National Unity (PUN)
The Queen of the Memes for the 2016 Dominican Republic Presidential Debate. And well, she’s a doctor, in her 50’s (I believe). Her views are as conservative as almost 70% of the Dominican population is. During the debate, people just went NUTS with her tone of voice, expressions, speech and even her hairstyle. Soraya, you’ll never run a country in the 21st Century with THE BIBLE and THE CONSTITUTION as your pilars, NOT in the Dominican Republic with both. So, whoever told her that she was fully capable to run for President, well, that person really has NO good feelings towards her.
6 – Elías Wessin Chávez > Quisqueyan Christian Democratic Party (PQDC)
He also lives out of his last name. His dad, Elías Wessin y Wessin, was one of those behind the assasination of Rafael Trujillo, that nasty dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. He’s also a big Christian Conservative. Nothing new comes from him or his small party. Wessin’s stint as the General Administrator of the National Properties was filled with it’s fair share of controversy, and as I’ve been able to hear, some of the big names in his little clique are still actively working there.
7 – Pelegrín Castillo > National Progressive Front (FNP)
His father, Marino Vinicio Castillo better known as “Vincho”, is a vile piece of human being, sorry for being so blatantly honest, but I’m just not feeling him, his party, their ideology, or anything related to him or his family. As my dad would honestly say “These people are scumbags, they call themselves “conservatives” but they’re just another group of people that look for powerful positions in the Government to make fortunes”, and well, my dad ain’t wrong about him.
During the debate this past Monday night, well, he didn’t bring anything new to the table. And his views ARE NOT “Progressive”, they fall in the field of moralist and anti-21st Century. That’s it. If you ever read this, DO NOT RUN AGAIN! The country would actually be thankful if you and your family, beginning with your father, step aside from politics, we DON’T need you any longer.
8 – Hatuey De Camps > Social Democrat Revolutionary Party (PRSD)
He’s the last candidate, and for him I’ll just briefly say this: Cancer SUCKS! I just hope that we don’t loose you to that disease in the same way we lost your once enemy, Dr. José F. Peña Gómez, back in 1998. (Just 6 days before the 1998 mid-term elections, Peña Gómez succumbed to panceatric cancer from his vacation home located in the outskirts of San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic) Hope you get better! Watching you during Monday’s debate was just painful.
This is the end of my first in a series of posts regarding Dominican Republic’s now proven failed attempt at “democracy” and how I see things in the panorama we live in. Check the 2nd part of this installment – here.