This is Part II of a series of posts I’ll be making regarding politics in the Dominican Republic and the coming elections. If you haven’t checked Part I, check it by clicking here. So during the previous article, I gave a brief or not-so brief description about the 8 candidates we have here in DR running for President, also adding my personal views on each one of them to the mix. Hope I entertained you with such a long but healthy post, now let’s move one to some additional topics that for all of my fellow Dominicans are important in the crazy times we currently deal with.
I’ll give you my personal views on each of this topics, in no particular order. Let’s do this!
- GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION: Well, this has been a HSITORIC issue in the Dominican Republic, and has been so basically since colonial times. It’s undeniable that right now, it is in the worst possible state any country, or so called “democracy” should allow. Back in 1963, the first President elected 100% through public vote, respected figure Juan Bosch, was ousted after just 7 months in the position (assumed February 27th and ousted by late September) as the rich and wealthy families that remained from the Trujillo regime together with a bunch of high-rank personalities from the Armed Forces, joined powers and overthrown Bosch’s presidency. Another issues affecting President Medina’s handling of this MAJOR ISSUE that’s huge politically, socially and economically speaking, is that his party – the Dominican Liberation Party – and their former main political figure, ex-president Dr. Leonel Fernández, have forced Medina to keep them in the picture of Government positions as much as possible since without the outrageous amount of national budget spent in 2012 for his election (basically leaving the country in BANKRUPTCY) so he could win easily the election against 2000 contender, ex-president Hipólito Mejía. In the end, corruption is a big headache for the Government and it’s the biggest insider plague that has the most difficulties for them to get rid off, with the stakes we have today, it’s bordering the line of being impossible until a radical social change imposes itself and does so outstandingly right.
- JOBS: This is a really HUGE issue for Dominicans, especially among the Millenial demographic group, there’s one Ministry that deal with anything and everything related to work regulation, employment and related issues, their efficiency is as bad as anything us locals expect from the Government – BAD AF, besides all of this, many companies within the private sector basically abuse and underpay their employees. Currently, the Government is the employer with the best salaries in an average basis. When it comes to Millenials, many of us feel that companies shut us many doors and for those brave enough, they go ahead and venture into being business people on their own two feet, or entrepreneurs.
- ECONOMY: Big, delicate and important issue for this coming election on May 15th. Although foreing sources state that the Dominican Republic’s economy is expected to grow about 5%, and in the past few years has done so pretty steadily, the population in general does not percieve that growth AT ALL. It’s been pretty much unexistant to most of us, and that sucks, as the Government should path ways for people on all social sectors feel that reported growth in the economy, but the main question is: Where THE HELL did that “growth” went to? It all seems that it went to the pockets of those who are rich and powerful, also to those pockets of many dirty politicans we deal with.
- HOMELAND SECURITY: This is just unexistant to say the least, by mere chance we have a National Police department, and they lack a lot in technology and resources. One of the main aspects that make our homeland security so fragile, is the insane amount of corruption that only affects the entire public office, but also the responsible entity for citizen protection: the National Police Force. When the minium salary of any low-ranked police officer does not surpass US$150/month, converted to Dominican pesos that’s estimated in $5,000 DOP, that’s what you call PUBLIC ENEMY #1. Don’t expect a police officer to do good if his/her earnings are abismally absurd. Only this f*cking country allows that type of abuses happen and don’t do anything about them. On this specific issue, the main party opposing the Government, PRM, has been promising during their campaign that they’ll raise the minimum salary to an estimated monthly income of $20,000 DOP that it’s translated in $500 USD, which is actually not bad, but still underserving for a gorup of people that are meant to keep all of us safe.
- EDUCATION: Education is also a MAJOR issue. The 4% rule of the GDP was finally alocated to this Ministry after major public demonstrations happened between 2010 and 2011, prior to the 2012 election cycle. After Medina became President, that was one of the first measures he made sure that were fulfilled and although those who fought for the cause rejoyed, many were left skeptical on how would the Government would spend such a large amount of money. The Ministry of Public Education has spent some of its money on lavish stands for the Santo Domingo International Book Fair (2014, for example, they did a REPLICA of the building) and well a lot of schools have been built, but there aren’t enough students or high-qualified teachers to fill them in. One of the major gains of the new budget in this Ministry is that teachers went to earn about $10,000 DOP a month to well just over $35,000 DOP, that alone was one of the biggest paycheck raises ever seen in the country and all happened pretty quickly. It was a HUGE *insert Bernie Sanders voice here* change for the well-being of our teachers, many of them really dedicated to their job, some others, well they just aren’t, and as I’ve seen it myself, corruption is teached implicitly in my country’s classrooms, regardless of being a public or private, you see it blatantly. Superior Education is largely regulated, even more than primary to secondary education, but not adequately, I’ll explain: there’s 10 million people living in the country, there are about 50 UNIVERSITIES in this country alone, and about 80% are located in the Santo Domingo Metropolitan (that covers the Distrito Nacional and its surrounding province, the Santo Domingo Province) area only, and when it comes to these kind of institutions they’re just free to open wherever and whenever with little control on quality of content, how updated it is, and more stuff the Government fails to comply often.
- PUBLIC HEALTH: The Dominican Republic seriously lacks a real public health care system, most importantly, that not only works but it’s also efficient. As of the 2016 National Budget, only 2.5% is being allocated for public health, situation that sucks because this is a 3rd-world country and we’re seriously living up the name out of the term, and that’s not how we should show ourselves to the world. Nonetheless, one HUGE *insert Bernie Sanders voice here* thing is that our Med schools are ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD! And univeristies such as the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE), attract large amounts of foreign students as they’re the only institution of superior education in the country that offers an advanced BILINGUAL Medicine degree program. Also, one thing the Ministry of Public Health lacks of is that our doctors, nurses and overall staff at the public hospitals gets treated fairly and also these precincts should ALWAYS have materials, medicines, and capable infrastructure. Yeah, my country needs more of this.
Part 3 will come sometime next week (if my work load allows LOL), where I’ll put in display some additional issues such as LGBT rights, and religious organizaitons colliding with the concept of democracy and why the opposition wants my vote but their efforts are lagging tremendously and why I’m voting for President Medina’s re-election, and just because I’m doing so on May 15th does not make me an ignorant, or stupid, or unaware of my country’s reality, I’ll let y’all know why on my next post.
‘Til next week folks!