DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Motto:

[Dios, Patria, Libertad] 

" God, Fatherland, Liberty."


History

Explored 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.

Geography
Location: Caribbean, eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Haiti
Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 70 40 W
Area: total:  48,670 sq km
land:  48,320 sq km
water:  350 sq km
Land boundaries: total:  360 km

border countries:  Haiti 360 km
Coastline: 1,288 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone:  24 NM
continental shelf:  200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone:  200 NM
territorial sea:  6 NM
Climate: tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation; seasonal variation in rainfall
Terrain: rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  Lago Enriquillo -46 m
highest point:  Pico Duarte 3,175 m
Natural resources: nickel, bauxite, gold, silver
Land use: arable land:  22.49%
permanent crops:  10.26%
other:  67.25% (2005)
Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation; Hurricane  damage
Geography - note: shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti

People
Population: 9,650,054 (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.)
Population growth rate: 1.48% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 22.39 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 5.28 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urban population: 69% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: 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.)
Ethnic groups: white 16%, black 11%, mixed 73%
Nationality: noun: Dominican(s)
adjective: Dominican
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Languages: Spanish
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over can read and write
total population:  87%
male:  86.8%
female:  87.2% (2004 est.)

Government
Country name: conventional long form: Dominican Republic
conventional short form: The Dominican
local long form: Republica Dominicana
local short form: La Dominicana
Government type: Democratic republic
Capital: Santo Domingo
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 69 54 W
Administrative divisions: 31 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
Independence: 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 February
Constitution: 28 November 1966, amended 25 July 2002
Legal system: Based on French Civil codes; Criminal Procedures Code modified in 2004 to include important elements of an accusatory system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are elected by a Council made up of members of the legislative and executive branches with the president presiding)
Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age; note - members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote
Executive branch: Chief of state:  President Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna (since 16 August 2004); Vice President Rapahel ALBURQUERQUE de Castro (since 16 August 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

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 branch: bicameral 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 vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLD 96, PRD 60, PRSC 22

Political parties and leaders: Dominican Liberation Party or PLD [Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna]; Dominican Revolutionary Party or PRD [Ramon Alburquerque]; Social Christian Reformist Party or PRSC [Enrique Antun]; National Progressive Front [Vincent. Castillo, Pellegrin Castillo}
International organization participation: ACP, BCIE, Caricom (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (suspended), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, SICA (associated member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Wellington BENCOSME.
chancery: 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008.
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6280
FAX: [1] (202) 265-8057
consulate (s) general: Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico), Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Sun Valley (California)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador P. Robert FANNIN
embassy:  corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo
mailing address:  Unit 5500, APO AA 34041-5500
telephone:  [1] (809) 221-2171
FAX:  [1] (809) 686-7437
Flag description: a 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
Overview: The Dominican economy 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 that one-fifth 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: $78 billion (2008 est)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.3% (2008 est)
GDP - per capita (PPP):  $8,200 (2008 est.)
GDP - Composition by sector: agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 22.9%
services: 66.3% (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10.6% (2008 est)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14.6%
industry: 22.3%
services: 63.1% (2005)
Labor force: 4.119 million (2008 est)
Unemployment rate: 15.5% (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $7.46 billion
expenditures:  $9.027 billion (2008 est)
Industries:  tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate: 1.3% (2008 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
Exports: $6.949 billion (2008 est)
Exports - commodities: ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
Exports - partners: US 63.1%, Spain 3.7%, Belgium 3.6% (2008)
Imports: $16.08 billion (f.o.b. 2008 est)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners: US 45.3%, Venezuela 9.6%, Mexico 6.1%, Colombia 4.9%, China 4.6% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.288 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Currency: Dominican peso (DOP
Exchange rates: Dominican pesos per US dollar - 34.775 (2008 est)

Communications
Telephones - main lines in use: 985,700 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 7.21 (2008)
Telephone system: general 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 60 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1 -809; landing point for the America 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) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 120, FM 56, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations & Televisions: 25 (2003)
Internet Country Code: .do
Internet Hosts:

Internet Users:

105,546

1.677 million (2007)


Transportation
Railways: total: 1,784 km
country comparison to the world: 78
standard gauge: 375 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,368 km 1.076-m, 0.889-m, and 0.762-m gauges
note: 1,226 km operated by sugar companies in 1.076 m, 0.889 m, and 0.762-m gauges (2008)
Roadways: total:  19,705 km
paved:  9,872 km
unpaved:  9,833 km (2002)
Ports and harbors: Boca Chica, Caucedo, Puerto Plata, Rio Haina, Santo Domingo
Merchant marine: by type: cargo 1
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)
Airports: total:  35
Airports - with paved runways: total: 16
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 17 (2009)

Military Army, Navy, Air Force, (Fuerza Aerea Dominicana, FAD) (2009)

  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Favourite local dish Sancocho; a  soup with vegetables, starches (such as yams or potatoes) and meats.