Dominican Republic

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Overview

The Dominican Republic, the largest economy in the Caribbean, is a currently democratic country with an unfortunate history of dictators. The United States intervened militarily three times in the last century, though relations are now close and cooperative. Nearly a million Dominican immigrants reside in the U.S., mainly on the east coast, though far more attention is garnered by the several hundred Dominicans who play baseball in the major leagues, including such stars as Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez. 

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Located on the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti, the Dominican Republic has a generally mountainous terrain with tropical rain forests covering the eastern lowlands and valleys. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean, second only to Cuba, which lies to its west. Due east of the Dominican Republic is Puerto Rico, only 79 miles away, while 450 miles of open ocean separate the Dominican Republic from Aruba to the south. The Turks and Caicos lies to the north and the Bahamas to the northwest, while Jamaica is west of Hispaniola. With an area of 18,815 square miles, the Dominican Republic is about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. The capital and largest city of Santo Domingo, where 2.2 million Dominicans reside, is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas. The principal agricultural areas are the El Seibo coastal plain in the northeast and the San Juan Valley in the west.

 
Population: 9.5 million
 
Religions: Catholic (practicing) 39.8%, Catholic (non-practicing) 29.1%, Evangelical Protestant 18.2%, Spiritist (Santería, Brujería, Voodoo) 2.2%, Chinese Universalist 0.1%, Baha’i 0.1%, Muslim 0.1%, non-religious 6.4%. Many Catholics incorporate Afro-Caribbean beliefs like Santería into their religious practices.
 
Ethnic Groups: mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%.
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 78.2%, Haitian Creole French 1.8%, English 0.001%.
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History

Hispaniola was inhabited by the Taínos, a native people who may have arrived around 600 AD. The Taínos, who engaged in farming and fishing, and hunting and gathering, numbered anywhere between 100,000 and 2 million. Christopher Columbus explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492, naming it La Española (Little Spain), and it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. By the late 16th century, the Taínos had largely died out, their numbers ravaged by disease, forced labor, torture, and war with the Spaniards, though most Dominicans today are at least in part descended from them. 

 
The Spaniards created a plantation economy on Hispaniola, which was the early headquarters of Spanish colonial power in the New World. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, however, the importance of Hispaniola declined. French buccaneers settled in the western part of the island, which developed a prosperous plantation economy dependent on slave labor and grew into the wealthy colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The whole island became French territory in 1795, when Spain ceded Santo Domingo following the French Revolutionary Wars. From 1801 to 1844, Santo Domingo was ruled at various times by France, Spain and Haiti. 
 
On February 27, 1844, revolutionaries declared independence from Haiti; the following November the country adopted its first Constitution, modeled after the U.S. Constitution. The decades that followed were filled with tyranny, factionalism, economic difficulties, rapid changes of government, and exile for political opponents. Frequent Haitian invasions threatened the nation’s independence. In 1861, the Dominican President voluntarily returned the country to the Spanish Empire, but two years later his opponents launched a war that restored independence by 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, leaving the country unable to pay its large foreign debts. 
 
As discussed more fully below, 20th century Dominican history has been punctuated by three American military interventions, in 1906, 1916 and 1965. Six years after the end of the 1916 intervention, in 1930, democratic government was extinguished when army general Rafael Trujillo won a bogus election held after he had eliminated all strong opponents. He ruled the Dominican Republic, either directly or through puppets, from 1930 to 1961. Though he eliminated the country’s foreign debt and built needed infrastructure, Trujillo accomplished his goals by the frequent use of murder, torture and terrorist methods against the opposition. In 1937, for example, he ordered the brutal machete massacre of an estimated 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians living near the border between the two countries. Moreover, Trujillo displayed his megalomania by renaming after himself the country’s capital city, highest mountain, many towns and a province. 
 
After Trujilllo was assassinated in 1961, socialist Juan Bosch, the long-exiled opposition leader, was elected president in 1962, and immediately promulgated a democratic constitution that recognized the rights of workers and labor unions, pregnant women, homeless people, families, children and youth, farmers, and illegitimate children. Bosch was deposed in a military coup in 1963. Following yet another U.S. invasion in 1965 to prevent Bosch’s return to power, and for most of the next thirty years, right-wing authoritarian Joaquin Balaguer (Trujillo’s last puppet–president) ruled the country with the support of the U.S., the Roman Catholic Church and the Dominican upper classes. Since his fall in 1996, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates aligned with President Bosch’s party have won the presidency. Most recently, Leonel Fernández has won presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. Fernández and the PLD (Bosch’s old party) are credited with an improving human rights record and moving the country forward technologically and economically.
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Dominican Republic's Newspapers

Dominican Republic’s Newsapers

Adscene [In English & Spanish] (Puerto Plata)
Al Momento (Santo Domingo)
Barriga Verde (San Juan de la Maguana)
Clave Digital (Santo Domingo)
Diario@Diario (Santo Domingo)
Diario Digital RD (Santo Domingo)
Diario Horizonte (Santo Domingo)
DomRepHeute [In German]
Dominican News Live (Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete)
Dominican Central (Puerto Plata)
Dominican Republic Online (Puerto Plata) [In Spanish, English & German]
Dominican Today [In English]
Eco Hispano (Santo Domingo)
El Barahonero (Barahona)
El Nuevo Diario (Santo Domingo)
El Viajero Digital (Santo Domingo)
Elecciones Dominicanas (Santo Domingo)
Gringo Times (Puerto Plata) [In English]
Hoy (Santo Domingo)
La Informacion (Santiago)
La Nacion Dominicana (Santo Domingo)
La Plana (Santo Domingo)
Periodico Primicias (Santo Domingo)
The POP Report (Puerto Plata & North Coast)
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History of U.S. Relations with Dominican Republic

Perhaps the first significant point of contact between the U.S. and Dominican Republic occurred in 1870, when the U.S. Senate came within one vote of annexing the country to the United States, a plan supported by U.S. President Ulysses Grant and Dominican President Buenaventura Báez. Relations between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic have been marred by a long history of U.S. military intervention in Dominican affairs, which began in 1906, when U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sought to prevent European intervention to collect Dominican debts by sending the U.S. military into the Dominican Republic and taking over administration of Dominican tariff collections, which were the chief source of income for the government. The U.S. agreed to use part of the customs proceeds to reduce the foreign debt of the Dominican Republic, and assumed responsibility for that debt. A period of relative political stability ended in chaos, and in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered another U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic. Dominicans widely repudiated the military government established by the U.S., which censored free speech and responded brutally to perceived threats. Opposition to the occupation continued, however, and it ended in 1922, followed by elections in 1924. Finally, in 1965, the United States intervened yet again, ostensibly to halt a “communist” revolution, but in reality to prevent former president Juan Bosch, a democratically-elected socialist who had been deposed in a right wing military coup, from regaining power. 

 
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Current U.S. Relations with Dominican Republic

Noted Dominican-Americans

Entertainment
Zoe Saldana - An actress whose breakthrough role was in the 2002 film Drumline. Since then, she has had roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek andAvatar.
Tristan Wilds – An actor best known for his portrayal of Michael Lee on the HBO original series The Wire and Dixon Wilson in the Beverly Hills, 90210 spin off 90210
 
Sports
Major League Baseball
Pedro Martínez – He is a free agent, and has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox.
David Ortiz – He is a designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox.
Albert Pujols – He is currently a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Manny Ramírez – He is a left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alex Rodriquez – He plays for the New York Yankees. Prior to this, he played for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.
National Basketball Association
Charlie Villanueva – He plays power forward for the Detroit Pistons.
National Football League
Luis Castillo – He is a defensive end for the San Diego Chargers.
Tutan Reyes – He is a guard for the Houstan Texans.
 
Politics
Thomas E. Perez – He is an Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
 
 
Relations between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic are close and cooperative. Though the Dominican is a major transshipment point in the smuggling of both people and illegal narcotics, the two countries are working closely to remedy the situation. At present, 764,945 Dominicans live in the U.S. The vast majority resides in the northeast, specifically the urban centers in New York and New Jersey. Dominicans are the fastest growing immigrant group in New York. Significant communities also exist in Miami and Boston. On the flip side, 100,000 U.S. citizens live in the Dominican Republic, many of whom are dual nationals. As far as tourism is concerned, 1.1 million Americans visited the Dominican Republic in 2006. The number of tourists has been increasing significantly every year since 2002, when 659,129 Americans traveled to the Caribbean nation. At the same time, 236,622 Dominicans visited the U.S. in 2006. The number of Dominicans traveling to America has increased sporadically, with an overall increase of 54.1% from 2002 (153,586 tourists) to 2006. 
 
Probably the most significant point of contact between the two countries concerns the sport of baseball. Known as “America’s pastime,” baseball is the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic, which features a winter league in which many professionals play. Most importantly, the Dominican Republic is by far the most significant source of foreign-born players in Major League Baseball, having produced 480 players since 1900, including Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, and such stars as Pedro Martínez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Vladimir Guerrero, Felipe Alou and Miguel Tejada.
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Where Does the Money Flow

In 2009, US imports from the Dominican Republic totaled $3.3 billion, while US exports to the Dominican Republic totaled $5.3 billion.

 
The largest imports in 2009 were “other scientific, medical, and hospital equipment” ($510.3 million), “apparel and household goods-cotton” ($318 million), “apparel and household goods-other textiles” ($314.6 million), “notions, writing, and art supplies” ($313.4 million), electric apparatus ($238.6 million), and jewelry ($224.6 million).
 
The largest exportsfrom the US to the Dominican Republic in 2009 were electric apparatus ($374.8 million), fuel oil ($337.8 million), new and used passenger cars ($278.8 million), cotton fiber cloth ($271.9 million), and jewelry ($226.6 million).
 
One reason for the large electronic apparatus export is the system that the US and Dominican Republic use for outlets. Both countries use the same plugs and share standard electricity at 110 volts.
 
For the FY 2011, $21.5 million was requested to invest in the Dominican Republic, with a division of $18.3 million for health and $3.1 million for education. The Global Health and Child Survival program links to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in which the Dominican Republic will “receive significant support to build partnerships to provide integrated prevention, care, and treatment programs throughout the country and to support orphans and vulnerable children.” With regards to education, USAID cooperates with the Ministry of Education to improve student performance through policy reform and implementation. USAID hopes to improve teacher skills and reform the curriculum.
 
For the FY 2011, $12.5 million was requested for economic growth. The largest portion is directed toward agriculture at about $5.75 million. The US hopes to strengthen free trade and generate sustainable economic growth under the US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Programs through CAFTA-DR aim to help small business compete, while also aiding the agriculture sector by investing in new markets and diversifying crops. Additionally, USAID supports environmental laws through technical and financial aid to public and private entities.
 
About $21.5 million was requested to invest in people for the FY 2011. $9.3 million funds Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS) under the State, and $9.1 million supports GHCS under USAID. USAID will work with the Government of the Dominican Republic to create a five-year plan to fight tuberculosis and a two-pronged plan to reduce maternal mortality and improve quality of care. About $3.2 million is directed to development assistance,
 
For the FY 2011, $7.6 million was requested “to govern justly and democratically.” The request is split mainly among enforcing good governance, about $2.6 million, rule of law and human rights, about $2.4 million, and civil society, about $2 million. Generally, the US will help to enforce criminal procedure codes, reduce corruptions and increase the efficiency of justice services. USAID, with the help of other nations and organizations, will continue to work with the government and civil society organizations to increase transparent financing and increase access to public information.
 
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights

The Dominican Republic is a representative constitutional democracy. With this, as the government's human rights record continues to improve, serious problems still remain: unlawful killings; beatings and other abuse of suspects, detainees, and prisoners; poor to harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention of suspects; a large number of functionally stateless persons; widespread corruption; harassment of certain human rights groups; violence and discrimination against women; child prostitution and other abuses of children; trafficking in persons; severe discrimination against Haitian migrants and their descendants; violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation; ineffective enforcement of labor laws; and child labor.

 
Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently and employed deadly force against criminal suspects.
 
The Attorney General’s Office released a report mentioning that police killed 346 persons in one year, a decrease from 455 in 2008.
 
Additionally, some security forces used tear gas and water cannons and opened fire on protestors. In a protest in Santo Domingo on July 17, two persons were shot and killed by forces.
 
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The law prohibits torture, but these practices continue. Despite senior officials abiding by the law, a lack of enforcement and follow-up on various other officials prevents the law from being fulfilled. The NGO National Commission on Human Rights filed a complaint to the chief of police alleging that prisoners were interrogated through torture techniques.
 
In a case in May 2008, a female missionary refused to remove her clothing in an examination at the Najayo prison and was beaten as a punishment.
 
Prison and Detention Centers
Overcrowding and unfavorable prison conditions are rampant. However, the government established “model prisons” known as Correctional Rehabilitation Centers which meet the capacity limit and have better conditions than the older facilities.
 
The Attorney General’s Office stated that there were 18,701 prisoners in 36 prisoners when the capacity is only 10,000.
 
Prisoners were mistreated and inmate violence was prevalent. Additionally, air circulation and high levels of potential fire outbreaks were common.
 
There were also insufficient funds for food, medicine, and transportation. This forced inmates to beg for food or buy food.
 
Lastly, detainees with HIV/AIDS or terminal diseases were not transferred to hospitals.
 
Freedom of Speech and Press
The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. Individuals or groups generally were able to criticize the government publicly and privately without reprisal. 
 
There were eight daily newspapers and various other news outlets that were able to present various opinions and criticisms. However, there was a bias concerning a major bank fraud because two of the major newspapers were owned by defendants of the trial.
 
Women
Rape was a serious problem. The law penalizes criminals for 10 to 15 years and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos. The state is also permitted to prosecute a suspect for rape even if the victim does not file a complaint. Oftentimes, police are hesitant to handle such cases and instead encourage victims to turn to NGOs.
 
Prostitution is legal and sex tourism exists.
 
Children
Child abuse is a serious problem. As of August 2009, 1,558 complaints were filed, primarily in Santo Domingo. Few of these cases reach the courts due to fear of family embarrassment, among other reasons.
 
Trafficking, sexual exploitation, and sex tourism of children is also prevalent, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. Although the government conducted programs, this did not curb the problem sufficiently.
 
Constitutional Amendment on Abortion
Amnesty International warned on September 14, 2009, that proposed changes to the Constitution of the Dominican Republic would “lead to a ban on abortions in all circumstances” and would thus increase risks to the lives and safety of women. Therefore, “Amnesty International is calling on the Congress of the Dominican Republic to:
  • reject the current formulation of constitutional Article 30 “since conception to death";
  • take all necessary measures to ensure that safe and legal abortion services are available, accessible, and of good quality for all women who require them in all cases where the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest and when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life or health of the  woman.”
 
Missing Community Activist
Community activist, Juan Almonte Herrera, went missing on September 23, 2009, in the capital of Santo Domingo. Herrera’s sister identified his corpse. However, DNA results deny the claim. The family questions the methods carried out to determine the result.
 
Expulsion of Haitian Migrants
During the week of January 7, 2011, the government of the Dominican Republic deported 950 Haitians. The government argued that expulsions were necessary to prevent the spread of cholera. Amnesty International Senior Advisor Javier Zuñega stated that the Dominican government should be helping the Haitians instead of repatriating them to an area where their health and security would be at risk.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Previous Ambassador:

Ambassador P. Robert Fannin served as the United States Ambassador to Dominican Republic from November 15, 2007, to January 20, 2009. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and received a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 1957 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 1963. Since then, Fannin has engaged in the private practice of law. At present, he is a partner with the international law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He has been an active member of the Bar, including 14 years as a Chairman of State Bar legal education programs. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Arizona State University College of Law in 1995, and was appointed by the Supreme Court of Arizona to serve on the State Commission on Salaries of Elected Officials. He was also a commissioned officer in the US Air Force for three years. 
 
Fannin has been a politically active Republican, donating about $300,000 to various Republican candidates and committees since 1994. From June 2001 to January 2005, he was the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. He has served on numerous committees under several governors, including the Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development, the Governor’s Transportation Task Force, the Plan B Task Force (stadium financing) and Growing Smarter. As Chairman and Member of the Governor’s Motion Picture and Television Advisory Board, he actively promoted film and television production in Arizona. 
 
Fannin continues to be active in charitable non-profit work and volunteer service. He is an emeritus board member (former Chairman) of the Barrow Neurological Institute Foundation, and a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way. Since 2005, he has served as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. 
 
John M. Langston
Appointment: Nov 12, 1883
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 26, 1884
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by mail, Jun 23, 1885
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.  Langston also served as ambassador to Haiti, Member of Congress from Virginia from 1890 to 1891 (he was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and the only one for another century); founder and dean of Howard University Law School; Inspector General of the Freedmen’s Bureau; and the first president of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University).
 
John E. W. Thompson
Appointment: May 7, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1885
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge at Port-au-Prince about Oct 17, 1889
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Frederick Douglass
Appointment: Jun 26, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 25, 1890
Termination of Mission: Left Port-au-Prince, Jul 1891
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince. A prominent abolitionist and spokesman for African American civil rights, Douglass also served as President of the Freedmen’s Bureau Bank, ambassador to Haiti, Marshal of the District of Columbia, and as Haiti’s commissioner to the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. 
 
John S. Durham
Appointment: Sep 3, 1891
Presentation of Credentials: 8-Jan 14, 1892
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 18, 1893
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Henry M. Smythe
Appointment: Sep 15, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1893
Termination of Mission: Left Santo Domingo, Mar 20, 1897
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
William F. Powell
Appointment: Jun 17, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: [Feb 18, 1898]
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Jul 23, 1904
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Thomas C. Dawson
Appointment: Apr 29, 1904
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 23, 1904
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 5, 1907
Notes: Dawson also served as ambassador Colombia (1907 to 1909), Chile (1909), and Panama (1910). He was the author of “The South American Republics” (1903 and 1904).
 
Fenton R. McCreery
Appointment: Jan 10, 1907
Presentation of Credentials: May 18, 1907
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 7, 1909
 
Horace G. Knowles
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 7, 1910
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 2, 1910
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Jun 24, 1910
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 3, 1910
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Jul 6, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 5, 1911
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 2, 1913
 
James M. Sullivan
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 12, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1913
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 20, 1915
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Aug 16, 1915
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1915
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 12, 1925
 
Evan E. Young
Appointment: Sep 18, 1925
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 28, 1925
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 31, 1929
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1925.
 
Charles B. Curtis
Appointment: Dec 16, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 28, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 11, 1931
 
H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld
Appointment: Aug 1, 1931
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1931
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 27, 1937
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1931.
 
R. Henry Norweb
Appointment: Apr 22, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1937
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 13-19, 1940
 
Robert M. Scotten
Appointment: Jan 12, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 21, 1940
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 14, 1942
 
Avra M. Warren
Appointment: Mar 5, 1942
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1942
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
Avra M. Warren
Appointment: Mar 27, 1943
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1943
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 22, 1944
 
Ellis O. Briggs
Appointment: Mar 21, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 3, 1944
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 14, 1945
 
Joseph F. McGurk
Appointment: Feb 9, 1945
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1945
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 16, 1945
 
George H. Butler
Appointment: Jul 13, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 5, 1948
 
Ralph H. Ackerman
Appointment: May 22, 1948
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1948
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 11, 1952
 
Phelps Phelps
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 27, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 29, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 30, 1953
 
William T. Pheiffer
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 28, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 2, 1957
Note: Pheiffer also served as a Republican Member of Congress from New York from 1941 to 1943.
 
Joseph S. Farland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 20, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 7, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 28, 1960
Note: Henry Dearborn was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic, Aug 26, 1960. The Embassy in Santo Domingo was reestablished Jan 6, 1962, with John Calvin Hill as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
John Bartlow Martin
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Mar 2, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 9, 1962
Termination of Mission: Normal relations interrupted, Sep 25, 1963; new Government of the Dominican Republic still unrecognized by the U.S. when Martin left post, Sep 28, 1963
 
W. Tapley Bennett, Jr.
Appointment: Mar 4, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 23, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 13, 1966
 
John Hugh Crimmins
Appointment: Jun 27, 1966
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1966
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 16, 1969
Note: Crimmins also served as ambassador to Brazil from 1973 to 1978. 
 
Francis E. Meloy, Jr.
Appointment: May 27, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 16, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 6, 1973
Notes: Meloy also served as ambassador to Guatemala from 1974 to 1976, and to Lebanon in June 1976, when he was assassinated by extremists. 
 
Robert A. Hurwitch
Appointment: Jul 24, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 5, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 5, 1978
 
Robert L. Yost
Appointment: Apr 7, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: May 15, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1982
 
Robert Anderson
Appointment: May 24, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 22, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1985
 
Lowell C. Kilday
Appointment: Jul 12, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 11, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 8, 1988
 
Paul D. Taylor
Appointment: Jul 11, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 18, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 9, 1992
 
Robert Stephen Pastorino
Appointment: Dec 2, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1994
 
Donna Jean Hrinak
Appointment: May 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 8, 1997
Notes: Hrinak also served as ambassador to Brazil from 2002 to 2004, to Venezuela from 2000 to 2002, and to Bolivia from 1997 to 2000. 
 
Mari Carmen Aponte
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nomination of April 28 withdrawn Oct 5, 1998
 
Charles Taylor Manatt
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 16, 1999
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1999
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Hans H. Hertell
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 2, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 29, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 2, 2007
 
P. Robert Fannin
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 15, 2007
Presentation of Credentials: 
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 20, 2009
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Dominican Republic's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Dominican Republic

Brewster Jr, James
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama’s recent nominations of several openly gay men to serve as ambassadors have been welcomed by the proposed host nations with a combination of praise and indifference, but little or no anger or hostility. That is because the host nations—including Australia, Denmark and Spain—are economically advanced countries where popular movements for gender and sexual equality have made great strides in recent decades.

 

The president’s nomination of James “Wally” Brewster to be the next ambassador to the Dominican Republic, however, has been greeted with an ugly example of homophobic hostility—with the nation’s highest ranking Catholic official as the ringleader. During a press conference last week, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, who is currently archbishop of Santo Domingo, referred to Brewster as a “maricón”—a derogatory terms that is usually translated in the U.S. as “faggot.”

 

Meanwhile, Monseñor Pablo Cedano, who is an auxiliary bishop of Santo Domingo, issued a veiled threat against the nominee. “I hope he does not arrive in the country because I know if he comes he is going to suffer and will have to leave,” Cedano said. Terming it “a lack of respect” that Obama “sent…a person of this kind as an ambassador,” he incongruously added, “[W]e don’t despise the person.”

 

Responding to what sounded like threats and attempting to defuse the situation, embassy spokesman Daniel Foote said that Brewster was nominated because of his ideas about democracy and that when he arrives, “Brewster arrives as an ambassador, he’s not coming here as an activist for the gay community.”

 

Brewster was one of Obama’s top “bundlers” during the 2012 campaign, raising more than $500,000 from other contributors for the Obama/Biden ticket. If confirmed by the Senate, Brewster would succeed Raúl Yzaguirre, who left the post in May due to health problems.

 

Born circa 1960, Brewster earned an A.A. in Marketing at Tyler Junior College in Texas in 1980 and a B.A. in Business Administration at Texas A&M University in 1983.

 

Brewster began his career with management and marketing positions in the Dallas, Texas, area at the Jim Collins Company and Carla Francis, Inc., eventually landing at The Rouse Company, where he was group marketing manager from January 1995 to January 1996, managing the marketing strategy for three area shopping malls.

 

Brewster spent the bulk of his career at Chicago-based General Growth Properties (GGP), a real estate investment trust where he was regional vice president of marketing for the southwest region from January 1996 to January 1999, vice president for corporate communications from January 1999 to January 2001, and executive officer and senior vice president from January 1999 to June 2010. During that final stint, General Growth bought Brewster’s former employer, The Rouse Company, in 2004. It was the largest retail real estate merger in American history, and GGP grew to be the nation’s second-largest shopping mall operator.

 

Since June 2010, Brewster has been managing partner at his own company, SB&K Global, a strategy consulting firm specializing in consumer dynamics, global retail strategy, marketplace positioning and brand expansion.

 

A lifelong Democrat, Brewster served Obama for America as national LGBT co-chair and national co-chair of the Obama Leadership Circle from April 2010 to November 2012, engaging mainly in fundraising to re-elect President Obama.  

 

Brewster is not married, although he does have a long-term partner, Bob Satawake, with whom he lives in Chicago.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (LinkedIn)

Obama Announces Two More Gay Ambassadorial Nominees (by Trudy Ring, The Advocate)

Gay Nominee for US Ambassador Criticized, Praised in Dominican Republic (by Ezra Fieser, Miami Herald)

Gay Ambassador Nominee Sparks Controversy In The Dominican Republic (by J. Lester Feder, Buzzfeed)

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Overview

The Dominican Republic, the largest economy in the Caribbean, is a currently democratic country with an unfortunate history of dictators. The United States intervened militarily three times in the last century, though relations are now close and cooperative. Nearly a million Dominican immigrants reside in the U.S., mainly on the east coast, though far more attention is garnered by the several hundred Dominicans who play baseball in the major leagues, including such stars as Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez. 

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Located on the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti, the Dominican Republic has a generally mountainous terrain with tropical rain forests covering the eastern lowlands and valleys. Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean, second only to Cuba, which lies to its west. Due east of the Dominican Republic is Puerto Rico, only 79 miles away, while 450 miles of open ocean separate the Dominican Republic from Aruba to the south. The Turks and Caicos lies to the north and the Bahamas to the northwest, while Jamaica is west of Hispaniola. With an area of 18,815 square miles, the Dominican Republic is about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. The capital and largest city of Santo Domingo, where 2.2 million Dominicans reside, is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas. The principal agricultural areas are the El Seibo coastal plain in the northeast and the San Juan Valley in the west.

 
Population: 9.5 million
 
Religions: Catholic (practicing) 39.8%, Catholic (non-practicing) 29.1%, Evangelical Protestant 18.2%, Spiritist (Santería, Brujería, Voodoo) 2.2%, Chinese Universalist 0.1%, Baha’i 0.1%, Muslim 0.1%, non-religious 6.4%. Many Catholics incorporate Afro-Caribbean beliefs like Santería into their religious practices.
 
Ethnic Groups: mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%.
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 78.2%, Haitian Creole French 1.8%, English 0.001%.
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History

Hispaniola was inhabited by the Taínos, a native people who may have arrived around 600 AD. The Taínos, who engaged in farming and fishing, and hunting and gathering, numbered anywhere between 100,000 and 2 million. Christopher Columbus explored and claimed the island on his first voyage in 1492, naming it La Española (Little Spain), and it became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. By the late 16th century, the Taínos had largely died out, their numbers ravaged by disease, forced labor, torture, and war with the Spaniards, though most Dominicans today are at least in part descended from them. 

 
The Spaniards created a plantation economy on Hispaniola, which was the early headquarters of Spanish colonial power in the New World. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, however, the importance of Hispaniola declined. French buccaneers settled in the western part of the island, which developed a prosperous plantation economy dependent on slave labor and grew into the wealthy colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The whole island became French territory in 1795, when Spain ceded Santo Domingo following the French Revolutionary Wars. From 1801 to 1844, Santo Domingo was ruled at various times by France, Spain and Haiti. 
 
On February 27, 1844, revolutionaries declared independence from Haiti; the following November the country adopted its first Constitution, modeled after the U.S. Constitution. The decades that followed were filled with tyranny, factionalism, economic difficulties, rapid changes of government, and exile for political opponents. Frequent Haitian invasions threatened the nation’s independence. In 1861, the Dominican President voluntarily returned the country to the Spanish Empire, but two years later his opponents launched a war that restored independence by 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, leaving the country unable to pay its large foreign debts. 
 
As discussed more fully below, 20th century Dominican history has been punctuated by three American military interventions, in 1906, 1916 and 1965. Six years after the end of the 1916 intervention, in 1930, democratic government was extinguished when army general Rafael Trujillo won a bogus election held after he had eliminated all strong opponents. He ruled the Dominican Republic, either directly or through puppets, from 1930 to 1961. Though he eliminated the country’s foreign debt and built needed infrastructure, Trujillo accomplished his goals by the frequent use of murder, torture and terrorist methods against the opposition. In 1937, for example, he ordered the brutal machete massacre of an estimated 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians living near the border between the two countries. Moreover, Trujillo displayed his megalomania by renaming after himself the country’s capital city, highest mountain, many towns and a province. 
 
After Trujilllo was assassinated in 1961, socialist Juan Bosch, the long-exiled opposition leader, was elected president in 1962, and immediately promulgated a democratic constitution that recognized the rights of workers and labor unions, pregnant women, homeless people, families, children and youth, farmers, and illegitimate children. Bosch was deposed in a military coup in 1963. Following yet another U.S. invasion in 1965 to prevent Bosch’s return to power, and for most of the next thirty years, right-wing authoritarian Joaquin Balaguer (Trujillo’s last puppet–president) ruled the country with the support of the U.S., the Roman Catholic Church and the Dominican upper classes. Since his fall in 1996, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates aligned with President Bosch’s party have won the presidency. Most recently, Leonel Fernández has won presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. Fernández and the PLD (Bosch’s old party) are credited with an improving human rights record and moving the country forward technologically and economically.
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Dominican Republic's Newspapers

Dominican Republic’s Newsapers

Adscene [In English & Spanish] (Puerto Plata)
Al Momento (Santo Domingo)
Barriga Verde (San Juan de la Maguana)
Clave Digital (Santo Domingo)
Diario@Diario (Santo Domingo)
Diario Digital RD (Santo Domingo)
Diario Horizonte (Santo Domingo)
DomRepHeute [In German]
Dominican News Live (Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete)
Dominican Central (Puerto Plata)
Dominican Republic Online (Puerto Plata) [In Spanish, English & German]
Dominican Today [In English]
Eco Hispano (Santo Domingo)
El Barahonero (Barahona)
El Nuevo Diario (Santo Domingo)
El Viajero Digital (Santo Domingo)
Elecciones Dominicanas (Santo Domingo)
Gringo Times (Puerto Plata) [In English]
Hoy (Santo Domingo)
La Informacion (Santiago)
La Nacion Dominicana (Santo Domingo)
La Plana (Santo Domingo)
Periodico Primicias (Santo Domingo)
The POP Report (Puerto Plata & North Coast)
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History of U.S. Relations with Dominican Republic

Perhaps the first significant point of contact between the U.S. and Dominican Republic occurred in 1870, when the U.S. Senate came within one vote of annexing the country to the United States, a plan supported by U.S. President Ulysses Grant and Dominican President Buenaventura Báez. Relations between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic have been marred by a long history of U.S. military intervention in Dominican affairs, which began in 1906, when U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sought to prevent European intervention to collect Dominican debts by sending the U.S. military into the Dominican Republic and taking over administration of Dominican tariff collections, which were the chief source of income for the government. The U.S. agreed to use part of the customs proceeds to reduce the foreign debt of the Dominican Republic, and assumed responsibility for that debt. A period of relative political stability ended in chaos, and in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered another U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic. Dominicans widely repudiated the military government established by the U.S., which censored free speech and responded brutally to perceived threats. Opposition to the occupation continued, however, and it ended in 1922, followed by elections in 1924. Finally, in 1965, the United States intervened yet again, ostensibly to halt a “communist” revolution, but in reality to prevent former president Juan Bosch, a democratically-elected socialist who had been deposed in a right wing military coup, from regaining power. 

 
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Current U.S. Relations with Dominican Republic

Noted Dominican-Americans

Entertainment
Zoe Saldana - An actress whose breakthrough role was in the 2002 film Drumline. Since then, she has had roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek andAvatar.
Tristan Wilds – An actor best known for his portrayal of Michael Lee on the HBO original series The Wire and Dixon Wilson in the Beverly Hills, 90210 spin off 90210
 
Sports
Major League Baseball
Pedro Martínez – He is a free agent, and has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox.
David Ortiz – He is a designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox.
Albert Pujols – He is currently a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Manny Ramírez – He is a left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alex Rodriquez – He plays for the New York Yankees. Prior to this, he played for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.
National Basketball Association
Charlie Villanueva – He plays power forward for the Detroit Pistons.
National Football League
Luis Castillo – He is a defensive end for the San Diego Chargers.
Tutan Reyes – He is a guard for the Houstan Texans.
 
Politics
Thomas E. Perez – He is an Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
 
 
Relations between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic are close and cooperative. Though the Dominican is a major transshipment point in the smuggling of both people and illegal narcotics, the two countries are working closely to remedy the situation. At present, 764,945 Dominicans live in the U.S. The vast majority resides in the northeast, specifically the urban centers in New York and New Jersey. Dominicans are the fastest growing immigrant group in New York. Significant communities also exist in Miami and Boston. On the flip side, 100,000 U.S. citizens live in the Dominican Republic, many of whom are dual nationals. As far as tourism is concerned, 1.1 million Americans visited the Dominican Republic in 2006. The number of tourists has been increasing significantly every year since 2002, when 659,129 Americans traveled to the Caribbean nation. At the same time, 236,622 Dominicans visited the U.S. in 2006. The number of Dominicans traveling to America has increased sporadically, with an overall increase of 54.1% from 2002 (153,586 tourists) to 2006. 
 
Probably the most significant point of contact between the two countries concerns the sport of baseball. Known as “America’s pastime,” baseball is the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic, which features a winter league in which many professionals play. Most importantly, the Dominican Republic is by far the most significant source of foreign-born players in Major League Baseball, having produced 480 players since 1900, including Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, and such stars as Pedro Martínez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Vladimir Guerrero, Felipe Alou and Miguel Tejada.
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Where Does the Money Flow

In 2009, US imports from the Dominican Republic totaled $3.3 billion, while US exports to the Dominican Republic totaled $5.3 billion.

 
The largest imports in 2009 were “other scientific, medical, and hospital equipment” ($510.3 million), “apparel and household goods-cotton” ($318 million), “apparel and household goods-other textiles” ($314.6 million), “notions, writing, and art supplies” ($313.4 million), electric apparatus ($238.6 million), and jewelry ($224.6 million).
 
The largest exportsfrom the US to the Dominican Republic in 2009 were electric apparatus ($374.8 million), fuel oil ($337.8 million), new and used passenger cars ($278.8 million), cotton fiber cloth ($271.9 million), and jewelry ($226.6 million).
 
One reason for the large electronic apparatus export is the system that the US and Dominican Republic use for outlets. Both countries use the same plugs and share standard electricity at 110 volts.
 
For the FY 2011, $21.5 million was requested to invest in the Dominican Republic, with a division of $18.3 million for health and $3.1 million for education. The Global Health and Child Survival program links to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in which the Dominican Republic will “receive significant support to build partnerships to provide integrated prevention, care, and treatment programs throughout the country and to support orphans and vulnerable children.” With regards to education, USAID cooperates with the Ministry of Education to improve student performance through policy reform and implementation. USAID hopes to improve teacher skills and reform the curriculum.
 
For the FY 2011, $12.5 million was requested for economic growth. The largest portion is directed toward agriculture at about $5.75 million. The US hopes to strengthen free trade and generate sustainable economic growth under the US-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Programs through CAFTA-DR aim to help small business compete, while also aiding the agriculture sector by investing in new markets and diversifying crops. Additionally, USAID supports environmental laws through technical and financial aid to public and private entities.
 
About $21.5 million was requested to invest in people for the FY 2011. $9.3 million funds Global Health and Child Survival (GHCS) under the State, and $9.1 million supports GHCS under USAID. USAID will work with the Government of the Dominican Republic to create a five-year plan to fight tuberculosis and a two-pronged plan to reduce maternal mortality and improve quality of care. About $3.2 million is directed to development assistance,
 
For the FY 2011, $7.6 million was requested “to govern justly and democratically.” The request is split mainly among enforcing good governance, about $2.6 million, rule of law and human rights, about $2.4 million, and civil society, about $2 million. Generally, the US will help to enforce criminal procedure codes, reduce corruptions and increase the efficiency of justice services. USAID, with the help of other nations and organizations, will continue to work with the government and civil society organizations to increase transparent financing and increase access to public information.
 
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights

The Dominican Republic is a representative constitutional democracy. With this, as the government's human rights record continues to improve, serious problems still remain: unlawful killings; beatings and other abuse of suspects, detainees, and prisoners; poor to harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention of suspects; a large number of functionally stateless persons; widespread corruption; harassment of certain human rights groups; violence and discrimination against women; child prostitution and other abuses of children; trafficking in persons; severe discrimination against Haitian migrants and their descendants; violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation; ineffective enforcement of labor laws; and child labor.

 
Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently and employed deadly force against criminal suspects.
 
The Attorney General’s Office released a report mentioning that police killed 346 persons in one year, a decrease from 455 in 2008.
 
Additionally, some security forces used tear gas and water cannons and opened fire on protestors. In a protest in Santo Domingo on July 17, two persons were shot and killed by forces.
 
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The law prohibits torture, but these practices continue. Despite senior officials abiding by the law, a lack of enforcement and follow-up on various other officials prevents the law from being fulfilled. The NGO National Commission on Human Rights filed a complaint to the chief of police alleging that prisoners were interrogated through torture techniques.
 
In a case in May 2008, a female missionary refused to remove her clothing in an examination at the Najayo prison and was beaten as a punishment.
 
Prison and Detention Centers
Overcrowding and unfavorable prison conditions are rampant. However, the government established “model prisons” known as Correctional Rehabilitation Centers which meet the capacity limit and have better conditions than the older facilities.
 
The Attorney General’s Office stated that there were 18,701 prisoners in 36 prisoners when the capacity is only 10,000.
 
Prisoners were mistreated and inmate violence was prevalent. Additionally, air circulation and high levels of potential fire outbreaks were common.
 
There were also insufficient funds for food, medicine, and transportation. This forced inmates to beg for food or buy food.
 
Lastly, detainees with HIV/AIDS or terminal diseases were not transferred to hospitals.
 
Freedom of Speech and Press
The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. Individuals or groups generally were able to criticize the government publicly and privately without reprisal. 
 
There were eight daily newspapers and various other news outlets that were able to present various opinions and criticisms. However, there was a bias concerning a major bank fraud because two of the major newspapers were owned by defendants of the trial.
 
Women
Rape was a serious problem. The law penalizes criminals for 10 to 15 years and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos. The state is also permitted to prosecute a suspect for rape even if the victim does not file a complaint. Oftentimes, police are hesitant to handle such cases and instead encourage victims to turn to NGOs.
 
Prostitution is legal and sex tourism exists.
 
Children
Child abuse is a serious problem. As of August 2009, 1,558 complaints were filed, primarily in Santo Domingo. Few of these cases reach the courts due to fear of family embarrassment, among other reasons.
 
Trafficking, sexual exploitation, and sex tourism of children is also prevalent, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. Although the government conducted programs, this did not curb the problem sufficiently.
 
Constitutional Amendment on Abortion
Amnesty International warned on September 14, 2009, that proposed changes to the Constitution of the Dominican Republic would “lead to a ban on abortions in all circumstances” and would thus increase risks to the lives and safety of women. Therefore, “Amnesty International is calling on the Congress of the Dominican Republic to:
  • reject the current formulation of constitutional Article 30 “since conception to death";
  • take all necessary measures to ensure that safe and legal abortion services are available, accessible, and of good quality for all women who require them in all cases where the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest and when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life or health of the  woman.”
 
Missing Community Activist
Community activist, Juan Almonte Herrera, went missing on September 23, 2009, in the capital of Santo Domingo. Herrera’s sister identified his corpse. However, DNA results deny the claim. The family questions the methods carried out to determine the result.
 
Expulsion of Haitian Migrants
During the week of January 7, 2011, the government of the Dominican Republic deported 950 Haitians. The government argued that expulsions were necessary to prevent the spread of cholera. Amnesty International Senior Advisor Javier Zuñega stated that the Dominican government should be helping the Haitians instead of repatriating them to an area where their health and security would be at risk.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Previous Ambassador:

Ambassador P. Robert Fannin served as the United States Ambassador to Dominican Republic from November 15, 2007, to January 20, 2009. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and received a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 1957 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 1963. Since then, Fannin has engaged in the private practice of law. At present, he is a partner with the international law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He has been an active member of the Bar, including 14 years as a Chairman of State Bar legal education programs. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Arizona State University College of Law in 1995, and was appointed by the Supreme Court of Arizona to serve on the State Commission on Salaries of Elected Officials. He was also a commissioned officer in the US Air Force for three years. 
 
Fannin has been a politically active Republican, donating about $300,000 to various Republican candidates and committees since 1994. From June 2001 to January 2005, he was the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. He has served on numerous committees under several governors, including the Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development, the Governor’s Transportation Task Force, the Plan B Task Force (stadium financing) and Growing Smarter. As Chairman and Member of the Governor’s Motion Picture and Television Advisory Board, he actively promoted film and television production in Arizona. 
 
Fannin continues to be active in charitable non-profit work and volunteer service. He is an emeritus board member (former Chairman) of the Barrow Neurological Institute Foundation, and a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way. Since 2005, he has served as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. 
 
John M. Langston
Appointment: Nov 12, 1883
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 26, 1884
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by mail, Jun 23, 1885
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.  Langston also served as ambassador to Haiti, Member of Congress from Virginia from 1890 to 1891 (he was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and the only one for another century); founder and dean of Howard University Law School; Inspector General of the Freedmen’s Bureau; and the first president of Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University).
 
John E. W. Thompson
Appointment: May 7, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1885
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge at Port-au-Prince about Oct 17, 1889
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Frederick Douglass
Appointment: Jun 26, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 25, 1890
Termination of Mission: Left Port-au-Prince, Jul 1891
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince. A prominent abolitionist and spokesman for African American civil rights, Douglass also served as President of the Freedmen’s Bureau Bank, ambassador to Haiti, Marshal of the District of Columbia, and as Haiti’s commissioner to the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. 
 
John S. Durham
Appointment: Sep 3, 1891
Presentation of Credentials: 8-Jan 14, 1892
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 18, 1893
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Henry M. Smythe
Appointment: Sep 15, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1893
Termination of Mission: Left Santo Domingo, Mar 20, 1897
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
William F. Powell
Appointment: Jun 17, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: [Feb 18, 1898]
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Jul 23, 1904
Note: Also accredited to Haiti; resident at Port-au-Prince.
 
Thomas C. Dawson
Appointment: Apr 29, 1904
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 23, 1904
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 5, 1907
Notes: Dawson also served as ambassador Colombia (1907 to 1909), Chile (1909), and Panama (1910). He was the author of “The South American Republics” (1903 and 1904).
 
Fenton R. McCreery
Appointment: Jan 10, 1907
Presentation of Credentials: May 18, 1907
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 7, 1909
 
Horace G. Knowles
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 7, 1910
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 2, 1910
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Jun 24, 1910
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 3, 1910
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Jul 6, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 5, 1911
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 2, 1913
 
James M. Sullivan
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 12, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1913
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 20, 1915
 
William W. Russell
Appointment: Aug 16, 1915
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1915
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 12, 1925
 
Evan E. Young
Appointment: Sep 18, 1925
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 28, 1925
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 31, 1929
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1925.
 
Charles B. Curtis
Appointment: Dec 16, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 28, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 11, 1931
 
H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld
Appointment: Aug 1, 1931
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1931
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 27, 1937
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 17, 1931.
 
R. Henry Norweb
Appointment: Apr 22, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1937
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 13-19, 1940
 
Robert M. Scotten
Appointment: Jan 12, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 21, 1940
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 14, 1942
 
Avra M. Warren
Appointment: Mar 5, 1942
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1942
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
Avra M. Warren
Appointment: Mar 27, 1943
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1943
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 22, 1944
 
Ellis O. Briggs
Appointment: Mar 21, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 3, 1944
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 14, 1945
 
Joseph F. McGurk
Appointment: Feb 9, 1945
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1945
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 16, 1945
 
George H. Butler
Appointment: Jul 13, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 5, 1948
 
Ralph H. Ackerman
Appointment: May 22, 1948
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1948
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 11, 1952
 
Phelps Phelps
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 27, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 29, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 30, 1953
 
William T. Pheiffer
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 28, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 2, 1957
Note: Pheiffer also served as a Republican Member of Congress from New York from 1941 to 1943.
 
Joseph S. Farland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 20, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 7, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 28, 1960
Note: Henry Dearborn was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic, Aug 26, 1960. The Embassy in Santo Domingo was reestablished Jan 6, 1962, with John Calvin Hill as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
John Bartlow Martin
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Mar 2, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 9, 1962
Termination of Mission: Normal relations interrupted, Sep 25, 1963; new Government of the Dominican Republic still unrecognized by the U.S. when Martin left post, Sep 28, 1963
 
W. Tapley Bennett, Jr.
Appointment: Mar 4, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 23, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 13, 1966
 
John Hugh Crimmins
Appointment: Jun 27, 1966
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1966
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 16, 1969
Note: Crimmins also served as ambassador to Brazil from 1973 to 1978. 
 
Francis E. Meloy, Jr.
Appointment: May 27, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 16, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 6, 1973
Notes: Meloy also served as ambassador to Guatemala from 1974 to 1976, and to Lebanon in June 1976, when he was assassinated by extremists. 
 
Robert A. Hurwitch
Appointment: Jul 24, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 5, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 5, 1978
 
Robert L. Yost
Appointment: Apr 7, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: May 15, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 7, 1982
 
Robert Anderson
Appointment: May 24, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 22, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1985
 
Lowell C. Kilday
Appointment: Jul 12, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 11, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 8, 1988
 
Paul D. Taylor
Appointment: Jul 11, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 18, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 9, 1992
 
Robert Stephen Pastorino
Appointment: Dec 2, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 28, 1994
 
Donna Jean Hrinak
Appointment: May 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1994
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 8, 1997
Notes: Hrinak also served as ambassador to Brazil from 2002 to 2004, to Venezuela from 2000 to 2002, and to Bolivia from 1997 to 2000. 
 
Mari Carmen Aponte
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nomination of April 28 withdrawn Oct 5, 1998
 
Charles Taylor Manatt
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 16, 1999
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1999
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Hans H. Hertell
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 2, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 29, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 2, 2007
 
P. Robert Fannin
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 15, 2007
Presentation of Credentials: 
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 20, 2009
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Dominican Republic's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Dominican Republic

Brewster Jr, James
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama’s recent nominations of several openly gay men to serve as ambassadors have been welcomed by the proposed host nations with a combination of praise and indifference, but little or no anger or hostility. That is because the host nations—including Australia, Denmark and Spain—are economically advanced countries where popular movements for gender and sexual equality have made great strides in recent decades.

 

The president’s nomination of James “Wally” Brewster to be the next ambassador to the Dominican Republic, however, has been greeted with an ugly example of homophobic hostility—with the nation’s highest ranking Catholic official as the ringleader. During a press conference last week, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, who is currently archbishop of Santo Domingo, referred to Brewster as a “maricón”—a derogatory terms that is usually translated in the U.S. as “faggot.”

 

Meanwhile, Monseñor Pablo Cedano, who is an auxiliary bishop of Santo Domingo, issued a veiled threat against the nominee. “I hope he does not arrive in the country because I know if he comes he is going to suffer and will have to leave,” Cedano said. Terming it “a lack of respect” that Obama “sent…a person of this kind as an ambassador,” he incongruously added, “[W]e don’t despise the person.”

 

Responding to what sounded like threats and attempting to defuse the situation, embassy spokesman Daniel Foote said that Brewster was nominated because of his ideas about democracy and that when he arrives, “Brewster arrives as an ambassador, he’s not coming here as an activist for the gay community.”

 

Brewster was one of Obama’s top “bundlers” during the 2012 campaign, raising more than $500,000 from other contributors for the Obama/Biden ticket. If confirmed by the Senate, Brewster would succeed Raúl Yzaguirre, who left the post in May due to health problems.

 

Born circa 1960, Brewster earned an A.A. in Marketing at Tyler Junior College in Texas in 1980 and a B.A. in Business Administration at Texas A&M University in 1983.

 

Brewster began his career with management and marketing positions in the Dallas, Texas, area at the Jim Collins Company and Carla Francis, Inc., eventually landing at The Rouse Company, where he was group marketing manager from January 1995 to January 1996, managing the marketing strategy for three area shopping malls.

 

Brewster spent the bulk of his career at Chicago-based General Growth Properties (GGP), a real estate investment trust where he was regional vice president of marketing for the southwest region from January 1996 to January 1999, vice president for corporate communications from January 1999 to January 2001, and executive officer and senior vice president from January 1999 to June 2010. During that final stint, General Growth bought Brewster’s former employer, The Rouse Company, in 2004. It was the largest retail real estate merger in American history, and GGP grew to be the nation’s second-largest shopping mall operator.

 

Since June 2010, Brewster has been managing partner at his own company, SB&K Global, a strategy consulting firm specializing in consumer dynamics, global retail strategy, marketplace positioning and brand expansion.

 

A lifelong Democrat, Brewster served Obama for America as national LGBT co-chair and national co-chair of the Obama Leadership Circle from April 2010 to November 2012, engaging mainly in fundraising to re-elect President Obama.  

 

Brewster is not married, although he does have a long-term partner, Bob Satawake, with whom he lives in Chicago.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (LinkedIn)

Obama Announces Two More Gay Ambassadorial Nominees (by Trudy Ring, The Advocate)

Gay Nominee for US Ambassador Criticized, Praised in Dominican Republic (by Ezra Fieser, Miami Herald)

Gay Ambassador Nominee Sparks Controversy In The Dominican Republic (by J. Lester Feder, Buzzfeed)

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