The Dominican Republic

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Weather Report

Heavy rains this weekend in the Dominican Republic are causing rivers to overrun their banks in several areas of the country. This follows on the heels of a severe power outage due to problems with the power generation facilities.

This is a typical report for the week:

Los indicadores meteorológicos muestran la continuación de las precipitaciones intensas en el territorio nacional debido a la humedad que habrá en la atmósfera local. La vaguada persistirá sobre el país, sin embargo el frente frío se habrá movido lentamente un poco más hacia Puerto Rico. - El Caribe
I noticed that Prensa Latina from Cuba has an English RSS feed.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Dominican Military - Air Force

President Fernandez made sweeping changes to the Dominican military yesterday, replacing generals and admirals, as well as replacing the National Police Commissioner.

The country has a relatively small military.

Here's a nice summary of the Fuerza Aérea Dominicana (FAD), the Dominican Republic's air force and related air assets in other branches. The FAD is used in a variety of ways, including fighting forest fires. The force uses several key bases. Following Hurricane Jeanne, the force was used to distribute humanitarian supplies to Haiti, as well as in country. The force lists 5,500 active personnel. Here's a rundown.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Dominican Cardinal a possible replacement for Pope

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo is mentioned as a possible replacement for Pope John Paul as the Catholic church begins its search for a new leader. Lopez Rodriguez is a conservative who has argued strongly against Marxism, abortion, and allowing gays in Catholic seminaries.

Last month, he called for people in the Dominican Republic to unite in “an intense network of prayer” to overcome the problems that are affecting the country.

Lopez Rodriguez was born in Barranca, La Vega, and was ordained on 18 March 1961.

From what I hear, I am impressed with this man.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sabana Perdida

Sabana Perdida is perhaps the poorest area of Santo Domingo. The community which consists of something like 54 neighborhoods (barrios) sprawls over the hills in the northeast area of the city, located about 40 minutes from the center of Santo Domingo. José Luis Alcántara was killed there while protesting electricity blackouts. The area has seen sporadic urban renewal efforts, not always focused on the well-being of the inhabitants.

The Centro Internacional de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo, Edmundo Morel & Manuel Mejía, published an excellent study of evictions associated with such urban renewal efforts. For example, construction of the "outer ring" road forced the resettlement of dozens of families in Sabana Perdida.

In 1988, I spent a year in Guadalajara, Mexico studying the problems with home ownership and public service deliver in irregular settlements. Sabana Perdida is similar. In fact, recently the president of the DR "regularized" over 3500 homes, providing the owners with title to their properties. Income in the area is probably $60 per month or less and electricity may be shut down for 10 hours a day.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Higuey Prison Deaths

A deadly fire at the Higuey prison highlights this weeks news from the Dominican Republic. The fire, which began following the outbreak of fights between rival gangs in the prison, resulted in the deaths of 134 prisoners - probably the largest Higueyan death toll since the conquest of Higuey in 1502.

Also, Carib indians from the DR are protesting the portrayal of Carib indians as cannibals in the movie, Pirates of the Carribean 2.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Dominican Cuisine

Dominican food certainly requires an adjustment for some Americans. Here's a sense of what you're looking at from Dominicana:

"Chenchén, a typical dish in the south that consists of cracked corn boiled for hours with diverse spices and accompanied by goat stew; Chacá, also elaborated from a corn base, is a dessert prepared with milk, sugar and cinnamon; sometimes the milk is substituted with goat milk; Fish with coconut and rice with pigeons peas is a typical dish of Samaná; Rice with red beans, cooked in different ways is a staple of the Dominican meal;

Aunt Clara's Kitchen specializes in Dominican recipes. Clara even has a Foro de Cocina where you can discuss anything on Dominican cooking.

One of the more popular dishes is Mangú.

Wcities has a rundown on some of the local Santo Domingo restaurants.

And the Worldwide Gourmet offers a Food Lovers Tour of the DR.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Bill Gates in Country

The Seattle PI reports that Bill Gates is visiting the Dominican Republic. While there, President Leonel Fernandez dropped in for a visit. No problem, he was only about 75 miles from the capital. They met at the home of Venevision's Gustavo Cisneros. Cisneros is aggressively expanding his business ventures well beyond Venezuela, moving into Spain, Portugal, the US, and even China.