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Dominican Republic: A new President promises hope and change while holding on to the past

By Ivan G. Marte

The Dominican Republic (DR) has a new president, Danilo Medina. Medina is very much interested in projecting a new image for the country. He wants the DR to be seen as a place of progress and economic stability under an honest administration.

Dominican Republic’s new President Danilo Medina Sanchez.

Medina was born in Arroyo Cano, in the state of San Juan de la Maguana. The oldest of eight children, Danilo set an example in both school and in his life for his younger brothers and sisters. From elementary and high school where he garnered high grades to the time he graduated Manga Cum Laude from the Instituto Tecnologico Santo Domingo in 1984 with an economics degree, Medina has illustrated an ethic that honors hard work, commitment and always looking towards the future.

However, just as he assumes his new position, his administration has decided to maintain loose ties with the former administration by installing the wife of the DR’s former leader as his new vice president.

It’s an ironic development given that Mr. Medina’s political campaign slogan was: “We will fix what is wrong, continue with what is right and do what never was done.” It’s a safe bet that the people of the Dominican Republic are already disappointed with Mr Medina before he’s even begun.

The former leader, Leonel Fernandez, ruled the country for 12 of the past 16 years and was regarded by Transparency International, a watchdog organization, as presiding over the most corrupt country after Haiti among the larger Caribbean states.

Medina’s appointment of Fernandez’s wife as his vice president would be eyebrow-raising if it weren’t for the fact, as reported by the Economist, that Mr. Medina is a protégé of Leonel Fernandez. Hopefully, that is where the connection ends.

It is rumored that Medina will announce drastic changes to combat the corruption found in the past administration by instigating a major ‘moral revolution’ that promises the restoration of government trust. With Dominican Americans having the same high hopes as Dominicans, we can only wait and see if another president, who inspired hope and change during his campaign, will follow through and deliver it to a country in desperate need of a new course for the future.

Latina Lista contributor Ivan G Marte is president/chief executive for The Center for the Defense of Civil Rights & Equality in Rhode Island.

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