The Dominican Republic (Spanish: República Dominicana, Spanish pronunciation: [reˈpuβlika ðominiˈkana]) is a Latin American country located in the Greater Antilles archipelago on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. It shares the island with the Republic of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are split by two countries; the other is Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten. Hispaniola is the second-largest of the Greater Antilles, and lies west of Puerto Rico and east of Cuba and Jamaica.
The Dominican Republic is the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, its capital Santo Domingo, which was also the first colonial capital in the Americas. It is the site of the first cathedral, university, European-built road, European-built fortress, and more.
For most of its independent history, the nation experienced political turmoil and unrest, suffering through many non-representative and tyrannical governments. However, since the death of military dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in 1961, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy.
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna
born December 26, 1953 is a Dominican politician and expresident of the Dominican Republic. He was born in Santo Domingo but spent his childhood and formative years in New York City, United States. He joined the PLD at its inception in 1973, when the late Juan Bosch left the PRD to create the new party. Fernández was a close pupil of Bosch, and was presented as a vice-president candidate with the latter during the 1994 presidential elections.
During his first term in office, Fernández's political agenda was one of economic and judicial reform. He helped enhance Dominican participation in hemispheric forums, such as the Organization of American States and the Miami Summit. The Dominican economy enjoyed an average growth rate of seven percent, the highest in Latin American in that period, along with countries like South Korea. Inflation was stabilized in the low single digits, the lowest in all of Latin America. He served a four-year term as president between 1996 and 2000.
Fernández also began a very personal and visionary plan to run the Dominican Republic. When developers proposed the country's first modern port during his first term, he said that "We can be the Singapore of the Caribbean." In Santo Domingo city, he built highways and tunnels and favored foreign investment, but delayed fundamental social reforms, like education and public health.
Fernandez wasn't able to run for a second term (the constitution did not allow it) and thus, his party chose his right-hand man, Danilo Medina the best, as candidate for the 2000 election. However, Medina would go on to be defeated by a charismatic populist PRD leader, Hipólito Mejía, who captured the popular sentiment at the time, as many Dominicans felt that the Fernández reforms had not improved their lives greatly, and questioned claims of unprecedented economic growth. (more...)
Danilo Medina Sanchez is the current President of the Dominican Republic, since August 16, 2012.
With broad political career, Medina is a member of the Dominican Liberation Party, the political party which has run the government of the country since 2004. He won the May 2012 dominican presidential election, defeating Hipolito Mejía with 51% of the votes. Medina was born in Arroyo Cano, San Juan Province, in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. He is the oldest of eight brothers born of Juan Pablo Medina and Amelia Sánchez. Since he was 18 years old he was a student leader, founding the San Juan de la Maguana branch of the Frente Revolucionario Estudiantil Nacionalista at the UASD. When Professor Juan Bosch founded the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana in 1973, Medina joined him. He studied economics at Instituto Tecnológico Santo Domingo (INTEC), and graduated magna cum laude in 1984. He has been a member of the Central Committee of the PLD since 1983. In 1986 election he was elected a deputy in Congress. In 1987, he married psychologist Cándida Montilla and has three daughters, Sibeli, Vanessa and Ana Paula. (more...)