Dominican Republic: Political and Economic Conditions and Relations with the United States Page: 3 of 6
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country's largest publishing company, and fired many editors and management officials,
even if they were not party to the scandal. There are corruption cases pending against Mr.
Baez and other prominent Dominican bankers associated with the scandals. In late
November 2004, the Fernandez administration charged 12 former PRD officials with
embezzlement, fraud, and misuse of public funds.
Human Rights. According to the State Department's Country Report on Human
Rights Practices covering 2004, although the Dominican government has made some
progress, it still has a poor human rights record. Local press reports indicate that
Dominican police killed 160 more people in 2004 than in 2003.6 In addition to the
continued use of torture and physical abuse, prison conditions range from "poor to harsh"
as 13,500 prisoners are currently being held in overcrowded prisons designed to hold only
9,000 inmates. On March 7, 2005, rival gangs set a fire in one Dominican prison that
resulted in 133 deaths and 26 injuries.7 Finally, despite the enactment of an anti-
trafficking in persons law in August 2003, the State Department has placed the Dominican
Republic on a Tier 2 Watch List for failing to arrest and prosecute those accused of
Status of Haitians and Dominican-Haitians. The Dominican government
continues to receive international criticism for its treatment of an estimated one million
Haitians and Dominican-Haitians living within its borders.8 Each year thousands of
migrants, many without proper documentation, flock from Haiti, the poorest country in
the hemisphere, to the Dominican Republic. The Dominican economy, especially the
sugar and construction industries, has long profited from a constant influx of cheap
Haitian labor. More than 90% of the country's seasonal sugar workers and two thirds of
its coffee workers are Haitians or Dominicans of Haitian origin.9 In 2002, the Dominican
Directorate of Migration forcibly deported more than 12,000 Haitians, including children
born of Haitian parents in the Dominican Republic.10 According to most Dominican
officials, including President Fernandez, the recent crisis in Haiti, which resulted in the
removal of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in early 2004, has accelerated the level of
illegal migrants heading to the Dominican Republic and placed further strain on the
struggling Dominican economy."1
6 "Killings by Police in the Dominican Republic Way up Over 2003," EFE News Service, January
7 "133 Killed in Dominican Republic Prison Fire," The New York Times, March 8, 2008.
8 See Gerardo Reyes, "Esclavos en Paraiso,"El Nuevo Herald, Jan. 9, 2005.
9 Philip Martin, Elizabeth Midgley, and Michael S. Teitelbaum, "Migration and Development:
Whither the Dominican Republic and Haiti?" The International Migration Review, New York:
Summer 2002, Vol. 36, Iss. 2.
10 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003: Dominican
Republic, Feb. 2004.
" Alois Hug, "Somos el Patio Trasero de Estados Unidos, no Podemos Enfrentarnos," El Pais,
July 19, 2004.
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Dominican Republic: Political and Economic Conditions and Relations with the United States, report, March 8, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc816876/m1/3/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.