Chapter Five Summary
The struggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic
The Chapter primarily focuses on the struggle for politics of democracy in Dominica. This represents the social evolution and political rules of the country. Most individuals are aware of political democracy. However, only a few understand what the term neopatrimonialism means. A neopatrimonial ruler is one who rules a nation as if it were an extension of his or her own household. Neopatrimonial rule has been common in the Dominican Republic, whereas democracy has been scarce. The tragic history of foreign occupation, civil wars, and economic ruin in the nineteenth century of the country can explain the reason as to why neopatrimonial rulers emerged in the country. For instance, Rafael Trujillo who ruled from 1930 to 1961 took most productive industries and many of the best agricultural lands as his own. Additionally, Trujillo had more statues in public places than any other leader in the world and also made the Guinness Book of World Records.
In 1962, after the assassination of Trujillo, free elections were held and Juan Bosch won. However, the democratic rule, which he led, survived for only seven months and was overthrown. In 1966, Joaquin Balaguer, a former collaborator of Trujillo took over the presidency and ruled in a neopatrimonial, although less brutal, style. This was after the intervention of the United States in 1965. This was a disappointment to the citizens of the country and the entire nation as the earlier hopes that the end of the era of Trujillo in 1961 would bring political democracy were disappointed. In 1978, there was a transfer of power from one political power to another. The nonviolent transfer of power from one political party to another was first in the country’s history. The defeat of Balaguer was viewed as a democratic transition. The inauguration of the new president led to some changes in the government. For instance, several generals were removed from office. In addition, the political role of the military in the nation was receded. However, Balaguer resumed his position in 1986, through elections held in the same year. As a ruler and leader, Balaguer evolved in special historical and social circumstances. The nation went through the collapse of the dictatorship by Trujillo, a foreign military war, and a civil war. The bourgeoisie and the local oligarchy were incapable of filling the political vacuum, and, with support from the United States, Balaguer became the undisputed political leader. He sought for modernization and democracy, which Dominican citizens had lacked during Trujillo’s era.
During Balaguer’s rule, he undertook unprecedented programs on public works, building bridges, building roads, schools, libraries, housing projects, museums, parks, theatres, and sports complexes. All these led to heavy debts, as well as, an endangered economy. Despite charges of electoral fraud, Balaguer was able to maintain the presidency of the Dominican Republic. This caused intense international pressure on his rule, and he agreed to rule for only two years. Balaguer was able to exercise his rule in the country until in 1996, when he stepped down from power following his health conditions. The three political rules represented in the country are neopatrimonialism, authoritarianism, and international vulnerability. This implies the struggle for democratic politics in the Republic that has caused a shift from one form of political rule to another.
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