Dreaming of the Dominican Republic

All Around This World -- The Caribbean featuring the Dominican Republic

This week our All Around This World online class gets quite a treat — we visit the Dominican Republic. The “D.R.” is a nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Despite having its own challenge, when the Dominican Republic compares itself to the neighbor on its Western border–which it seems to do often– it is proud of its relative prosperity and stability. As we’ll find when we look at the history of the Dominican Republic, those things have come as the result of great struggle, much of it at the hands of the famed “Generalissimo,” Rafael Trujillo. Over the thirty years of his rule, Trujillo–known as “El Jefe”/”the Boss” –renamed the capital Ciudad Trujillo, erecting a huge neon sign that read Dios y Trujillo/”God and Trujillo”, required churches to post the slogan “Dios en cielo, Trujillo en tierra”/”God in Heaven, Trujillo on Earth” and eventually reversed the the order of the phrases, making it, “Trujillo on Earth, God in Heaven.” Today the Dominican Republic is known less for its dictatorial politics than for its beach resorts, merengue music (more about that through the week).