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Human Rights in the Dominican Republic

A middle class has emerged in the Dominican Republic in recent decades in response to higher levels of education, exposure to other cultures, primarily as a result of migration the United States, and the first steps toward the modernization of the economy. It is centered in the professional and merchant classes, the civil service and the army, which was largely drawn from sources other than the ruling families. Its development was significantly retarded during the rule of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (1930-1961). Trujillo gathered around him a group of families which were beholden to him. He and his cronies controlled a large portion of the nation's wealth. The middle class had little room for growth in a nation ruled by most of its history by military strongmen, (caudillos), which Martin summarized as "civil war, bloodshed, betrayal, corruption, government by assassination, coups and counter-coups, plots and counter-plots, chaos and anarchy" (1966, p. 18).

Bosch points out that people of the middle class which emerged from the Trujillo era were unstable, disenchanted and "submerged in a sea of tribulations" (1966, p. 61). He also said that the Spanish heritage had largely disabled them because "working is not for the son of a distinguished family" (1966, pp. 57-58). Wiarda described the middle class as "divided and fragmented" and "not a unifying force in society" (1969, p. 101).

Racial and Social Divide: Post-Trujillo

After Trujillo was assassinated in 1961, the country was convulsed in near chaos and was on the brink of civil war leading to the American military intervention in 1965. Opinions differ as to whether the Republic was in fact headed toward a left-wing regime under Juan Bosch Gavino, the leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicana (PRD). U.S. Senator William Fulbright said on April 15, 1965 that "the United States turned its back on social revolution in Santo Domingo and associated itself with a corrupt...

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Human Rights in the Dominican Republic. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:50, September 21, 2017, from
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