Letter to the Editor: The Dominican Republic's Leonel Fernández

June 25, 2013


Dear Nacla Editors,

I was disheartened to read “Dominicans, in Three Continents, Go to the Polls” by Ramona Hernández [NACLA Report, Winter, 2012], since it omits essential facts needed to explain present day social and political dynamics in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region. Her omissions were apparently intentional. With this “report” on Dominican politics in the United States, the author meant to paint a more positive image of former President Leonel Fernández by glossing over the historical record. In fact, in describing former president Fernández, the author says nothing about his neoliberal politics, and his infamous alliance with the right in the late 1990s, which catapulted him to power after launching one of the nastiest, racist campaigns in recent memory.

At the end, the campaign was successful in preventing José Francisco Peña Gómez, a Dominican of Haitian descent, from becoming president on the once-populist and now turned neoliberal Dominican Revolutionary Party ticket (PRD). In Hernández’s PR piece, there is no discussion about the impact of the new, reactionary constitution enacted by Fernández and his far-right allies—a constitution that bans abortion and openly discriminates against LGBT people as well as undocumented Haitian immigrants. Another omission has to do with the author’s close ties with Funglode, Fernández’s neoliberal think tank. This last point explains in part Ramona Hernández‘s silence on his shameful record as a corrupt and undemocratic president who is now being singled out by the social movements and the rebellious youth as the main culprit behind the Dominican Republic’s biggest financial deficit.



Emmanuel Santos

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic



Read the rest of NACLA's Summer 2013 issue: "Chavismo After Chávez: What Was Created? What Remains?"


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