In the modern history of
the Dominican Republic, during 1916 the American
government decided to invade the country to prevent any
future problems with European countries. They managed to disarm the
civilians and dissolve the old army. Later they proceeded to create a
new government that had to follow the orders of the American military
officers. They trained a new Dominican army to keep the order in the
country. This new order was to benefit the interests of the American
government in the country. As the new army was established a high
military officer used his position to obtain weapons and prepared to
take over the country. This man was Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. As soon
as United States left the country in 1924; the first democratic
elections took place and Horacio Vázquez became the president
In 1930 Trujillo took over the government using his military position and became one of the most renowned dictators in history. Trujillo used his power to dominate and destroy any opposition.
He was so egotistic that he even changed the name of the capital from Santo Domingo to “Ciudad Trujillo”. Initially he was very supportive of the United States and even helped American business to invest in the country. Sadly for him his greed grew too much to the point he not only took over the industries of the Dominicans but also over all American businesses in the country. This started to upset the United States government until in 1961 he was assassinated.
In 1962 Juan Bosch won the democratic elections but as soon as
1963 he was overthrown by a faction of old Trujillo followers and went
to exile. They had the full support of the United States which believed
Bosch was a communist.
At the year 1966 Joan Balaguer a former ally of Trujillo won the election with the help of the United States. He ruled for 12 years in a row by winning the elections in 1970 and 1974. In both elections people from the opposition decided not to nominate any candidate as the result was going to be manipulated by the government.
In 1978 a new president
was elected by the people. He was Dr Antonio Guzman from the Dominican
Revolutionary Party or “Partido Revolucionario Dominicano”. Balaguer
was not very happy with the result of the election and tried to
manipulate the results once more to his benefit. Fortunately with the
aid of international pressure he was obligated to stand down. There was
a tragic turn of events in the modern history of the Dominican Republic
as Antonio Guzman committed suicide before finishing his term as
president. It was speculated that his relatives were involved in
government corruption. Salvador Jorge Blanco also from the Dominican
Revolutionary Party was the substitute for Guzman and he also won the
election of 1982.
During that time the Dominican Republic was affected by Hurricane David in August 31, 1979. Most of the crops were destroyed by the floods produced by this natural disaster and the infrastructure suffered severe damage from one of the most powerful hurricanes in the modern history of the Dominican Republic.
In 1986 Balaguer won the
election once more. The main reason for this was the conviction of
Salvador Jorge Blanco under corruption charges. The people noticed that
the (PRD) was not going to be the solution to their problems as they
continued to steal government funds. Balaguer was victorious again in
the election of 1990 mainly because his opposition was completely
disorganized. In the following years his government received a lot of
pressure from many international organisms to improve the working
conditions of the Haitian workers. These workers basically lived like
slaves with a very low salary and without being able to leave the area
where they worked. Eventually they succumbed to the international
pressure and returned the Haitians to their country.
In the following election
of 1994 Balaguer emerged victorious once more by defeating Francisco
Peña Gomez of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. This time there were
several international observers that found the election to be
fraudulent. Because of that Balaguer was forced to reduce his term for
only 2 years and to not run again for reelection. In 1996 special
elections were celebrated. Francisco Peña Gomez was looking solid as
the main presidential candidate however Balaguer wasn't ready to allow
Gomez to claim victory.
He created an alliance
with Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Liberation Party to make sure
Gomez couldn’t be the winner. As Balaguer gave Leonel Fernandez his
full support the majority of the people sided with Leonel making him
the new president of the Dominican Republic. Some time before the
elections of 1998 Francisco Peña Gomez died of cancer leaving a void in
the Dominican Revolutionary Party.
In the elections of 2000 Leonel Fernandez and the Dominican Liberation Party lost the confidence of the people and were defeated by Hipolito Mejias of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. Sadly for the Dominicans; the presidency of Hipolito Mejias was very far from perfect as he and his party was in control of most of the government branches which resulted in one of the highest levels of corruption in the modern history of the Dominican Republic. The economical problems during these times were so bad that one of the main banks of the country (Baninter) went bankrupt for the first time. Another problem the country faced was the reduced value of their currency against the US Dollar.
In the year of 2004 Mejias tried again for the presidency of the country however the people were already tired of the continuous corruption of his government and for the third time in the modern history of the Dominican Republic they voted for Leonel Fernandez with the hope that eventually he could manage to fix the country's economical mess. In the years that followed; higher taxes and a lot of money spent on projects that haven't been finished was the norm. In 2008 Leonel Fernandez won the election again. That time he promised to improve the educational system and to attend the needs of the less fortunate people. In 2012 Danilo Medina became the president of the Dominican Republic.