The Journal of History     Spring 2003     TABLE OF CONTENTS

6000+ US Troops in the Dominican Republic:
Non-Stop Imperialist Intervention in the Caribbean

By Ruben Dario Garcia

The Dominican Republic is the second biggest Caribbean Island, smaller only than Cuba in the area. Our next door neighbor is Haiti, with whom we share the Hispaniola Island. The US government had had a special interest, more than anything else in the Dominican part of the island.

At the end of the "Spanish-American" war of the nineteenth-century, the US wanted to install a military base at the bay of Samana; the Dominicans took to the streets, making it impossible for Washington's plans to materialize. The US then decided to settle for the Guantanamo base in Cuba and a number of bases in Puerto Rico. Despite the struggle of the Dominican people against colonialism and for independence and self-determination, the United States government up to today still has insisted on dominating their internal affairs.

In 1916 under the US presidency of Woodrow Wilson, Washington ordered the invasion of the Dominican Republic. Eight years later the marines left, leaving behind thousands of dead and one of the worst Latin American dictators in our history. Almighty, commander in chief of the armed forces, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina.

Trujillo served the US well and diligently; he was an advocate of anti-communist hysteria for thirty years and subdued his opponents with death. He got rid of whole families; among them were the beloved Mirabal sisters whom he ordered to be assassinated. Patria, Minerva, and Teresa Mirabal dared to oppose the dictatorship of Trujillo, for which they paid with their lives. It seems like the people of the world are condemned to be left behind with a merciless dictatorship every time the US intervenes in a country.

In 1961, the US began to feel uncomfortable with Trujillo’s behavior, not because of his criminal activities, but because of his taking over US properties and making them his own. The CIA got involved in a plot with high-ranking Trujillo army officers, and assassinated him that year. The Dominican people had hardly buried Trujillo, when the then-US-president Lyndon Baines Johnson, under the umbrella of the Organization of American States (OAS), ordered thousands of US marines to invade the Island. The excuse was to reestablish "order and democracy" in Santo Domingo. It was the year 1965, and the Dominican people had begun an uprising, the April revolution. US troops put it down.

History repeated itself a few years later, after the American troops left the island and an almighty dictatorship started once again. This time it was the turn of the heir to the Trujillo regime, former Trujillo Secretary of State, Vice-president, and President Mr. Joaquin Balaguer. Killing thousands of people, disrupting every labor union, peasant and student organization, Joaquin Balaguer did exactly what US ordered him to do before their departure. After another thirty years or so of dictatorship, the Dominicans celebrated free "democratic elections." In the year 2000 the Dominican Revolutionary Party won the elections under the leadership of Hipolito Mejia.

Mr. Bush Senior Visited Dominican Republic

This year, by "coincidence," ex-US-president George Bush senior visited the Dominican Republic just at the trailing edge of the Venezuelan "general strike" against Chavez, invited by a Venezuelan oil magnate who owns a mansion in la Romana, a province of the Dominican Republic. During old President Bush's vacation in the Dominican Republic, the people had a general strike and all night vigils, and marches against the war in Iraq.

Also by "coincidence," at the same time, the government of the Dominican Republic was negotiating an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Simultaneously several hundred US troops were being stationed around the north in Constanza, and at the border with Haiti.

On Tuesday February the 4, [2003] in the middle of a Dominican general strike, demanding the lowering of the cost of living, more electrical power, no war in Iraq, and other demands, ex-president Bush arrived in the country.

On February 6 [2003] Mr. Bush was decorated with the highest medal of honor of the country, the medal of Duarte, Sanshez, and Mella.

The embassy of the US in the country had justified their low-tension invasion of the country for two main reasons:

1- The Dominican military at the border with Haiti do not know how to handle immigration affairs.

2- The Dominican Republic is being used as a bridge for illegal drug traffic to US.

In reality, the Dominican people are afraid that in the long run US troops will start shooting Haitians and blame it on the Dominicans, thus starting a war between Dominicans and Haitians; and then using that as a justification for a full invasion of the country. On the second part, the pretext about preventing the use of the country as a bridge for drug traffic, the consensus in the Dominican Republic is that the US has to resolve the drug problems in the US.

US troops disguised themselves under the umbrella of working with the community on construction of roads, schools and housing among other things. But if the US wants to help, troops don't have to do what Dominicans can do. More than fifty per cent of able bodied workers are unemployed around the country, including skilled workers like carpenters, mechanics, ironworkers, brick-layers, construction contractors and others. If the US wants to help, the people always say, give us the funds and we build what we need.

Blanco Gold Mine

Amidst high mountains, riverbeds, and streams that are the headwaters of a good portion of the country's rivers live the community of Blanco. This community, located in the north central part of the island, had been reduced to about ten thousand inhabitants from more than sixty thousand previously. Also under the ground of these mountains lies the biggest deposit of gold ore of the entire Caribbean island system. International investors had been interested in the exploitation of the gold mine there. Investors led by US, Canadian, Italian, German investors have tried for more than fifty years to reach an agreement with different governments for the exploitation of the mine. The people of the community of Blanco led by the Federation of Peasants, despite many losses to the dictatorships, have gathered the support of labor unions, students, teachers' union, government agencies, professional organizations and others against the exploitation of the mine. Ex-President Bush is on the board of one of the major gold-mining corporations.

The headwaters at the mountain of Blanco provide all of the drinking water to the rivers that supply the largest communities of the province of Monseñor Noel, which includes Bonao, Piedra Blanca, Maimón and all its surroundings.

If the mine is exploited, there will be serious consequences to the rain forest surrounding Blanco, and eventually the disappearance of the rivers that are born there.

Lots of strange activities have been going on around the mountains of Blanco, like many international agencies (such as Peace Corps, and others), doing research without the community's consent, and bringing large containers of tools and materials to the area. The thousands of US soldiers are stationed close by in Constanza, supposedly to deal with drug traffic, but the major road they built was one between militarized Constanza and gold-rich Blanco. The Dominican people have learned from experience that when high command US officials appear in sight, plus US soldiers, plus activities around the mountains, it has always added up to a new push to exploit the gold mine in Blanco.

Peace and love,
--Ruben Dario Garcia

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The Journal of History - Spring 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.