Culture

Protesters in the Dominican Republic On Why They Pulled Up & What They Hope the Outcome Is

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

For the last week, Dominicans and allies have flooded the streets—both in the mainland and the diaspora (including New York, Philadelphia, Madrid, Miami and more)—to raise a collective voice for democracy. A democracy which they see as being under siege after the electoral failure that sloppily unfolded on February 16.

Still, it’s important to note that, as is usually the case, that that particular situation served as more of a nudge over the edge than a one-all-be-all motive for the organized manifestations. In fact, many citizens felt that the way the elections were suspended, and the lack of clear communication that has followed, were signs of blatant disrespect.

“I’m here because I deserve an explanation,” one protester says. “Yo no soy una burla del sistema.”

“There is no explanation for what happened,” a Colombian woman who’s lived in the Carribean archipelago for 20 years adds. “It hurts me because this country feels mine. I came from a place that robbed my peace and I found peace here. I’m not going anywhere,” she says in Spanish. “[Los políticos corruptos] son los que se van!”

For years, the Dominican Republic has been an exemplary force in exhibiting the art of effective, meaningful manifestation. Whether it’s the Green march in response to the Odebrecht corruption scandal, or the March of the Butterflies in response to femicides and gender violence—Dominicanos are not one to turn a blind eye to corruption.

“It’s my first time joining the fight,” a young woman shares. “I’ve always had that inquietud but I didn’t have the motivation because the people were asleep and what’s one person going to do? But now… this was like the drop that made the cup overflow. I’m motivated and standing here with a lot of hope.”

The current goal, for many, is to oust the current electoral board as well as those who are complicit. Still, even if the ideal outcome were to become the reality, most people are walking into the future cautiously—with cacerolas in hand.

“It’s not like we’re going to fully trust the politicians that come next,” a protester tells Remezcla. “They’ll have a (his)story too.”

We caught up with people who pulled up on the weekend ahead of the upcoming protest on February 27 in Plaza de la Bandera. Here’s why they showed up and what they expect comes out of all of this.

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

“I’m here to support democracy in my country now that it’s lost, but the way things are going… no se que pase, literal.”

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

“I’m here because it’s been six days of protest and we still haven’t gotten an accurate response or sanctions of any kind other than naming names.  We need answers and we need them fast.”

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

“I came all the way from Mexico because I’m hurting for my country. I bleed for this country and I don’t want her to have an exiting of great, young minds. I invite young people to fight for their country. ! Viva Republica Dominicana! Un país unido jamas sera vencido.”

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

“I’m here because I think protest works. That the youth has risen to demand change is something I couldn’t miss. My hope is that the Junta Central Electoral (JCE) is investigated and that the results show why the elections were suspended on Sunday. That they find those responsible and that they be punished.”

Photo by Adolfo Sesto for Remezcla

“Estamos harto… So we have to try and change the situation a bit. Not a bit… we have to get those [corrupt politicians] out! I’m here for the same reason you and everyone else is here—because we deserve a change and a better future for the kids and youth. The country has to change a lot. ‘Tamos un poco harto y dolidos todos. We never know what’s going to happen, but the last thing we lose is faith.”