After the Dominican Republic’s botched municipal elections last week, thousands across the country and the diaspora have taken to the streets in protest. From faulty electronic voting machines, to redacted candidates on the ballots, many are convinced that the election suspension on Sunday, February 16 was not the sole result of “technical difficulties” — rather, it represents an egregious obstruction of democracy at the hands of a corrupt government. It didn’t take long for casual citizens to turn into demonstrators and activists seemingly overnight — and among them, are some of the country’s very own music artists.
As with any major movement, acts from urbano to indie scenes alike are lending their platforms to promote, uplift and support the burgeoning wave of protests led by Dominicans today. Like countless concerned Dominicans in Quisqueya and its offshoots (namely, in diaspora cities like New York, Boston, San Juan and even Madrid), these artists have often taken to social media to express calls of resistance and reform.
Many high-profile artists have opted to repost photos of protestors on the ground, or rally behind the popular hashtags circulating in droves this week — like #JusticiaParaRD (Justice for DR), #SabotajeElectoralRD (Electoral Sabotage RD) or #JCErenunciaYa (JCE Resign Already), with JCE representing the Central Electoral Board.
Notably, however, artists like La Mamá del Rap — a.k.a. Melymel — and acclaimed singer-songwriter Vincente Garcia have taken to the protest grounds themselves. Others, meanwhile, took the opportunity to post lengthier odes to the demonstrators than what you might call your typical “pa’lante.” Pioneering indie voice Rita Indiana, for example, left little room for interpretation in her criticism of the Dominican government: “Dominican democracy is dying at the hands of corrupt and incompetent people,” Indiana wrote. “Today, the elections are canceled due to irregularities that surprise no one. Those responsible must resign.”
As of now, however, there are no resignations to report — let’s see if these artists’ contributions, and more yet to come, help to bring along some much-needed reform.