Poverty and abundance, two sides of the same coin in the Dominican Republic

Poverty and abundance, two sides of the same coin in the Dominican Republic

About 300 kilometers from the paradisiacal and thriving Punta Cana, Josefina D’oleo shares a one-bedroom house with two daughters and three grandchildren in the forgotten community of Boquerón, where poverty is hereditary, a reflection of the other side of the Republic. Dominican, a country of enormous contrasts.

After the pandemic, the situation of the 53-year-old woman worsened, as did that of the majority of the residents of this small town, located in the province of Azua (southwest), and which was reported in the media in Last December after the death of eleven Dominicans in a truck accident in Chiapas, Mexico, in which more than 160 undocumented migrants were traveling.

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY

In a speech delivered this week on the occasion of the second year of his Government, President Luis Abinader showed his pride in the good economic performance of the Dominican Republic, one of the Latin American countries with the highest growth, with an expansion of 12.3 % of economic activity in 2021, according to the Central Bank.

But in Josefina’s house, made of wood, cardboard and zinc, this economic well-being is not reflected, on the contrary, she and her family have to seek more and more to survive, since the high cost of living has skyrocketed with inflation of 9.43% until July, the highest since 2014.

The economy “is not very good because one does not find much for food, only with the government aid card (about 30 dollars a month) or if one does a wash (wash clothes for pay),” the woman tells to a source, who seems resigned to her life in Boquerón.

In that community, commercial activity is practically nil, people survive from the manufacture and sale of pylons, oblivious to what happens in Santo Domingo or in the rest of the country.

WHEN POVERTY IS INHERITED

Josefina’s eldest daughter finished school, but has not continued her studies. She made a living working as a maid, as her mother once did, but now she too is unemployed.

Like her mother, she supports “whatever appears,” according to D’oleo to a source, sitting in a kind of gallery in her house, while two granddaughters, 6 and 3 years old, eat sitting in the I usually.

The youngest of the daughters works in a lottery bank, a source of employment with very low wages to which thousands of young people and single mothers have ended up in this country, where poverty went from 23.36% to 23, 85% in 2021, for an increase of 0.49 percentage points compared to 2020.

Extreme poverty, however, registered a reduction of 0.45 percentage points, after going from 3.51% in 2020 to 3.06% in 2021, according to the data that is part of the Official Monetary Poverty Statistics Bulletin .

WHEN THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION BUT TO EMIGRATE

In front of the woman’s humble home lives Rómulo Terrero, 62, who in 2000 left with a work contract for Spain, the destination of thousands and thousands of natives of the Dominican south.

He left “in search of a better life,” Terrero, a native of Barahona, in the southwest, but a resident of Boquerón, where he was able to build a decent house for his family, told a source.

The man, who has Spanish nationality, lost a stepson last December, Rafelín Martínez, one of the more than 50 undocumented immigrants who died in the accident in Chiapas, Mexico.

Martínez, who manufactured pylons, invested close to a million pesos (about 17,000 dollars) so that the boy made the frustrated trip to the United States, pushed by economic precariousness.

“It took him (to make the trip) the same as many people who are in need: the poverty of the country (and) the mismanagement of this country that leads the youth to want to leave to achieve their goal,” Terrero said. , who was wearing a T-shirt with the face of the deceased and the legend: “We will always remember you”.

Martínez’s death “has been a tragedy” for his family who, in addition, have had to borrow to pay the more than 8,000 dollars that the transfer of the body from Mexico cost, since the Government has not fulfilled its promise to help with the expenses, according to Terrero’s complaint.

His neighbor Pascual Alcántara, 53, prefers to continue fighting in Boquerón, manufacturing pylons, raising goats or planting what little the dry climate of the place allows him because “you don’t play with life,” he says.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.