Dominican Republic Country Report
Danilo Medina from the centre-left PLD party took office in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Solid economic growth, a pro-business agenda and fiscal discipline limit credit and non-payment risks. The main operational shortcomings are bureaucracy and widespread corruption. Medina is likely to give priority to the electricity sector, as well as pursuing fiscal reforms and reducing labour informality. Energy security is a focus of unrest; the electricity system capacity is inadequate, generators are saddled with debt and power outages are common. Protests over power blackouts and demanding greater investment in basic services (water supplies, healthcare, education, and waste management) are most likely in the one-year outlook. Security on the border with Haiti is poor, but there no borderdisputes, which lower war risks.
The main operational shortcomings are bureaucracy and widespread corruption. Infrastructure compares favourably with other developing nations, particularly in tourism and telecommunications. The main infrastructural setback is still the electricity sector, where power outages continue on a disruptive scale, and the need for emergency back-up private generation pushes up living and business costs. The infrastructure system is also vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm hazards, given the country's geographical location. The Dominican Republic continues to face significant challenges as it conducts efforts to become an optimum location for business in the Caribbean.
There is a low risk of terrorism. The few incidents that have occurred have been motivated by high levels of inequality and poverty and have targeted government and commercial assets. Leftist group Resistencia Popular Duartiana (RPD) claimed responsibility for three small-scale attacks: a drive-by shooting in 2013 on the office of a mayor accused of embezzling public funds in San Francisco de Macoris; a 2011 improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a Gas Natural Fenosa power plant in La Vega; and a shooting at a senator's office in San Francisco de Macoris. These incidents left no casualties.
Violent and drug-related crime is still not a major constrain for investors and foreign nationals. The capital, Santo Domingo, has recorded the greatest rise in crime in recent years, especially in and around the poor urban slums surrounding the city, such as Barrio Puerto Rico, Cristo Rey, Ensanche Capotillo, Guachupita, Gualey, La 17, La Barquita, Los Guandules, Los Minas, Simón Bolívar, Villa Duarte, and Villa Mela. The main risk is the increasing levels of petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching. The rise in the number of burglaries has led to an increase in private security, especially in tourist-frequented areas.
The Dominican Republic has no land border disputes with neighbouring Haiti, and no unresolved maritime border disputes with any other country, and the likelihood of interstate war is therefore low. However, the country's relations with Haiti are problematic due to its neighbour's large and impoverished population, and the poor police control along the 400-kilometre border. These risks were accentuated in January 2010 by the devastating earthquake that destroyed large parts of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. The Dominican Republic remains wary of the potentially destabilising effects of a refugee influx from Haiti, and has stationed troops along the shared border.
Local communities are likely to organise protests to demand an end to power blackouts and greater investment in basic services (water supply, healthcare, education, and waste management). Approximately one-third of these are likely to be held in the capital Santo Domingo. Protests normally take the form of roadblocks than tend to last less than 48 hours and limited property damage against government and corporate assets. Foreigners are unlikely to be directly targeted during such incidents, but still face the risk of collateral injury.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30 and heavy rains from tropical storms often cause floods and landslides. Hurricane Isaac left five dead in August 2012; in August 2011, Hurricane Irene triggered the evacuation of 32,000 people and resulted in at least four deaths. Hurricanes Irma and Maria both passed near the island in September 2017, but neither caused significant damages.
Up-to-date information and weather warnings are available at the website of the Dominican Republic's Center of Emergency Operations.
The Dominican Republic is within an active seismic zone and, consequently, is susceptible to earthquakes.
It should be noted that the Dominican Republic has the highest per capita rate of fatal traffic accidents in Latin America, amounting to nearly 30 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants on a yearly basis. This is due in large part to erratic driving habits, the nonenforcement of traffic laws, and poorly maintained roads. It is advisable to avoid driving oneself when possible, particularly at night.
For similar safety reasons, it also advised to refrain from using public transportation; travel by licensed taxis or chauffeured cars is best.
Airlines serving the Dominican Republic generally meet international safety and security standards, except for Insel Air.
Note that police checkpoints are common. Always drive with proper identification documentation (e.g. passport and visa, if relevant) and car registration information.
The climate in the Dominican Republic is tropical with easterly winds passing over the island nation throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from May until November in the south and from December until April in the north. Hurricanes can strike between June and November with the risk particularly high in early September.
Voltage: 110 V ~ 60 Hz