A “Green Tide” Engulfs the Dominican Republic

1- Lorena Espinoza Peña (1)

In “A ‘Green Tide’ Engulfs the D.R.” Amaury Rodríguez (NACLA) analyzes Movimiento Marcha Verde [Green March Movement]—a growing social movement in the Dominican Republic that demands change in spite of “a history of repression, corruption, and impunity.” Here are excerpts from Rodríguez’s article (see NACLA for more):

On January 22, tens of thousands of Dominicans wearing green clothes as a symbol of hope marched through the streets of Santo Domingo, in one of the nation’s largest mobilizations since the 1990s. Fed up with rampant corruption, wasted public funds, and the destructive impact of right wing policies, popular and middle class sectors are making their voices heard as part of the Movimiento Marcha Verde, or Green March Movement.

As of this writing, half a million people have marched for the cause. Unified around ending impunity, the mobilization of the so-called Greens has, in just a few months, put the government of President Danilo Medina (2012—), from the center-right Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (Dominican Liberation Party, PLD), on the defensive. The Green March protests seek to fight an entrenched system of privilege established by politicians and elites in the aftermath of the thirty-year dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo (1930-1961).

Since Medina’s reelection in 2016, which was mired by a number of fraud allegations, anti-government sentiment has spread like wildfire on social media, exposing daily grievances stemming from neglect, nepotism, corruption, and police brutality.

Marcha Verde is a heterogeneous movement that brings together students, working class people, children of all ages, people with disabilities, chiriperos (informal workers), feminists, peasants, LGBTQ communities, artists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, environmentalists, religious groups, Dominicans of Haitian descent, healthcare workers, teachers, doctors, and lawyers. At the same time, large sections of the middle class, impoverished by the crisis and finding political affinity with the anti-corruption message, participate in the movement. In addition to an end to impunity, the movement demands the prosecution and imprisonment of all corrupt politicians and their allies and a return of stolen funds to be invested in government spending on basic needs such as healthcare and education.

Within a short time, the Green March has reached new heights. Jhonatan Liriano, an independent journalist, activist and editor of the volunteer-run web site El Grillo, reported to me that “the Green March has become the most important social movement in the Dominican Republic in the 21stcentury. There has been no other kind of movement with so much capacity for mobilization and impact on the country’s public agenda.”

In a YouTube video of the massive March 26th mobilization in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, the comedian and social critic Trompo Loco, said that the Marcha Verde movement was like an “open dam.”

The mobilization’s force is already reverberating internationally as Dominican immigrants in the New York neighborhood of Washington Heights mobilize, speak out, contribute funds, and even travel back home to participate in the mobilizations. In a recent Facebook post, U.S.-based Dominican writer and poet Raquel Virginia Cabrera offered an interpretation of the mobilizations: “The emergence of critical thinking and its expansion into the social sectors that had previously remained silent or indifferent is one of the most significant victories that came out of the citizen mobilizations […] The so-called Marea Verde (Green Wave) can be the first step towards the formation of a new social contract that reflects the active participation of the different social and political actors of the nation.” [. . .]

[Photo above by Lorena Espinoza Peña: Women at a massive Green March rally at Parque Independencia (Independence Park) in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic on March 19th, 2017.]

For full article, see http://nacla.org/news/2017/06/19/%E2%80%9Cgreen-tide%E2%80%9D-engulfs-dr

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