Rafael Hipólito Mejía Domínguez
(pronounced "RAFF-ay-el ee-POH-lee-toh may-HEE-ah dom-ING-ez")
"I'm going to govern from a glass house, with transparency…I am totally conscious of the responsibility of this post and I assume it with humility and with respect for the Dominican people and the international community."
Known by its inhabitants as la Republica Dominicana, the Dominican Republic is located in the West Indies. It occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispañola, which it shares with Haiti on the west. To the north lies the Atlantic Ocean, with the Mora Passage on the east separating the island from Puerto Rico. To the south lies the Caribbean Sea. Covering an area of 48,730 sq km (18,810 sq mi), the terrain is dominated by a central mountain chain and several lesser ranges. Despite the country's subtropical location, it enjoys a moderate climate, well suited for agriculture.
Spanish is the Dominican Republic's official language, reflecting its colonial heritage. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, which receives state support. Nearly two-thirds of the country's 8.6 million people (as of 2001) live in the northern and eastern regions, where farmland is excellent, and water is plentiful. However, more than one million people live on the southern coast, in the capital city of Santo Domingo. The largest city in the Dominican Republic, it is also the nation's economic and cultural hub. Ethnically, about 75% of Dominicans are of mixed European and African descent while the remaining 25% of the population is made up of non-mixed blood whites and blacks. Haitians make up the largest minority group.
Life expectancy is 73 years of age, but infant mortality rates remains high at 34.67 deaths per 1,000 live births. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $5,700 in 2000.
The Dominican economy is based largely on agriculture, with its chief products being sugar, coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. However, there is also a strong mining sector which produces gold, silver, and nickel. In recent years, tourism has become a significant source of income. Primary imports, half of which come from the United States, include foodstuffs, petroleum, manufactured goods, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Major trading partners are the United States, the European Union (EU)—especially Germany, Mexico, and Venezuela. The unit of currency is the peso .
Oficina del Presidente
Santo Domingo, D.N.
Web site: http://www.presidencia.gov.do