Archive for the ‘Dominican Labor’ Category
Thursday, January 29, 2004
The key story of the week in our town, not to mention every other town in the country, is that of demonstrative inactivity. We began Monday with a national holiday ‘Founders Day’ – in other words the celebration of the founding father of the country Juan Pablo Duarte. We all leapt back into action come Tuesday only to have our normal pattern dampened again on Wednesday and Thursday with two further days of national inactivity celebrated by those who choose to show their dissatisfaction with the current ‘economic situation’- largely read ‘governmental situation’- and withhold their labor in what is termed a ‘general strike’. The particularly worrying aspect is that it does happen around here that some people take the matter further than stating their position and add violence to their demonstrations. In November a forerunning national strike day was called for and held, and by the time burning tires, cars and general garbage had been cleared away there was also a count of eight fatalities in Santo Domingo. Wisely, various authorities have been calling for the need to demonstrate peacefully this time around and it would seem that the calls have helped, although the latest count of only one deceased in Santiago during yesterday’s strike was also accompanied by at least 32 wounded in skirmishes in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, here in Boca Chica and Playa Vista we have mainly run counter to the national trend and been our usual active selves. Indeed there were comments around the bar yesterday noting how much more effective one could be paying bills and changing money because of a very rare situation: not the slightest sign of people waiting in line at the bank or the electricity company… although there were other inconveniences such as the fact that the water company workers had chosen to support the strike and even our pizza maker decided he would lay down his tools and rest his dough.
We would say that the mood in our immediate vicinity was busier though calm as people seemed to have chosen to sit out the general inactivity at good old Playa Vista.
We cannot help noticing though, that news of the situation here is rippling all the way up to the cold US north, because we had an ABC news camera crew doing interviews and taking footage from our terrazza… so you should be able to hear more of our comments on the subject as well as for once experience some shots in full color of Playa Vista and 50% of the management when they finally edit their program and transmit it sometime in February.
Meanwhile seven years later:
It is rare for a year to pass in the Dominican Republic without a general strike or two to be called. Perhaps just like in any other democratic country it is difficult to see that the working man and woman, for whom they are called, gain very much from it. However Dominicans do at least know how to enjoy themselves when they get that day off!