This is an article published yesterday by an acquaintance of mine who lives in the Dominican Republic, Felix Santana Garcia. He writes a weekly article for an online newspaper there. (I translated the article from Spanish.)
The People Lie Helpless
By FELIX SANTANA GARCIA
* The author is a financial manager and university professor. Living in Santo Domingo.
In recent years the Dominican people have lost their courage and spirit of defense to the extent that the authorities will increase costs, expenses and prices, and they do not flinch or react to protect themselves from measures that are adverse to their limited or low family budget. The people act as if anesthetized or masochistic.
It is surprising to see that every week fuel prices increase steadily. All goods and services in one way or another are impacted by these increases and the Dominican people whether healthy or hard-worker don't raise their voice in protest.
The reason may have to do with the opposition that today is divided in some cases and in others silenced by corrupting money.
While inflation is reported from January to May 2013 at 1.72% and the annualized (May 2012 to May 2013) 4.99%, the people see in the markets that this is not so as the prices of a basket of necessary household items is estimated at more than RD $ 25,000.00. The situation is made worse because in many households with more than four members one person barely works with a net income of only RD $ 7,000.00.
No surprise to anyone to see how people entering the malls and supermarkets come out with one little pillow or perhaps empty handed, except for employees of public and private administrations who come out with lofty and luxurious emoluments and associated accessories.
So far this year, there are no signs of improvement in the pronounced inactivity of the economy that is on the verge of falling into recession, despite the injection of RD $ 20,000 million easing of reserve requirements and RD $ 9,000 million of assumed budget savings.
Nothing has been able to push the car of the Dominican economy and all because of the abysmal fiscal deficit over RD $ 205,000 million. All the while Mr. Leonel Fernández, the intellectual and material author of such deficit, has not been invited to go through the Dominican courts when for less foul or violations of the laws of the United States and Mainland China, a common citizen or a senior official would be processed to even the extreme of the death penalty.
For this, there are many Dominican families who are now deprived of a crust of bread and a mabí (sugar water, popularly known as tennis water) if not a glass of milk to sustain their lives.
Whole families with sorrow, eat something only once a day, others have to go to bed with a grain of salt under the tongue and a glass of water, in some cases non-potable water, living below the poverty line. This includes families who will never even reach the point of balance (equality between income and expenditure before taxes and interest, that is if they have a loan).
While all this happens, employees and high officials and the people related to the Executive party of the government enjoy high incomes and cushy benefits that allow them to eat and drink like kings and enjoy good resorts and travel abroad.
Poverty increases as an expense of correcting irregularities among other public finances over the past years. What a shame that it is the dispossessed people who are paying the costs of a party to which they were not invited and the party has not ended yet.
Neither was it felt in the shops or on public roads on mothers day or fathers day and many other traditional celebrations, as the purchasing power is at a minimum. So people only spend money when they find a bit on a piece banana only to live poorly.
The Defender of the people is not present, as this problem has no office or budget in the government, but neither is the Pro-consumer present as seen previously. It is forbidden to punish violators of the laws who sell expired products at inflated prices.
Definitely the people are defenseless, and perhaps, due to a poor diet, the people have no strength to raise their voice in protest, so that if the living forces, now dead, are not resuscitated as recently seen in Brazil by corruption and the high cost of living, soon the Dominican people will be a nation of the dead, ghosts or zombies.