Foreign policy and defense
Dominican Republic is a nation in North America. Its capital city is Santo Domingo. Foreign policy is dominated by relations with the United States and with neighboring Haiti. The Dominican Republic is economically and strategically dependent on the United States and the countries cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking. Relations with poor and crisis-stricken Haiti are historically characterized by mistrust.
International human rights organizations have often criticized the Dominican Republic’s handling of paperless Haitians, and a delegation from the US Congress in 2007 sharply criticized the treatment of Haitian workers on sugar plantations. In the same year a new military border force was formed, but according to a domestic report a few years later it was corrupt and human smuggling across the border had increased.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Dominican Republic for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The UN Special Rapporteurs on Racism and Discrimination against Minorities have also repeatedly called on the government to take action against racism. The government denies that racism exists and believes that measures have already been taken to improve the situation of Haitian immigrants.
After the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Dominican Republic assisted by letting injured Haitians into the country, foreign aircraft with supplies were given the opportunity to land and soldiers were dispatched to assist the UN in the neighboring country. However, an outbreak of cholera in Haiti, and fears that the Dominican Republic would catch the infection, led to new restrictions and in 2011 the country began to deport Haitians again. However, both countries have shown interest in tackling the problems and in mid-2016 a bilateral commission was formed whose purpose was to solve issues related to border trade, transport and migration.
From the 1940s until 2018, the Dominican Republic was one of the few countries that maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan instead of China. Growing trade exchanges and promises of investment and aid from China helped the country change partners. China and Taiwan do not recognize each other and no third party can maintain relations with both.
The Dominican Republic is a member of the OAS as well as in a number of other intergovernmental organizations in the region. Among them is Celac, which was formed in 2011 in an attempt to deepen cooperation between Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The country also joined the ACS organization from 1994, and in 2013 it also joined an association with seven Central American countries, Sica. There are plans within Sica to eventually introduce a single currency and to standardize laws on immigration, education and security. Just before Christmas 2017, President Medina hosted representatives of government and opposition in the crisis-stricken Venezuela who wanted to try to get negotiations on neutral ground.
The country has observer status in and a free trade agreement with the Caribbean organization Caricom. Cariforum – the Caricom countries and the Dominican Republic – signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2008. Since 2007, the Dominican Republic is also covered by the Cafta-DR Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Central America.
The military, which has long had a role in politics, is now under civilian control and the forces have been lost. The Dominican Republic has a professional defense; military service does not exist.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 28 750 men (2017)
The air Force: 16 100 men (2017)
The fleet: 11,200 men (2017)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 0.7 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 3.6 percent (2017)