Exclusively for NazranRoth by David Friedlander – Consultant Dominican Republic
GLOBALIZATION IS TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES, MELTING AWAY BORDERS AND FUELING DIVERSITY.
It cultivates transculturation that enriches communities and gives promise in attaining a better quality of life. While these factors nurture the dream-building spirit, they shift our focus from an important task. At a key point down the development lane, a sense of loss in identity will sink in, and will trigger a quest into self-discovery a journey into redefining who we are and where we come from. For islanders living in the heart of the Caribbean surrounded by breathtaking tropical landscapes and rich fertile lands, the challenge to play on a global stage is overshadowed by the ease of living in the moment. In the Dominican Republic (DR) enjoying a warm white sandy beach, or cooling off in a freshwater river, is a choice often taken over tasks needed to value these assets. It is no secret, DR has had challenges capitalizing its worth in the globalized framework. DR has had an important role in the colonization of the western hemisphere offering evidence to some of the oldest European footprints found in the Americas. One can explore these cultural patrimonies and witness the first monastery, hospital, cathedral, university, or even the first sugar plantation in the Americas. The country holds deep roots in western development, and its evidence is well worth discovering. It assimilated one of the most diverse identity in the world, from the indigenous who occupied the island, to the first settlement of Africans in the Americas, or the different European colonizers, they all came together and set path for new western traditions. This cultural mix innovated new sounds that influenced the blues, pop, and created new musical genres such as Merengue, Bachata, Dembow and Salsa. This fusion also shaped agricultural developments, establishing sugar plantations dating back to the sixteenth century, where the abundance of sugar production leads to the distillation of Rum, food preservation, and a sweetener to aid the Tea and Coffee craze. Today, DR ranks among the best producers in Organic Banana, Avocados, Plantains, Cassava, Mangos, Cocoa, Coffee, Tabaco and Rum. Even with all of these favorable assets, the DR has failed to define and promote a strong cultural identity. For centuries, the elites have looked to cleanse the richness of the second-largest mulato population in sweeping the “ugly” under the rug. For the many who’ve seen the opportunity in exploiting these assets have spent decades trying to overcome the hurdles set by the few. Thanks to the connected world, the country gains popularity with its “Platano Power” hall fame baseball players, award-winning movie stars, beauty pageants, exclusive beach resorts and its 10,164 ft mountain peak. Today, the street art movement is what’s creating the appreciation of the cultural reference, street venues who are pushing the boundaries of gastronomy, and the growing immigration of foreigners are shoving competitiveness. The path to setting a value proposition that sells is forming, and with its transformations, great opportunities are rising. I Love DR!! For its ways help filter out the noise and anxiety generated by the desire of controlling the unknown. Even though its isolation in the middle of the Atlantic has minimized its participation in the global cooperation to reduce poverty, inequality, sustainability…, it has figured out a way to yield happiness with a smile.