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Bernardo Vega - Contemporary Dominican-Haitian Relations

Thursday, December 10, 2009
12:00 AM
1644 SSWB (International Institute)

Bernardo Vega was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic in 1938 and attended school in his country and in England. He graduated as an economist from the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of more than 40 books dealing with Dominican and Caribbean economics, history and archaeology and also taught at various Dominican universities. He worked for more than fourteen years in the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic as Economic Advisor to the Governor, Member of the Monetary Board and eventually Governor of the Central Bank. He was also Director General of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano for five years. He is a member of the Academy of History of his country and was President of the Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos as well as President of the Board of Regents of INTEC University.He served as Dominican Ambassador to the White House from January 1997 till July of 1999. In 2001-2002 he was Editor in Chief of "El Caribe", one of the oldest and most influential Dominican daily papers.He is currently the President of Fundacion Cultural Dominicana a non-profit organization specialized in the edition of Dominican history books.“Contemporary Dominican-Haitian Relations”After more than 70 years (1915-1986) during which either USA military occupations or a fierce local dictatorship existed in one or both countries that share the island of Hispaniola, democracy now exists both in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Moreover the Haitian army was disbanded in the late 1980’s.Political instability in Haiti and the inability of its population to find refuge in significant amounts in either the United States, Canada, the Caribbean islands or Europe, has caused a big inflow of undocumented Haitians into the Dominican Republic. It is estimated that 10% of those living there are either Haitians, or of Haitian descent.This, as in Europe, the USA and Costa Rica, has created political tensions and economic and legal issues. The Dominican military are part of the problem, not of the solution. Meanwhile, Haiti has become the second biggest market after the USA for Dominican products.