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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    The Beginning of Modernization

    Historians and witnesses of the second half of the 1920s categorize it as the definitive beginning of Dominican modernity, with its flowering of trade and agriculture, incipient industrial activity and significant routes for land transportation. The city of Santo Domingo experienced a vast transformation thanks to its new commercial buildings of reinforced concrete on its central streets, to the residences constructed in the surroundings of the city (today Gazue) and to the rapid population of the Villa Francisca neighborhood.

    The Americanization of the Dominican economic elites, the growth of the large sugar plantations and the eight years of occupation, which served at the seed of modernity, had to leave their mark:

    • More than half of Dominican imports came to be from the United States.
    • The popularity of baseball, which replaced cockfighting as the national sport.
    • The use of cars and buses was preferred for internal journeys, setting aside the railroad use.
    • The Dominican economy became characterized by a system of large plantations dependent on the international market.
    • The sugar industry, with its foreign capital, became the enclave outside of Dominican government control. At the end of the occupation, this industry owned more than two million hectares of land, on which a poor work force was employed that was not only Dominican, but also imported from other countries of the Caribbean.

    The Horacio Vásquez Mandate. In this new era, the Horacio Vásquez mandate was a continuation of the political principles developed by the U.S. occupation government: development of public works, growth of agricultural development and education and the improvement of sanitation services.

    Upon beginning his presidency, Vásquez ratified the American-Dominican Convention through a new treaty, signed in December 1924, and arranged for a loan in December 1926, which supplied 10,000,000 to the government.

    During his administration, the Santo Domingo aqueduct was constructed; the ports of Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and San Pedro de Macorís were dredged and improved; the plan for irrigation and agricultural colonization of the Northeast Line and the border was developed; schools were built in 10 cities and the highway network was continued so that before 1930, it was almost complete.

    Caudillismo or Strong Man Politics. The economic and social changes were not sufficient to uproot strong man politics, cronyism, the distribution of positions and the internal struggles of Dominican politics, although, paradoxically, the changes would allow the concentration of power at levels unequaled in the life of the Republic.

    In spite of the rupture of the alliance that brought him to power in the 1924 elections, Horacio Vásquez would obtain a two year prolongation of his presidency by virtue of a constitutional reform prepared and approved in 1927. On the other hand, he would end his presidency by capitulating to the forces of the man he had named as head of the Army. The man that was his confidant would put an end to Vásquez's plans for reelection in a coup d'etat on February 23, 1930.











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