DOMINIKANSKA REPUBLIKA – THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA

Foka koja pozira u zabavnom parku-A seal posing in amusement park Ocean World in Puerto Plata

Foka koja pozira u zabavnom parku-A seal posing in amusement park Ocean World in Puerto Plata

Granicni prelaz-A border pass

Granicni prelaz-A border pass

Hotelska sojenica na vodi-A stilt house hotel

Hotelska sojenica na vodi-A stilt house hotel

Karipski pejzaz-Caribbean landscape

Karipski pejzaz-Caribbean landscape

Kolumbo pokazuje na Novi svet-Columbus pointing to The New World

Kolumbo pokazuje na Novi svet-Columbus pointing to The New World

Kolumbov park u kolonijalnoj zoni Santo Dominga-Columbus park in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Kolumbov park u kolonijalnoj zoni Santo Dominga-Columbus park in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Kolumbov svetionik-Columbus Memorial Lighthouse

Kolumbov svetionik-Columbus Memorial Lighthouse

Palata Consistorial u starom gradu Santo Domingu-Consistorial Palace in the old part of Santo Domingo

Palata Consistorial u starom gradu Santo Domingu-Consistorial Palace in the old part of Santo Domingo

Plaza El Morro u provinciji Montecristi na severu zemlje-El Morro beach in the Montecristi province in the north

Plaza El Morro u provinciji Montecristi na severu zemlje-El Morro beach in the Montecristi province in the north

Plaza Punta Kana- Punta Cana beach

Plaza Punta Kana- Punta Cana beach

Spomenik herojima obnove zemlje od kolonijalizma u Santjagu-A monument to the Heroes of the Restoration in Santiago

Spomenik herojima obnove zemlje od kolonijalizma u Santjagu-A monument to the Heroes of the Restoration in Santiago

Iako podaci drugačije svedoče, Dominikanci su ponosni i žele da veruju da je Kolumbo davne 1492. godine upravo ovde prvi put ugledao Novi svet, na mestu današnjeg glavnog grada Santo Dominga. Ogromna moderna katedrala u, obliku stilizovanog broda, simbolično označava početak novog perioda čovečanstva, u čije je tokove ušao ovaj novi i do tada nepoznat svet.
Španci su neposredno po dolasku istrebili lokalni narod Aravak i na svojim galijama počeli da dovoze crne robove iz Afrike za rad na plantažama. Ratovali su sa Francuzima oko prevlasti na ostrvu Hispaniola, dok polovinom XIX veka Pedro Santana nije osnovao ovu zemlju, uglavnom naseljenu mulatskim stanovništvom na većem delu ostrva, dok je na manjem delu formiran Haiti, pretežno nastanjen crnom populacijom. U ne tako slavnoj novijoj istoriji smenjivale su se diktature, da bi se tek krajem sedamdesetih godina XX veka uspostavila krhka demokratija, uz velike socijalne razlike koje neprestano ugrožavaju mir.
Dominikana je pravi karipski raj, kao što se i predstavlja u svim turističkim publikacijama širom sveta, nudeći onima koji žele da takav raj i osete, mnoga iznenađenja tokom boravka. To su najčešće all inclusive varijante, idealne za porodična letovanja, kao što je bilo moje, i u kome se deca mogu prepustiti svim čarima bezbednog uživanja u karipskom ambijentu. Prostrane bele peščane plaže na jugu ostrva, na kome se nalazi Punta Cana, potvrđuju tu lepotu u kojoj je uživao i čuveni pevač Hulio Iglesias koji je vezan za ovu zemlju, jer ima kuću na jednoj od predivnih plaža u blizini.
Dugo putovanje kolima ka severu zemlje i Santo Domingu omogućilo mi je da sagledam druge dimenzije ove karipske lepotice: siromašna predgrađa i sela u kojima se oskudno živi, sa puno izbeglica iz susednog Haitija, koji su znatno agresivniji i često prave probleme. Plantaže šećerne trske i duvana smenjuju beskrajna zelena polja, kao i mala mesta sa brojnim usputnim kafanicama od trošnog drveta, ali sa veoma ukusnom hranom. Kao kontrast tim mestima, najluksuznija letovališta i plaže, kao što su Bavaro ili Boca Chica, okupljaju svetski džet-set, imaju golf terene i marine za svoje velike jahte kojima obilaze Karibe.
Santo Domingo objedinjuje užurbanost velegrada u ritmu merengi i tamnoputih lepotica mulatkinja sa španskom kolonijalnom ahitekturom iz Kolumbovog perioda. Njegova kuća – muzej, u kojoj je živeo, katedrala iz XV veka, prva gradska kuća u Americi, samo su deo istorije koju je ovde započeo legendarni španski moreplovac, na koga je ova zemlja vrlo ponosna. Lokalni narod, koji je tu postojao i ubrzo nestao zahvaljujući novim osvajačima, retko se pominje, kao da ga nije ni bilo.
Moćniji uvek pišu svoje stranice istorije, koja se potom prihvata kao jedino ispravna.

April 2001.
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Even though facts indicate a different scenario, the Dominicans proudly want to believe that in 1492 it was exactly at the site of today’s capital, Santo Domingo, that Columbus spotted the New World for the first time. A huge modern cathedral, modelled after a ship, is a symbol of a new era for humankind, now joined by this new, unknown world.
Soon after their arrival, the Spanish exterminated the locals – the Arawakan speaking Tainos, and started bringing black African slaves on their galleons to work on plantations. They fought a war against the French over supremacy on Hispaniola or La Española, until the mid-nineteenth century when Pedro Santana established the Dominican Republic, mostly inhabited by the mulatto people, whereas Haiti was formed on a smaller part of the island and was mostly inhabited by the black population. In the more recent, not so glorious past, dictatorships came one after another, and a fragile democracy was established only in the 1970s, plagued by huge social gaps that constantly threaten peace.
The Dominican Republic is a real Caribbean paradise, just as it is portrayed in tourist brochures around the world. It offers many surprises to those who want to experience that paradise. Most often they are all inclusive packages ideal for family holidays, like the one I had, where you can let the children safely enjoy the attractions of life in the Caribbean.
Long stretches of white sandy beach at the south of the island, including Punta Cana, are indeed as beautiful as described by the famous singer Julio Iglesias who himself has a house on one of the lovely nearby beaches. A long car journey to Santo Domingo in the north of the country allowed me to grasp the other aspects of this Caribbean beauty: deprived suburbs and villages where people are poor and refugees from Haiti are numerous – the latter prone to being aggressive and frequently creating problems. Sugarcane and tobacco plantations are interspersed by endless green fields as well as small townships with random roadside eateries, mostly in makeshift wooden houses, but with very delicious food. In sharp contrast to this, the most luxurious resorts and beaches, such as Bavaro or Boca Chica attract the world’s jet set, and boast golf courses and marinas for their Caribbean cruising yachts.
Santo Domingo is a mixture of a big city’s frenetic pace, rhythms of merengue, dark skinned beautiful mulatto women and Spanish colonial architecture from Columbus times. Columbus’s house, now a museum, a cathedral from the 15th century, America’s first city hall…they are just a small part of the history that began with this famous Spanish seafarer, the very pride of the Dominican Republic. The local indigenous people, who lived there early on and then disappeared, are very rarely mentioned, if at all, like they never really existed.
Those in power always write history the way they want, and then it is accepted as the only truth.

April 2001

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