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cigar making in the Dominican Republic
September 24, 2013

How Do Developing Countries Compare to the US in Tobacco Consumption?

As to whether developing countries smoke more or less than the USA, surveys have consistently concluded that smoking in the USA has peaked is and now declining while in the developing world, smoking prevalence is on its way up. In both the developing and the developed world smoking is ordinarily five times higher among men than women. The gender disparity, however, declines with age as more young women (even those aged between 13 and 15) are now being attracted to join the club of smokers. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that while smoking in countries like the USA will remain constantly on a downward trend, the situation will be quite different in the developing world. The organization predicts that between 1.5 and 1.9 billion people will be smokers by 2025, about 80 percent will be living in the developing world.

Several factors explain the current and future smoking trends in both developed and the developing world. First and foremost, surveys conclude that a lot of emphasis is placed on controlling smoking in the developed world. In developing countries, the tune is totally different; a lot of emphasis is placed on collecting tobacco related taxes than the emphasis placed on controlling the habit. WHO reports that developing countries collect up to 500 times in tobacco taxes compared to what is used in combating smoking.

Secondly, it has been found that the United States, and countries in the developed world, effectively control aggressive marketing campaigns launched by firms in the tobacco industry. These campaigns range from offline and online advertising to promotional activities carried out with an aim of influencing more people to begin smoking. The opposite is quite true in the transitional and developing economies. WHO concludes that tobacco corporations, some of which have higher capital base than some of the individual developing country’s gross domestic product (GDP), have the power to influence all forms of legislation that affect the local tobacco industry. It is because of this reason that the corporations have been able to lucratively promote sale of cigarettes even to girls aged between 13 and 15 years.

Besides putting in place measures to control sale and promotion of tobacco products, countries like the USA have put in place programs aimed at enlightening the masses on the dangers of tobacco smoking. It has been found that these forms of educational programs are more effective than introduction of stringent smoking policies and imposition of sales taxes that the developing world employs.

To sum up, we note that smoking prevalence is higher in developing countries than it is in developed countries like the US. A major factor that explains this disparity is the effort and funding directed towards controlling smoking. Another factor could be the explosion in US e-cigarette usage. Check out this E-Cigarette Brands Directory to see just how big smokeless cigarettes have become in America!

July 30, 2013

4 Greatest Baseball Players from the Dominican Republic

Manny Ramirez is a Dominican-American professional designated hitter and a baseball outfielder. He was born in May 1972. He previously played baseball in Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Major League Baseball, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. during his career, he became to be known as a player of great power and battling skills. He is a nine time silver slugger and among the twenty five players to hit 500 careers home runs. He appeared in twelve All-Star games beginning from 1998.

Pedro Martinez was born in October 1971 in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic. He is a former league baseball pitcher. He was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. After practicing for few years In the Dodgers farm, he made his league debut on September 1992. In 1994 he was traded for Montreal Expos. It was here, where he developed to be one of the top pitchers in baseball. Later he transferred to Boston Red Sox and signed a 6 years contract. In 2004, Martinez signed a new 4 years contract with New York Mets. In 2009, he joined Philadelphia Phillies. He is a three time Cy Young Award winner, 2004 World Series champion and an eight time all star.

Miguel Odalis Tejada was born in May 1974 in Bani, Dominican Republic. Since debuting in Major League Baseball in 1997. Miguel has played for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros. Miguel began his streaks of more than 1100 consecutive games that ended with Baltimore Orioles in 2007. He is a two times silver slugger award winner and 6 times Major League Baseball All-Star. He won the AL MVP award in 2005, and he was the MVP of the 2005 All-Star Game. In 2004, he was the Home Run Derby winner and Major League Baseball RBI champion. His total hits were 2384, made 306 runs and had 1292 runs batted in.

Francisco Javier Cordero is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher born in may 1975. He is presently a free agent. He served as a closer for various teams and was one of the most active saves leaders. He is ranked second all time on a list of among active baseball players. In 2011, Cordero was able to record his 300th career save becoming the twenty second (22) player to reach that top. He made his first debut in August 1999 for the Detroit tigers. Other teams that Cordero played for include Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. He is a three times All Stars and has made a total of 329 saves.

July 26, 2013

Quick History of the Dominican Republic

Like the rhyme we heard as a kid, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Columbus sailed right to where the Dominican Republic now stands, on the island of Hispaniola. In 1496, Bartholomew Columbus came over and set up the first Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, which became the capital of all of the Spanish settlements in South America. By the early 1500′s, the Spanish started bringing over Africans to work as slaves. Before Columbus ever arrived on the island, the Tainos Indians lived there. But due to the diseases the Spanish colonists carried and the pigs that ate most of the crops that the Tainos grew, they were all but wiped out within 100 years.

The island remained under Spanish rule until 1697. The Treaty of Rysick gave the western end of the island, which is now Haiti, to France. The Haitians took over the entire island of Hispaniola in 1822 and would have held on to it, maybe even to this day, if Juan Pablo Duarte had not lead the Trinitaria, to seek Dominican Independence. His first attempt at independence in 1843 failed and Duarte fled the country. But in 1844 his followers were successful and the Dominican Republic had its independence. In 1861, The Dominican Republic voluntarily returned to the Spanish. However, four years later, its independence was again restored.
In 1916, the United States occupied the Dominican Republic because of ongoing internal turmoil and the threat of European involvement. But the occupation ended in 1924 when the Dominican Republic finally had a democratically elected government. But 1930 all of the changed. Rafael Trujillo, an army commander, established absolute control for his and his followers benefit. Major economic problems occurred and there was repression of civil rights because of the corruption. Trujillo went so far as to try to help in the assassination of the Venezuelan president, Romulo Bentancourt. The Organization of the Americas (OAS) put diplomatic sanctions on the Dominican Republic because of Trujillo’s actions that remained in placed until Trujillo’s death in May 1961. He had been assassinated. Trujillo’s family was then forced into exile.

The Reformist Party, led by President Balaguer had its ups and downs. In 1988 the Dominican Republic fell into an economic depression which lead to riots and protests that were sometimes violent. The whole country went on strike in 1989, putting the country at a complete standstill. In 1990, Balaguer was able to stop the depression by balancing the budget and getting a grip on inflation.

While there were still fears and accusations of governmental corruption, in 1996 Leonel Fernandez Reyna was elected as president for a four year term.

July 26, 2013

Short Biography of Danilo Medina

Danilo Medina Sánchez is the Dominican Republic president since August, 2012 and a member of the ruling party, the Dominican Liberation Party (DLP). The party has formed government since 2004.

Early life

Danilo was born on November 10, 1951, at Arroyo Cano in the San Juan Province, the Dominican Republic. His father, Jaun Pablo Medina, and mother Amelia Sanchez, have seven other children, with Danilo being the oldest. In 1984, Danilo graduated magna cum laude from the Instituto Tecnologico Santo Domingo (INTEC) where he studied economics. 3 years later, he married Cándida Montilla, a psychologist, and they have three daughters, Ana Paula, Sibeli and Vanessa.

Political life

Danilo joined the PLD in 1983 and consequently became a member of its Central Committee. In 1986, he was won election as deputy in the Congress and 4 years later was elected as a member of the Political Committee of PLD along with Juan Temistocles Montas and Leonel Fernandez .PLD later selected him as President of Chamber of Deputies in the republic, a post he held from 1994 to 1995.
During the 1994 political impasse that followed that year’s disputed presidential election, Danilo played a key role in the negotiations that help end the situation. He supported the signing of a pact between PLD and PRD, which saw the election of Leonel Fernandez as President in 1996. From that year, Danilo served as the Secretary of State until 1999, and again between 2004 and 2006.

Role in PLD

Danilo is considered one of PLD’s leading political strategists and negotiators. He has played major roles in the presidential campaigns of the party and was the chief strategist in the successful presidential campaign of Fernandez in 1996. Consequently, he served as a close aide of the president and in 2000 was the presidential candidate of PLD when Fernandez was barred from running for re-election by a constitutional ban.
Danilo, however, lost the first round of the election to Hipolito Mejia of the opposition Dominican Revolutionary Party but pulled out of the second round .As a result, Mejia was declared the winner of the presidential elections.

Bid for presidency

In 2008, Danilo unsuccessfully contested for nomination as the presidential candidate of PLD but lost to his main challenger, Fernandez, who would go on to win that year’s elections. 4 years later, he tried another shot for the nomination and this time round he was successful. He was then elected as President of Dominican Republic in the 2012 Presidential Elections, garnering 51.24% of the votes with his main challenger, Hipolito Mejia coming in a distant second.

July 26, 2013

What is Merengue Music?

history-merengue-dance-800X800Merengue music is a type of music derived from the Dominican Republic. The Merengue was first mentioned in 1854 and was publicized by Rafael Trujillo, the 38th and 39th president of the Dominican Republic. Rafael Trujillo is know for his dictatorship from 1930 to 1961 and his reign is considered one of the bloodiest in history. During his rule, Rafael Trujillo turned Merengue music into the Dominican Republic’s national music and dance. Singing and band groups such as Fernando Villalona, Eddy Herrera, Johnny Ventura, and Gisselle also contributed to the the Merengue’s success in becoming a great hit. Some types of common instruments you might hear in Merengue music is the accordion, bass guitar, guitar, saxophone, drums, trumpet and the güira. A güira is a small maraca sounding instrument that originated in the Dominican Republic.

Merengue music is not only famous in the Dominican Republic but also in the United States. One United States’ state that it’s popular in, is New York. The New York version of Merengue music is slightly different from the Merengue music in the Dominican Republic but it still has that nice traditional charm that everyone fell in love with from the beginning. This type of Merengue music and other types is now famous around the world and has been around for a very long time. Merengue music comes in different types but the kind that is mostly known is called Merengue Cibaeno.

Even though it is not a hundred percent sure where Merengue came from, just that is was derived from the Dominican Republic. There is some beliefs of how Merengue music and dance all came to be. It is believed that this type of music got it’s name from the French Merengue, which is a delicious dessert that is made out of whipped egg whites and also sugar. The stylish dance and music trend is believed to be originated from the Haitian merengue and West Indian music. (On the off chance you enjoy e cigarette brands, there are some brands that offer merengue flavored e-liquid!) The Haitian merengue is very different from the Dominican Republic’s merengue, but it was around before the Dominican Republic’s merengue.

Merengue music has inspired different types of music, and still does. The springy full of life tones and rhythms are used for dances and can be often heard at parties. Though it is not known where the merengue first came from, it is greatly accepted in the Dominican Republic culture. Merengue music is heard all around the world and remains a great classic to countries such as the United States and the Dominican Republic.

July 26, 2013

Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic


Just a quick question: Have you been dreaming of visiting Dominican Republic? Probably, you would answer a resounding yes. Dominican Republic is indeed one of the most popular and finest tourist destinations among Caribbean countries.

Apart from the sunny weather, the place is considered one of the mostly visited tourist destinations in the region as it boasts of pristine beaches and, of course, rich cultural history.

So to give you an overview on what to expect when you visit this beautiful country, the following is a rundown of top places to visit in Dominican Republic:

Casa de Campo Resort

If you and your loved ones enjoy beach activities the most like swimming and snorkeling, Casa de Campo Resort is the place to go. You will surely be astounded by the beauty of its white sand beaches. What is also great in paying a visit to these place is the wide array of local cuisines, perfect for food enthusiasts.


This place is renowned as it houses the best waterfalls in the country. The list includes El Limon Waterfalls, Ojo de Agua Waterfalls, and Salto de Jimenoa Waterfalls. Here, you can enjoy activities like diving as well as swimming at the best.

Eastern Santo Domingo

Do you know where is the burial site of one of the historical icons, Christopher Columbus? You can find the answer when you get to visit the Eastern Santo Domingo. This is also a perfect place for art and history lovers, as it houses different museums.


Altos de Chavon

If you want to feel and experience the country’s rich art and history, the Altos de Chavon is the place to be in. This is also where the popular City of Artists can be spotted. In this place, you will also learn a lot of trivia. You can find the amphitheater built on 1976 which was opened by Frank Sinatra.

Punta Cana

Located in the east of the Dominican Republic, this place is considered one of the top tourist attractions in the world. Punta Cana is one of the most sought-after places to be in when you decide to have a vacation in this country. This resort boasts of glorious stretches of sand. What is a good news if you are on a limited budget is that, visiting the place can be a lot cheaper than what you expect.

Dominican Republic is indeed a place to visit both day in and day out. With all the above-mentioned facts, no wonder this country will surely be a candidate in your next vacation.

July 26, 2013

HIV and AIDS in the Dominican Republic

sidacropz0x209y4001The epidemic of HIV and AIDS has hit the Dominican Republic, just as it has hit most other areas of the world. Thankfully, with new laws and a widespread awareness of this disease, the number of people who have or have died from HIV/AIDS has significantly dropped.

On June 7th 2011, the president of the Dominican Republic enacted what is known as the HIV/AIDS law, which guarantees the protection of the civil rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. The law also had, what some people might consider the extreme view, that anybody who knows that they have HIV/AIDS and does not tell a sexual partner could get from 2 to 5 years in prison. The penalty is harsher for people who knowingly transmit HIV/AIDS to people through negligence. People who are charged with such a crime could get as much as 20 years in prison. Even though, some disagreed with some of the terms of the HIV/AIDS law, it at least acknowledged that HIV/AIDS had become a serious concern in the Dominican Republic.

No matter how much concern there was, there was still a problem with getting people with this life-threatening disease the treatment they needed. From 2009 to 2011, the Dominican Republic received 48.3 million dollars from the United States to help in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. In 2011 alone, 4300 people infected with HIV/AIDS were able to receive treatment and over 55,000 people were able to get tested for the disease. While this has been beneficial for the Dominican Republic, there is still a population there that has been in all but neglected in HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment: the Haitians.

In the Bateys, the small villages that Haitian sugarcane workers and there families live in, the rate of HIV/AIDS is anywhere from 5 to 13 percent. The general population of the Dominican Republic have a rate about 1 percent. Women and men with little to no education that live in the Bateys have the highest rate of HIV/AIDS. The men and women in the Bateys, while most have heard of HIV/AIDS, have no knowledge of how it is transmitted. What is even worse is that they have little or no access to condoms or birth control. While there are non-profit organizations that have been established to give the people living in the Bateys free medical and social help, there is still little government aid. An estimated half a million to a million people live in poverty the Bateys.

There is still a lot of work to do in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, not just in the Dominican Republic, but all over the world.