Hi everyone! This is Isabelle and Eli, we were Los Líderes del Día (Leaders of the Day). Today’s theme was politics.
In the morning we had an academic seminar. We started by asking who liked and who hated politics; a majority were neutral. Most people who disliked politics said they didn’t like it because it is too complicated and they did not feel well informed. We then compared political corruption in the Dominican Republic to corruption in United States politics. We decided that most of the corruption in US politics emerges in bigger positions of power that are influenced by large corporations (such as Congress). One question that was asked to the group was, “Is being concerned about corruption a luxury?”. We said no, everyone is concerned with corruption but some people don’t have the time or resources to act on their concerns so they accept corruption as a normality.
After the seminar, Gabriel Mascaró (a local public defender) came to talk to us about the political climate of the Dominican Republic and how politics is part of culture. Early on in the lecture Gabriel defined politics as “A branch of ethics in which a free society decides and solves its problems”. A new word we learned was politiquería which means politics that do not serve others but serve politicians own interests. Gabriel explained that politiqueros are able to gain power because young leaders tend to stay away from politics. He expressed that it is essential for young people to get involved in politics to fight this corruption. Then we got a crash course on Dominican political parties. In the Dominican Republic there are 33 parties. The three main parties are PLD (Dominican Liberation Party), PRD (Dominican Revolutionary Party), and PRM (Modern Revolutionary Party). Gabriel told us that PRD and PLD started with very strong and different ideologies, but when the parties gained power they abandoned their ideals and became politiqueros. When asked how politics play into culture, Gabriel told us that in a family each member is part of the same political party and supports the same candidates.
Today we had two guest speakers, the second being Armando de la Cruz. As a teenager, Armando won first place in his local and national Model United Nations conference, and won second place at the international Model United Nations conference in New York. Since he was a Model United Nation s (MUN) expert, he explained how to do it. To succeed MUN delegates must wear formal clothes, have appropriate attitudes and body language, learn cultures, and have sufficient research. We were then split into Haiti, Dominican Republic, and the United States, debating the crisis of stateless people of Haitian-descent born in the Dominican Republic. We then went into intense debates where we discussed potential solutions. Our policies disagreed on a lot of things which made us realize why politics can be so inefficient, because it can be so difficult to agree.
At the end of the day, many of us felt more informed on how politics work and saw the importance of youth involvement in politics.