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Demystifying David Ortiz and the Dominican Republic’s Image Problem

Demystifying David Ortiz and the Dominican Republic's Image Problem

The David Ortiz incident is the latest in a series of incidents tarnishing the image of the Dominican Republic. But are we overlooking all the good the island has to offer?

When news broke on Sunday that former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz had been shot in the Dominican Republic (DR), the entire baseball world held their breath in fear of losing one of the sports most beloved figures. For the DR, the incident could not have come at a worse time.

In the past year, SIX U.S. tourists deaths have been reported in neighboring resorts, leaving people questioning their safety in DR. However, what people don’t understand is that TWO of the deaths have been at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, while FOUR took place at Bahia Principe hotels.

What’s more, according to a story in the New York Post, “nearly 70 tourists have [also] reported getting violently ill while vacationing in the Dominican Republic”. More than half of these reports, per Rolling Stone, “came from tourists who stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana.”

As a result, Americans, in particular, are choosing to stay away from the island in fear of becoming the next mysterious death, completely ignoring the fact there are thousands of resorts on the island with squeaky clean records.

These reports have led to a firestorm of negative press toward the Dominican Republic, which could ultimately hurt the country’s economy. Tourism, according to a recent story by Rachelle Keiger of the Washington Post, accounts “directly and indirectly” for approximately 22% of DR’s economy.

Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, David Ortiz, one of the Dominican Republic’s most revered figures is involved in an assassination attempt while at a nightclub in the country’s Capital, Santo Domingo. With this news, video surfaces of the alleged shooter being beaten nearly to death on the streets of Santo Domingo. Additionally, reports indicate that the assassination of Ortiz was ordered by a drug lord who suspected Ortiz was having an affair with his girlfriend.

These incidents, while disturbing, completely ignore the fact that crime has been dropping in DR over the last few years. Homicides, in particular, are down approximately 17% since just 2016 according to the Overseas Security Advisory Council.

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All of this lends credence to the negative stereotypes Dominicans have been subject to for far too long. That the men are alcoholics and violent and the women are cueros and golddiggers. There are, in fact, men and women that fit this description on the island, but it is by no means a unique feature of Dominicans. By pigeonholing Dominicans in this manner, we completely ignore the fact that most Dominicanos are hardworking, humble people trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

People like my parents who left the Dominican Republic in the 1970s to provide my sisters and me with a better life. Despite leaving, my parents always made sure to return to DR with us in order to instill in us a love for the island that stays with us to this day. There, I have witnessed instances of love, hard work, and compassion and they far outweigh the instances of malice.


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We discuss this and more on the latest episode of the Welcome to THE SHOW podcast!

Episode #97 Contents:

(Intro) CT’s recap of the Angel Stadium of Anaheim

(05:45) Everything we know – so far, about the David Ortiz incident.

(21:55) Madison Bumgarner vs Max Muncy. Let the kids play?

(33:20) The Yankees missed out on Dallas Keuchel over $1.4M?

(53:34) NBA Finals recap and what Kevin Durant’s injury means for his future.

(1:08:24) Recommended shows to binge watch!

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