From En Marcha, #1214
February 5-14, 2004

On the Roads of the IMF and the General Strike

Practically all commercial and production activities, heavy transport and passenger transportation were paralyzed on Wednesday, January 28, due to the general strike called by the Coordinator of Unity and Struggle in the Dominican Republic, as a form of impugning the agreements with the IMF, the bilateral free trade treaty with the United States in the framework of Central America and the conjunction of neo-liberal policies that have destroyed the Dominican popular economy.

Those Responsible for the Crisis

The multilateral organizations and various agencies and institutions linked with the neo-liberal policies, for several years handled the speech by which, Dominican Republic has a very low level of foreign debt ($3,675 million in 2000), a macro-economic stability indicated by the highest level of growth of GNP on the continent, a reason by which one advised not only the foreign debt, the tariff mount, leading to the free trade agreements, but also the privatization of the great patrimony of state enterprises and social security that remained in the hands of the banks, three of which, with their phony bankruptcy in a few months, impacted negatively on the whole national economy.

Bad management by the present Government of the banking bankruptcy provoked the State to assume, as of March 2003, the protection of the savings of a greater quantity in dollars of the national budget, all of which joined with numerous errors as the massive foreign debt (the foreign debt tripled in only 3 years) representing the payment of interest and principal (according to the IMF) of 6% of the GNP and 46% of the total state budget.

The Dominican Government and the bourgeois opposition agree on one fundamental thing: to respond to the IMF to "discipline" the economy, forgetting that in the Dominican case, the so-called lost decade and the massive impoverishment was signada by the agreements developed since 1982 and which generated, in April of 1984, a popular uprising against the IMF, in which more than a hundred Dominicans lost the lives.

The Popular Resistance to Neo-Liberalism

The present agreements were preceded by drastic adjustments by means of which the application by the ITEBIS (IVA) has deepened the devaluation of the currency, passing from 16 to the dollar in 2000 to 55 in January of 2004 together with measure that have led to inflation of more than 40% in 2003. Faced with this state of public calamity which the popular sectors suffered, there has developed a second wave of general protests in this last quarter, to which the government has responded with brutal repression.

Taken from ALAI

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