1994, the last great political-electoral crisis

Santo Domingo, DR.

This Wednesday, August 10, marked the 28th anniversary of the solution to the great post-election political crisis as a result of the results denounced as fraudulent by the main opposition party at the time: the Dominican Revolutionary Party, which with its candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez and in his rhetorically they made clear that they were willing to do anything to make the popular will respected.

Just as the two-party system (PRSC-PRD) was coming to an end, the three main Dominican political figures, Joaquín Balaguer, José Francisco Peña Gómez and Juan Bosch were knocking on the doors of their political decline to make way for a new generation of collective leadership, essentially embodied in the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), which in turn broke with bipartisanship.

Until that moment, although the party system had been consolidated and functioned more or less adequately, history also shows that the three big ones, referred to in the previous paragraph, were the ones who supported the weak Dominican institutionality, as we will see when we scrutinize that second crisis that occurred in 1994.

Remember that the event, which marked the 28th anniversary this week, was preceded by a similar political-electoral crisis after the 1990 elections in which the PLD candidate, Bosch, also denounced that Balaguer committed “a colossal fraud.”

The wear and tear on the power of the Reformist Party and its own leader, Joaquín Balaguer, opened the locks so that all the water of freedom and change contained by the ruling conservative force, would make it possible for it to flow out of the streets in the Dominican neighborhoods. .

Balaguer, a master in the art of power, sitting publicly in the Dominican Republic library with Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez to seek a way out of the political crisis, was like any experienced player, with an ace up his sleeve. With the intervention of Ambassador John Graham, of the Observer Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the quintessential mediator Agripino Núñez Collado, the two giants of politics came face to face, despite the boiling discord .

The reporters who covered the incidences of political activity in the Dominican Republic, were absorbed when on August 9 at 7 p.m., Peña Gómez attended a meeting called by Dr. Balaguer in the aforementioned library on Doctor Delgado Avenue, near to the National Palace.

As an unusual detail, Balaguer arrived first. Dr. Peña Gómez would join later and made him wait.

The reporters who went to take notes on the results of that meeting did not have much space to move: we were confined in a narrow space, our ears outside the voices of the two main protagonists. According to the emergency witnesses, and Peña Gómez himself later, when tempers flared, Balaguer – in his slow tone, the result of his characteristic emotional control – made his proposal: “Why don’t we share the cake?” which Peña Gómez replied: “What does that mean?”
– “I two years and you two years”. What would happen later with that proposal is well known.

Few were going to realize, including Peña Gómez himself, the change of direction forced by the old fox of politics, who saw in that move -and perhaps in the body language of the greatest leader of the masses- that locked him up in the that was involved had signs for its exit, and it would be provided by the container itself.

Naturally, Dr. Balaguer, who knew the PRD as much as José Francisco himself, was clear that his proposal was going to generate a sea of ​​discord within that party, which over time had shown signs that the unity of criteria to undertake great strategies has been its great shortcoming, it does not matter if it is in power or in the opposition.

The old fox of politics knew that any way out that came from his prodigal mind would bring internal difficulties, a loophole that he needed to sneak in for two years. But an external factor was that he was finally going to favor him to stay that time and gain the time he needed in order to redraw another intelligent strategy.

The Pact for Democracy
Despite multiple accusations of fraud made not only by those affected, but also by the international community and the two prestigious American newspapers The New York Times and the Washington Post, which published information and editorials reinforcing the plagiarism narrative of the elections, the organization election gave Balaguer the winner.

The North American approach, as is the case these days with the issue of migration of Haitians to the Dominican Republic, has always seen the island, and continues to see it, as a whole when it comes to analyzing the problems of the two countries.

That failure of focus of Washington politicians makes them commit blunders that our peoples pay with backwardness, blood and the corruption of an insatiable political class and an oligarchy that fishes in a troubled river.

The coup d’etat promoted against Jean Bertrand Aristide by General Raoul Cedras in 1991 was another headache for the United States government, which promoted economic sanctions through the organizations of the United Nations (UN) and American States ( OAS) that decreed an embargo, for which the American power needed the Dominican-Haitian border sealed. And Balaguer knew it.

A group of journalists who, on their own initiative, made the journey from the southern border to the north to end in Montecristi, were able to verify on that occasion how the flow of fuel through that strip was carried out at night, evading the embargo established by the multilateral entities in order to pressure General Cedras out and create, as they were later created, the conditions for Aristide’s return.

Bill Clinton’s government needed stability on the island and this was discussed in the White House.
As a result of the signing of the Pact for Democracy, Joaquín Balaguer survived two more years in government, two years were cut, but in exchange he managed to approve second-round elections if he did not obtain 50 percent plus one of the votes, with which paved the way for Dr. Peña Gómez and facilitated the rise to power of a third force: the PLD.

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