Gay U.S. ambassador to Dominican Republic to resign on Jan. 20

November 24, 2016 at 5:58 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers


Wally Brewster, Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster on Wednesday announced he will resign once President-elect Trump takes office.“At midday on Jan 20, 2017, I will submit my resignation as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic and Bob and I will leave in search of new adventures,” said Brewster in a statement the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic posted to its Twitter page. “Our spirits will remain with you forever.”

Listín Diario, a Dominican newspaper, reported Brewster made the announcement during a speech he gave at a pre-Thanksgiving event that the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic hosted.

Brewster, who is a former member of the Human Rights Campaign board of director, has faced a series of attacks since President Obama nominated him to represent the U.S. in the Dominican Republic in 2013.

Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, the former cardinal of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, has repeatedly used anti-gay slurs to describe Brewster.

A group of Dominican intellectuals and religious leaders earlier this year urged President Danilo Medina and his country’s government to declare Brewster “persona non grata” because of a U.S.-backed education initiative they said sought to “turn our adolescents gay.” A member of the Dominican House of Deputies in March described those who defend Brewster as “faggot.”

Dominican religious leaders on Wednesday welcomed Brewster’s announcement.

“What we’re seeing is traditional tactics that people use to push people back in the closet, to push allies back from wanting to come out and support the rights of those who are marginalized,” Brewster told the Blade in March during an exclusive interview at the State Department. “For me, for Bob, we know we have the support of the president.”

Dominican advocates with whom the Blade has spoken have said Brewster and Satawake have made their country’s LGBT rights movement more visible.

Dominican LGBT rights advocates regularly meet with Brewster and Satawake.

Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

Brewster and Satawake this year took part in a Santo Domingo Pride parade. Brewster last month urged Dominican authorities to investigate the arrest of young people who were gathered in a Santo Domingo park that is popular with LGBT Dominicans.Brewster and Satawake attended a candlelight vigil in the same park after the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

They attended a press event in Santo Domingo’s Old City in June 2015 that highlighted an LGBT tourism campaign the Center for Integrated Training Research, a Dominican advocacy group known by the Spanish acronym COIN, and ProActividad, an economic empowerment program, launched. Victor Terrero, executive director of the Dominican Republic’s National Council on HIV and AIDS, was among those who spoke alongside Brewster.

“One of the key things that I want to continue to focus on as Bob and I have is to show that we’re a loving couple and we are gay,” Brewster told the Blade during a June 2015 interview at their official residence in Santo Domingo as Satawake listened. “We are out there talking about relationships, talking about our faith and really representing the American people in a way that I think continues to promote our values.”

Brewster is among the openly gay ambassadors that Obama appointed during his administration.

It is commonplace for sitting ambassadors to resign once a new president takes office.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told the Blade last week during an interview in Tel Aviv that he will “provide any advice or reports or assistance that I can” to Trump’s transition team. He also said he hopes the incoming administration will continue to promote LGBT rights abroad.

“That’s kind of a fundamental value that I believe in and that I believe our country has a lot to be proud of,” said Shapiro.

Trump on Wednesday announced he has nominated South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power has repeatedly spoken out in support of LGBT rights since she assumed the post in 2013.




Adriano Espaillat Elected First Dominican-American to US Congress

NOV 8 2016, 10:18 PM ET

Adriano Espaillat Elected First Dominican-American to US Congress


Adriano Espaillat made history Tuesday night and was elected the first Dominican American, and first formally undocumented immigrant, to the U.S. Congress.

RELATED: Latinos Could Achieve Many ‘Firsts,’ Gains in 2016

In the overwhelmingly Democratic New York City congressional district, Espaillat won 89 percent of the vote, beating Republican challenger Tony Evans, who snagged 7 percent of the vote in New York’s 13th district. Espaillat and Evans received 147,591 and 11,111 votes, respectively.

Results for New York U.S. Representative from New York's 13th District.

Results for New York U.S. Representative from New York’s 13th District.

Espaillat’s victory comes after losing two consecutive challenges to unseat longtime incumbent, Democratic congressman Charles Rangel in 2012 and 2014. Changing demographics in district could have fueled his victory Tuesday night.

The African American population in the Bronx and Harlem have declined since Rangel took office, especially after the district was reconfigured in 2012, according to Falcón. Currently the district is about 31 percent black, 24.6 percent white and 4.7 percent Asian. About 54 percent identify as Latino, and that population is made up of primarily Dominican-Americans.

RELATED: Adriano Espaillat On Track to Becoming First Dominican Congressman

“Adriano has served in the New York State Legislature for 20 years, championing the rights of tenants, students, and working families all across the spectrum,” said the Latino Victory Fund, congratulating Espaillat for his victory.

“We are proud to congratulate Adriano on becoming the first Dominican-American to serve in The U.S. House of Representatives, and we look forward to having him bring his skill and dedication to public service to Washington.”


EU, Celac agree to strengthen dialogue, seek solutions to common challenges

The foreign ministers and delegation chiefs of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, on Wednesday agreed to strengthen their dialogue and work to seek solutions to common issues such as climate change at a two-day meeting at which the Colombian peace process and the situation in Venezuela were also discussed.

Although the issue of Colombia was not part of the meeting’s official program, it was discussed at bilateral talks held parallel to the conclave, just as was the Venezuela crisis.

At a press conference after the signing of the Santo Domingo Declaration, the top representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security, Federica Mogherini, reiterated the bloc’s support for the Colombian peace process and said that President Juan Manuel Santos had been invited to travel to Brussels on Dec. 12 for the launching of a fiduciary fund to support the peace process.

Mogherini confirmed that on Tuesday she met in the Dominican capital with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin.

In her speech, Mogherini urged a “sincere” and “constructive” dialogue in Venezuela.

Both the EU official and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas met separately in Santo Domingo with the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, facilitators – former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and former Dominican President Leonel Fernandez – to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

At the end of the international meeting, the officials approved the Santo Domingo Declaration, in which they agreed to intensify financial relations to better deal with development and climate change.

Mogherini on Wednesday also met with the foreign ministers of the Pacific Alliance – comprised of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru – to strengthen ties between the two blocs.

The next EU-Celac summit will be held in 2017 in El Salvador, which takes over the Celac presidency pro tempore from the Dominican Republic in January. EFE



Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in the Dominican Republic

The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release

Sunday, October 9—Monday, October 10, 2016

Dr. Jill Biden has arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Joined by Catherine M. Russell, United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Dr. Biden will engage government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for women and girls.

Tonight, Dr. Biden will attend a reception at the U.S. Chief of Mission’s Residence. This event is closed press.

Tomorrow morning, Dr. Biden will meet with President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace. This event will be pooled press.

In the afternoon, Dr. Biden will visit the Fundacion Pediatrica por un Mañana, a USAID supported program that helps young mothers pursue their education. This visit will be open press.

Afterwards, Dr. Biden will tour classroom facilities and deliver remarks to students, faculty members, and staff at San Luis Community College. This event will be open press.

In the evening, Dr. Biden will depart the Dominican Republic en route to Washington, DC.


Destacan avance de República Dominicana en materia penitenciaria



Los expertos Andrew Coyle y Vivien Stern coincidieron en señalar que República Dominicana tiene uno de los menores índices de reincidencia delictual, gracias a la aplicación del nuevo modelo carcelario que trata a los internos como seres humanos, los cuales tienen derecho a una segunda oportunidad

Servicios de – 7 de octubre de 2016 – 9:00 pm – 7

Foto: Los expertos Andrew Coyle y Vivien Stern coincidieron en señalar que República Dominicana tiene uno de los menores índices de reincidencia delictual, gracias a la aplicación del nuevo modelo carcelario que trata a los internos como seres humanos, los cuales tienen derecho a una segunda oportunidad.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador.- Expertos en materia penitenciaria reconocieron el avance de la República Dominicana en el tema penitenciario, resaltando que es el país con el mayor progreso en la región en cuanto a la aplicación de un nuevo sistema carcelario moderno e integral.

Los expertos Andrew Coyle y Vivien Stern coincidieron en señalar que República Dominicana tiene uno de los menores índices de reincidencia delictual, gracias a la aplicación del nuevo modelo carcelario que trata a los internos como seres humanos, los cuales tienen derecho a una segunda oportunidad.

El seminario sobre el papel de los centros penitenciarios en el siglo XXI, tuvo como sede la ciudad de San Salvador, capital de El Salvador, contó con la participación de los expertos británicos, y de República Dominicana, Roberto Santana e Ysmael Paniagua, así como delegados de diversos países, como Inglaterra, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala y la Embajada británica y dominicana.

Roberto Santana, excoordinador del Nuevo Modelo Penitenciario, valoró como positivo el aporte que ha hecho ese sistema carcelario a favor de las personas privadas de libertad, porque, según dijo, el nivel de reincidencia en los liberados “es mínima”.

Explicó que, contrario a los reclusos que guardan prisión en las cárceles tradicionales, los privados de libertad del Nuevo Modelo Penitenciario reciben enseñanzas educativas desde las 6:00 de la mañana hasta las 6:00 de la tarde, lo cual contribuye a su regeneración mientras cumplan las penas.

Resaltó que, el modelo penitenciario de República Dominicana certificado tres veces por las Naciones Unidas tiene menos del 5 %, específicamente el 3 %, medido por las Naciones Unidas y por eso fue declarado el Modelo Penitenciario de la región, mientras, en el mundo tenemos niveles de reincidencias que oscilan entre el 80 % y el 25 %.

En cambio el coordinador de la institución, Ysmael Paniagua Guerrero, destacó que, “El Nuevo Modelo Penitenciario Dominicano no es un proyecto solo del Gobierno Dominicano y de la Procuraduría General de la República, sino del pueblo dominicano”, Paniagua Guerrero manifestó que los principales requisitos para poder ser miembro del Nuevo Modelo Penitenciario son los valores y los principios éticos. Dijo que sin valores y principios ningún esfuerzo sirve de nada.

De su lado el embajador dominicano, José Manuel Castillo Betances, dirigente del Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, saludó la iniciativa del seminario que procura fortalecer las políticas públicas en el marco regional, en un área altamente sensible para la paz y la tranquilidad ciudadana.

Resaltó los esfuerzos que desde casi dos décadas, específicamente desde el 2003 viene realizando República Dominicana a los fines de contar con un sistema penitenciario digno y eficiente en procura de la reinserción a la sociedad de los privados de libertad.

El diplomático también reconoció los encomiables esfuerzos de El Salvador, en procura de mejorar su sistema penitenciario, y explicó que República Dominicana, continuará acompañándole hasta alcanzar un sistema penitenciario noble que contribuya a reformar a los internos en entes de bien y productivos.


All Work, All Play: Dominican Republic’s Making a Name for Itself in Business Travel

World-class facilities located in a tropical paradise, the go-to destination for meetings and events

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Sept. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — With a long-standing reputation as a desirable vacation destination,Dominican Republic is earning its name as the go-to spot for business travel. Whether you’re planning an intimate incentive trip or a 1,000-attendee international getaway, look no further than Dominican Republic. With its stunning and varied natural landscapes, world-class accommodations and modern infrastructure, there are unparalleled settings for business travel from beach towns to cosmopolitan cities.

“We’re recognized for our pristine beaches, warm people and laid-back atmosphere, but Dominican Republic is all business when it comes to quality service and extraordinary accommodations,” said Magaly Toribio, Marketing Advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. “Our experience hosting large-scale business events and countless group activities make us an exceptional destination for business travel.”

As the second largest Caribbean nation, Dominican Republic constantly ranks among the region’s top meeting destinations. It’s no wonder, with nine different ecosystems in one country, there’s an atmosphere suited for all business environments. Plus, connectivity is king, with daily flights from the U.S. to international airports across the country. Offering an ideal year-round climate, multilingual hotel staff and a variety of meeting venues, the options for business travel are endless.

Punta Cana’s All-Inclusive Amenities
Large groups are easy to coordinate at Punta Cana’s many all-inclusive resorts that are equipped to host groups up to 7,000. Complete with state-of-the-art meeting spaces and technology, you can stay connected while enjoying close proximity to the beautiful turquoise shores of the beach. All-inclusive resorts also help keep travel budgets in check, with a pricing concept that makes it easy to plan and stay on budget.

A wide selection of these resorts are located on the shores of Punta Cana, Bávaro and Macao which consistently rank among the world’s best beaches. This region boasts more than 35,000 hotel rooms just steps away from white sand. At these all-in-one resorts, you can also partake in group activities like snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, glass-bottom boating and deep-sea charter fishing. Or groups can relax at the spa, offered at many resorts, with a luxurious massage to unwind before the next meeting.

Hoping to sneak in a round of golf when the meetings end? All of the golf courses in Punta Cana are connected to all-inclusive resorts for easy access to full-service meetings spaces. Don’t worry about breaking too much of a sweat, Punta Cana’s warm temperature, sunny skies and ocean breeze provide ideal golf weather all year long.

City Charm in Santo Domingo
Groups can also find stunning options in the capital city of Santo Domingo—the first city of the new world—offering a unique blend of rich history and modern culture. Attractions including high-end shopping and international cuisine are paired with old-world charm, culture and history. Large groups should take note of the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opening in late 2017, that encompasses 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

For after-work exploration, Santo Domingo is a short drive from beautiful beach towns. Located less than an hour away, Juan Dolio is a small seaside community perfect for quiet and relaxation, while remaining close to the modern amenities in Santo Domingo. This day-trip has become so popular, that Juan Dolio was recognized as Dominican Republic’s “Up and Coming Destination” for its ideal location and variety of accommodations. Other nearby beach getaways offer incredible diving experiences, where travelers can explore caves and shipwrecks in the area, and delicious seaside dining.

Puerto Plata’s Playground
Puerto Plata is perfect for medium-sized conferences with majority of the venues accommodating up to 500 people. A popular business space in the area is Playa Dorada, a complex of 10 resorts complete with a shopping center, restaurants, night life and plenty of meeting space found throughout the area’s all-inclusive resorts. In total, Puerto Plata offers capacity for more than 2,500-person events, catering to businesses small and large.

Visitors are often surprised by the lush mountainous landscape throughout Dominican Republic’s north coast. Puerto Plataoffers a serene tropical setting, paired with the backdrop of mountains, perfect for adventurous group outings after a meeting or conference. But before groups escape to go ATVing or exploring the 27 Waterfalls of Damajauga, it’s time for business.

Art History Lessons in La Romana
Located in the Southeast region of the country, and accessible from both Santo Domingo and Punta Cana international airports, La Romana offers both ease of access and historical experiences for visitors. La Romana is famous for its world-class golf courses at Casa de Campo Resort. The resort also has two conference centers with 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Overall, the La Romana and Bayahibe region has meeting space capacity for more than 2,500 people.

After work, visit the artists’ village of Altos de Chavón, a Mediterranean style village, to stop by the local shops and get creative juices flowing at the art gallery, helping to spark your next business idea. You can also learn about Dominican Republic history at the Altos de Chavón Archeology Museum that combines art and culture for an authentic Dominican experience.

With its lush nature, rich history, modern accommodations and friendly people, Dominican Republic has it all. For more information on group-friendly attractions and destinations in the country, visit

About Dominican Republic
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, our lush tropical and paradisiacal country boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,575 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, renew in our luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.

Known for our warm and hospitable people, Dominican Republic is a destination like no other, featuring astounding nature, intriguing history and rich cultural experiences like music, art and festivals, plus uniquely Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, merengue, amber and larimar.

Dominican Republic features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike.  Visit Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official website at:

Download the Go Dominican Republic App, available in the App Store and Google Play
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GoDomRep  Like us on Facebook GoDominicanRepublic

BVK Public Relations for DR Ministry of Tourism
Annie Holschuh, US PR Director
(414) 247-2140 /

Logo –

SOURCE Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

Related Links



Coconut harvest in the Dominican Republic


Published on Sep 23, 2016

The Dominican Republic is home to many tropical fruits. Among them are mango, papaya, lime, banana, passion fruit and avocado (which some actually consider a vegetable). But the Caribbean island’s most widely-known exotic fruit is the coconut. Coconuts are also one of the Dominican Republic’s main exports.Popular vacation destination Punta Cana is sometimes referred to as the “Coconut Coast.”The tropical fruit has a high nutritional value and can be used in multiple ways.Check out these unique images of a coconut harvest in this cool Caribbean country.