Letter to the Political Constitution of the Dominican Republic of November 6th, 1844

Back to All Thought Leadership

Pellerano Nadal

In memory of Doctor Juan Manuel Pellerano Gómez

On the 177th anniversary of the Dominican Constitution, our Senior Associate, B. Génesis Rodríguez, invites us to reflect on the path that we have travelled and the challenges ahead as a nation.

Dear Constitution of 1844:

Today is your 177th birthday, which seems to me as an excellent opportunity to reflect on how these years have been, which some call “Living in Constitution”.

To practically 38 Reforms since your proclamation on that November 6th in 1844, and possibly an upcoming 39th, I can give you a summary. You have certainly evolved a lot, to the point that today your successor Constitution of 2010, “slightly” modified in 2015, is considered a reference for many and one of the most avant- garde and modern Constitutions in the world, which, although by nature itself of this type of texts is aspirational; unfortunately it is not a mirror of the reality we live in.

I think, however, that many situations are quite far from your main purpose that we should be a “Social and Democratic State of Law”, the love for our country must be that engine that drives us when we even think about modifying you, and not the unbridled ambition of those who enjoy or have enjoyed the perks of power or of those who have made the State coffers their personal -or family- financial backup.

The formula “Social and Democratic State of Law” indicates that the State is not only based on respect for fundamental rights and the separation and independence of powers (State of Law) or on popular sovereignty (Democratic State), but also it is a State that seeks respect for human dignity, which can only be achieved when the obstacles to full equality are removed for all Dominicans, which implies the guarantee of social rights and the social reference of all rights fundamentals (Social State) (Cf. SÁNCHEZ GOYANES, Enrique. Commented Spanish Constitution. Illustrated Edition No. 23: Thomson-Paraninfo, 2005. ISBN 8428329036, Page 36.)

I fully agree with this criteria. However, at 177 years old, I am very sorry to tell you that we live in a country where:

  • Inequalities are at the order of the day and where the common good does not have any weight (or in any case, very little) when it comes to controlling a pandemic that has taken about 4,000 people (these numbers are taken from a great tool called Google, which did not exist at the time of your birth, but I am not absolutely sure of the the accuracy of these statistics);

  • My taxes do not fully fulfill their essential function (financing essential infrastructure and services for their citizens);

  • Some legislators (too many, to my judgement) have a very macondiana way of legislate;

  • Where bribers are convicted, but it is not known (or pretends not to know) who was bribed;

  • Where to buy the basic essential goods is every day something more restrictive or, for many, impossible;

  • Where life and human dignity is openly disrespected by individuals and authorities;

  • Where the Environment is “the common home” of all, but also a form of extortion and blackmail for many.

Anyway, I can continue the long list, but I don’t forget that this is the occasion to celebrate your day. I don’t want to be pessimistic either and ignore all the positive things that we have and for which 177 years ago those independence leaders fought and for which through the years and your many reforms have fought and given their lives a series of respected and admired men and women, and today many others do it equally, both from the public sector and from the private sector.

Today, November 6th, 2021, I can tell you that it is my deepest wish that individual and collective rights and freedoms be respected; that our speeches are not motivated by hate; where the legal and the fair go hand in hand; where progressivism is not confused with debauchery and loss of values. But above all, as I always like to remember, I would like to be able to write to you again in the future and to be able to tell you that the actions of all Dominicans, especially those who lead us, are based on the letter of the constitutional text and the values that conceived you; that more than a simple piece of paper, you will always be the base to go from the State of Injustices in which political praxis has converted our republican life, to a State where the ideal of the founders of the Nation, a State where we become devotees of the rights of others, where we leave behind the behavior of “what is mine is mine and what is yours, we’ll see” and let’s move on to contribute to what many call the right to happiness or collective happiness, which, in my view, is just another manifestation of the Social and Democratic State of Law, and which, as I also like to remember in the words of the great constitutionalist, Dr. Juan Manuel Pellerano Gómez-RIP, who urged that the actions of the Authorities are due to the “ordinary Dominican” who day by day have to fight so that their rights are not ignored.

Congratulations on your day, my beloved Constitution!

By: B. Génesis Rodríguez | Senior Associate

Sign In

[login_form] Lost Password