Freedom in the Banana Republic breakdownSubmitted by Expat but still... on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 15:54
This is done over 4 years ago, I have left the country since then due to my work. Just for you future expats to consider. I will also make another write up on more than half of the Caribbean in a few days.
Original text starts now.
I wanted to save this until only the hardcore freedom lovers were left on this site. I dont mean to detract from Ron, ( I Have been a fan for 8 years.) But I have finally found freedom and peace.
You want to know where some of the most free countries are. Check out Interpol and find out where they suspect the most amount of intl criminals are? Find those top 10 places, and visit, You will most likely find freedom...
As I promised several weeks ago That I will show people what freedom means in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. This maybe a little long winded, BUT I will list the pros and cons....
This country has about 9 million people on an island that is shared with haiti. THIS IS A BIG ISLAND. in excess of 12hours to drive from the most northern point of the D R to get to the eastern tip. It is lush and tropical/sub tropical (including lots of mountains and even a 10,000 foot, on occasion snow capped peak, even a small dessert) and almost completly self independant/sustainable except for FUEL, Vehicles, and rebarb. Murder Rate is much lower than the states. Govt intrusion is minimal. Weather is great and the north side of the island does not get hit directly by hurricanes. The mountains do a good job of breaking them up...
First I want people to understand that alittle corruption at the police level is a good thing and provides alot of freedom.... As opposed to the corruption in the states at the politician level. THE police here are very underpaid and not highly motivated....
In example, You can Speed down the road (NO RADAR GUNS), drinking a BEER(NO BREATHALIZERS) Get stopped(UNLIKELY UNLESS YOU ARE IN TRAFFIC because most police dont have CARS PLUS your an american, ALL WITH AN EXPIRED LISCENSE) and the Police officer instructs you to pay from 2 beers worth to 20 dollars US in a bribe.) His interest not in doing paperwork and if he doesnt get paid if he turns you in...
IF THIS WERE TO HAPPEN IN THE STATES, YOUR FEELING OF FEAR AND HOPLESSNESS would almost overwhelm you in tears.... detention TIME most likely.
I have traveled all over the country, and CAN actually reccommend one area, the state of Puerto Plata. If you live within a half an hour to the city or live within a half an hour of caberete and sosua, Most things are convenient to get to and public transport is excellent but crowded around here. If you are going out to the country you should be at your destination by 9 pm. ALTHOUGH SANTIAGO is a clean (MY FAVORITE) beautiful city, they have no ocean and is surrounded by mountains, it has a small smog issue if the trade winds are not kicking. Can find anything and everything there at Dominican prices. ALSO THE MOST B E A U TIFul women on the island, ranging from red haired green eyes(very RARE), Blond hair green or blue eyes(UNCOMMON), olive skin black hair to the milk chocolate beauties.... Night life is good also...
Cost of living, IF you have everything paid for, HOUSE, CAR, and what not, YOU CAN LIVE comfortably for about 1000 a month for 2 people. You would have to shop where the dominicans shop, although you can just about find anything you want in SANTIAGO that you would find in the states, That adds to your fuel bill.
You can buy GRANDE Beers which is like a 40oz beer for 2 bucks and it is a very decent beer. in the tourist areas or the night bars/ discos much more expensive. THE COLDEST BEERS ive had in the world are here.
If you live in a DOMINICAN NEIGHBORHOOD, You can have 2 beers half a chicken with 2 sides, rice potateos french fries, ect for about 6 or 7 bucks. (READ FED AND DRUNK FOR 10 bucks MAX EATING OUT) I am a sailboater, take it from me thats value......
THERE IS A BIG BLACK MARKET here, not paying taxes and what not.
NOW, FIREARMS ARE LEGAL, in your house, BUT you must have a carry permit if it is in your car or your person. Believe me, I see alot of guns in the pants, not concealed, in the country. Cities not so much at all. THEY JUST PASSED the law RECENTLY the liscensing of firearms.
There is a ONE time property tax when you purchase/register your home. It is suspected that they WILL EVENTUALLY go to a yearly prop tax...
Permits are resonable, and most people build without them with no problem. ALLTHOUGH I WOULD reccomend you follow the letter of the law for this one.
You can have a bottle in public walking down the street,(EXCEPT HOLIDAYS, where they prefer cans or cups for public safety at the beaches) without fear of fines or harassment.
The country is not solely reliant on the US, as there are TONS more of euro's with europeans and canadians that come to this country every year than the americans.
There are alot of expat communities around, BUT as expats do, THEY try to profit from each other as the cost of property is about double or triple than in the dominican areas. I prefer to live in the dominican area anyways.
AS for TAXES, NO TAXES on gambling winnings. For a foreigner working here, a 10% income tax because I dont partake in the govt pension program associated with my job. Corporation taxes are only paid by larger legit corps, as MOST business here even in tourist areas have no TAX NUMBER.
As I understand it with paying taxes on profits and employee's contribution to taxes inclusive It is 35%. The Govt was about to raise taxes and saw that they had an excess of revenues, they then cancelled the tax increase. (WOW LOGIC IN GOVT, I KNOW)
Pro SPORTS gambling is legal and RAMPID all over the place. SO if you know your stuff, YOU WOULD DO well here. They even gamble on HOCKEY, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE with dominicans not paying any attention to it. KINDA SILLY
Their Military is small and they have no dreams or passion of concurring the world. I actually routinely pick up soldiers hitch hiking to give them a ride. I respect these guys alot...
I Live in a tourist area, for 300 bucks a month, I have second floor ocean view 2 bedroom 1 bath, 300 footsteps from a party beach. I have a wireless booster device that allows me to borrow/aquire/steal internet from a resort and other private residences, a leftover from when I was at anchor on the boat.
The electric bill is about 40 bucks a month.
ONE GREAT thing is that MANY(Say 30%) vehicles here run on LPG or Propane, (difference?) which is much cheaper to operate than on gasoline or diesel.
No real vehicle inspection to speak of, other than registration with paperwork.
MOST things in the pharmacy are NON prescription. Antibiotics and what not. VERY LITTLE REGULATION....
Private medical clinics are good, and my Girl had a pollup or syst removed from her ovaries with being put under for a cost of about 300 dollars... I say RESONABLE
deep see Sport fishing is good here and eco tourism as well.
If you are a european sports car fan, you can have anything shipped in here and its legal...
My Favorite, CRIMINALS LOCKED UP IN PRISON, Have to have a family member or service PAID FOR by the Family of the prisoner, TO FEED HIM...... Get it, The tax payer is not burdoned with feeeding the prisoner. HOW AWESOME IS THAT... I also was told, that some of the prisoners even start a business in prison and come out successful business people when they leave prison. IE RENTING BEDS for 15 dollars a month. They have a partner on the out side provide purchasing and delivery. Only Example.
The PINAPPLES and produce is out of this world... NON GENETIC altered foods, Range fed beef. IT is a food dream.
Music, They have a beautiful country music called the BACHATA. actually pretty music and dance. You see alot of hip swaying...
Merengei is fast paced and funny to watch, but fun to do.
Puerto plata Intl airport services 5 destinations in the states and about 10 or more european countries.
THIS DAY AND AGE OF ONLINE investing, You can make all your money in the states and live here on the cheap.
IT IS A LAID BACK, NON STRESSED, LIVING free from fear of govt, way of life.... WITH some of the MOST Beautiful women here.
Exception Venezuala and Colombia.
MAN there are so many freedoms here I cant think of them all.
The people are very politically motivated and have rallies and convoys supporting their candidate. THERE IS MORE THAN 2 PARTIES YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!
SO ON THE BAD SIDE.!!!!______________________________
FUEL is expensive, BUT IF YOU DONT Drive for a living it is not that much out of your monthly budget. Its about HIGH 4 dollar range.
The Peso is loosely PEGGED to the dollar (BIG MISTAKE). It would hurt some of their exports if it was pegged to the euro i guess.
Petty Thievery does exist, USUALLY the MOTO TAXI guys are stealing UNLEADED Gasoline. I HIGHLY recommend using fuel that is undesirable to steal and haveing a diesel vehicle or lpg converted pickup with high side profile tires. IE SUV.
Although the roads have been Greatly improved in the last 6 months because it is election time, I expect the roads to become worse in a year or 2.
IMPORT duties are REEEEDICULOUS. 35% I think. So Cars are automatically kinda expensive, Although I heard if you are moving here from another country you are allowed 1 shipment tax free as long as your car was registered in the states for a year. Check with customs brokers, I only have heresay... I believe most countries in central america and south america have the same thing.
Police/military DO random stop checks looking for mostly illegal firearms. I have noticed this about 5 times in 11 months that I have lived here.
with most of the times, allowing me to pass without incident or harassment. Remember when you were young, most people respected and enjoyed the sight of a police officer, that still is for the most part here. YOU RARELY see an officer unless its for traffic control duty.
They have 2 week period in spring and fall, (IVE HEARD) where is rains pretty constant.
I would avoid Santo Domingo and Punta Cana for many reasons to live, but mostly for crime and exposure to hurricanes.
The Electric use to be free and govt supplied, They then started charging for it and people started stealing it. In retribution the electric company turns off the power from anywhere from 4hrs a day to 12 hours a day depending on where you live. I think it is a conspiracy for the guys who sell batteries and invertors to make a killing. My APT is equiped with such as I have lights tv and comp 24 hrs a day. The refrigerator and hot water heater gets turned off due to the bank of batteries are not strong enough to supply that demand.
The ILLICIT drug laws are pretty severe, and if you are caught with anything above a certain amount for personal use, You might have as well killed somebody here. So IVE heard.
Education, the colleges are resonable and I've heard good. PRIMARY and Secondary is better off in private schools near the tourist areas. This country is perfect for home schoolers and online entrepenuers.
They do harass the tourist to enter their shops, But everybody knows me and after 2 months or so, I enjoy walking unaccosted.
If you live in an expat community, THink life like a little bit about homeowners association.
WITH FREEDOM comes, NO NOISE ord, esp fri sat sometime sun night. DEPENDS on your neighbors. Also littering is kinda widespread, in the towns the women sweep the streets clean everymorning just so everyone dirties it up again. Endless cycle.
If you live near gringo's, you are more likely experience alittle of the same ole thing you had in the states.... BUYER BEWARE.
Most people are here for the same reason I am.
700 dollars or so and about a year, and aids test later, you can get your residency. OR if you stay indef, say 5 years straight. you pay a 400 or 500 dollar fine.
This country is perfect for a self starter, internet entrepeneur, SINGLE or married with without children, TO HOMESCHOOL and live a life of freedom and relaxation. If you can make 3 grand a month on the net, You live like a KING. It is preferable if you had sold all your things in the states and came here with large chunk of change to buy your house outright/build it, pay for your cars in full and live here debt free.
Hind sight, I have traveled in excess of 30 countries, This is all around best and Most free (EXCEPT DRUG LAWS) country I have ever been to. You have to like beer and Rum and your music LOUD if you live in a dominican neighborhood. The best part of the story is I am an foreign immigrant working in the secured part of the airport. WITHOUT WORKING PAPERS:) LOVE IT....
ORIGINALLY FROM THE COMMUNIST REPUBLIC OF NEW JERSEY.
God Bless you guys fighting the revolution, and Republica Dominicana.
I will try to address any questions you have....
Edit, I will check back in a few hours and try to answer any question.