Who was Salvador Jorge Blanco?
Salvador Jorge Blanco is considered to be one of the greatest leaders produced by the Dominican Republic. In an illustrious political career lasting more than 2 decades, Blanco has not just proved that he’s a great leader but has also contributed immensely towards the growth of ‘PRD’ as a party worker. Although he pursued a degree in law, Jorge’s career as a lawyer didn’t last long, due to his inclination towards politics. His dedication towards serving the society helped him rise to the rank of the nation’s president. However, many criticize him till date for his inability to stabilize the economy during his tenure as the president. He is also infamous for the riots which occurred in the nation during his tenure. The furore is considered to be one of the bloodiest incidents in the history of Dominican Republic. Though he reached the peak of his career in a short time, Jorge also came down spiralling rapidly, after becoming a victim of an alleged conspiracy planned by his successor Joaquín Balaguer. After his death, Blanco’s son had tweeted saying ‘We are proud of his legacy’, as a tribute to his father’s services towards the country
Childhood & Early Life
Salvador Jorge Blanco was born on July 5, 1926, at the city of Santiago, located in the Dominican Republic. He completed his primary education from the ‘Academy of Santa Ana’ located in his hometown. He later moved to the ‘Normal School Ulises Francisco Espillat’ to pursue his higher studies, which was also situated in the same locality.
Jorge then graduated from the ‘Autonomous University of Santo Domingo’ in 1950, with a degree in law. He also completed his doctorate from the same institution, after submitting his dissertation on ‘unit Jurisdiction analysed in the exercise of public action and civil action’.
The very next year Blanco moved to Spain for a short period, to pursue his doctorate degree from the prestigious ‘University of Madrid’. He presented a thesis on ‘Political Asylum’ during his time here.
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Blanco returned to his country after completing his studies, in 1961. Dominican Republic had witnessed a great political event at this time, which was the fall of the great dictator Trujillo.
He joined the ‘National Civic Union’ in the same year, and within a period of two years was promoted to the designation of the Committee Secretary.
Blanco’s political career was officially launched in 1964, when he became a part of the ‘Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD)’.
Two years after he joined the party, he was appointed the member of the ‘National Executive Committee’, as well as the political commission of the PRD. He served in these designations till the year 1973.
Blanco reclaimed his posts of the ‘National Executive Committee’ and ‘Political Commission’ in 1976, after he was relieved from his duties of the ‘Code Commission’, a committee involved in the drafting of ‘Code of Commerce’. A year later he was promoted as the Chairman of the PRD.
While serving as the chairperson of the party, in 1978, he was also elected as the senator and the spokesperson of the PRD. He continued being the spokesperson of the PRD for the next four years. Blanco had established himself as an important figure in the party by this time.
The year 1982, proved to be an eventful one in Blanco’s political career. He was sworn in as the 48th president of the Dominican Republic this year, replacing his party colleague Jacobo Majluta Azar, who held the designation previously.
At the time of his election, it was expected that his government would solve the social problem of ‘Neopatrimonialism’, but he failed to live up to the expectations.
One of the most infamous highlights of his governance was the ‘economic stabilization program’ of 1984, which led to sharp increase in the prices of daily commodities. The people revolted against this move of the Blanco government, leading to many deaths. The administration was criticized for its inability to curb civil and human right violations.
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The government experienced another jolt in 1985, when a shootout occurred at the famous ‘Concorde Hotel’ to prevent the election of PRD’s next presidential candidate. The incident occurred when the ballots were being counted. The nation also experienced negative growth rates during this period.
The national leader had to step down from power in 1986. He was alleged of corruption charges, and an order to arrest the man was issued. He tried evading the arrest by stating reasons of poor health, and getting himself admitted at a private clinic.
He even requested the government of Venezuela to provide him political asylum, to avoid the wrath of the law. However, the Latin American nation refused to oblige, and he moved to the United States for a short period to evade arrest further.
He was eventually tried in 1988, after Joaquín Balaguer came to power. Blanco was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 23 years.
The Supreme Court tried to investigate the details of Blanco’s charges in 2001, and was acquitted since it was found that he was a victim of Balaguer’s conspiracy.
Other than essaying various roles within the party PRD, Blanco is also known for his service in the ‘Code Commission’ of the Dominican Republic. He played an important role in drafting the code of commerce.
Personal Life & Legacy
The famous politician was married to Asela Mera Checo. Asela passed away in 2007.
Blanco suffered from a fall at his home, while trying to move out of his bed. He succumbed to death a few days later on December 26, 2010. He is survived by a son named Orlando Jorge Mera and daughter Dilia Leticia.
Leonel Fernandez, the President of Dominican Republic, had announced a three-day national mourning as a mark of respect to the great leader. Even the flags across the nation were lowered to half-mast at the time of this leader’s death