Santo Domingo is not San Francisco
They love baseball and "merengue" down in The Dominican Republic. Great island. Wonderful food. They really love Americans, too.
"Opposition to President Obama's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic reached a fever pitch this week as religious organizers stage a "Lunes Negros" or Black Monday protest against James "Wally" Brewster.
If confirmed, Brewster will be the first openly gay ambassador to the country, a prospect that is not going over well with some segments of this conservative Christian country of 9 million people. Local reports indicate that church leaders are pressuring the government to reject Brewster's nomination and calling on the faithful to dress in black on Monday in solidarity against him.
Praise Christian Church Pastor Sauford Medrano is quoted in Diario Libre as saying that Brewster could cause "the U.S. promotion of gender beliefs in the country." That supposedly violates a general education law in the country that "all the Dominican education system is based on Christian principles."
We remind you that President Obama also ran into trouble in Africa when he spoke about "gay rights". I guess that smart diplomacy took another dumb turn!
The real issue in The Dominican Republic is that the Obama administration did not take the time to speak in private with their leaders before the nomination. They didn't test the water.
A Dominican friend told me on the phone yesterday that they feel like it was a "in your face" kind of move. In other words, he felt that the move was more about a "gay ambassador" than nominating someone who was familiar with US-DR issues.
Again, how is that smart diplomacy working out?