President Marcelo rarely fails to pass up an opportunity to swim in the sea
President Marcelo rarely fails to pass up an opportunity to swim in the sea, even when he is on official visits. Image: Eduardo Costa/ Lusa

President in Dominican Republic ahead of Ibero-American Summit

Will be joined by PM António Costa tomorrow

Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is on an official visit to the Dominican Republic today, before attending the 28th Ibero-American Summit of heads of state and government on Friday and Saturday.

Marcelo arrived in Santo Domingo last night on a commercial flight, after a stopover in Madrid, together with minister of foreign affairs, João Gomes Cravinho.

The programme of this one-day official visit, concentrated in the capital, begins with a meeting with the president of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, who will receive president Marcelo at the National Palace, with military honours.

In the afternoon, after laying a wreath at the Altar of the Homeland, Portugal’s head of State will be received by the presidents of the Senate, Eduardo Estrella, and of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco, at the National Congress, where he will give a speech.

At the end of the day, the Marcelo will meet with Portuguese residents in the Dominican Republic and representatives of national companies with a presence in the Caribbean country, a former Spanish colony.

Neighbouring Haiti – which occupies the western third of the island -. the Dominican Republic has a population of approximately 10 million inhabitants, slightly less than Portugal, and an area about twice the size.

Tourism has a strong weight in the country’s economy, as do the construction and mining sectors. The United States is the main economic partner.

The political system is presidentialist, with elections every four years. Luis Abinader, of the Modern Revolutionary Party, an economist, aged 55, has been the country’s president since August 2020.

The 28th Ibero-American Summit of heads of state and government will take place between Friday and Saturday in Santo Domingo, under the slogan “Together for a fair and sustainable Ibero-America”. Portugal will be represented by the president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as well as prime minister, António Costa.

Former president of Portugal Jorge Sampaio was in the Dominican Republic in November 2002, to take part in the 12th Ibero-American Summit, in Bavaro, in the tourist area of Punta Cana, together with the then prime minister, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

Mário Soares also passed through the Dominican Republic as head of state, where he had political meetings, in June 1994, in transit to Portugal, on his return from the 4th Ibero-American Summit, held in Colombia, in Cartagena de Indias.

The Ibero-American community comprises 22 countries, of which three are European, Portugal, Spain and Andorra, and 19 are Latin American: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

The first summit of this community was held in 1991 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The meetings of heads of state and government were held annually until 2014. Since then, they have been held every two years.

This will be Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s fourth participation in Ibero-American summits, after those held in Colombia in 2016, Guatemala in 2018 and Andorra in 2021.

And as a number of news sources have quipped, he is bound to find the time in between all the official fixtures for a swim in that (much warmer than the Atlantic) sea.

Source material: LUSA