Holiday Anarchy Leaves Scores Wounded, Many Dead in Dominican Republic

A once restive island will be burying many of its natives this week; and worrying for the recovery of scores more. In the mountain town of Constanza -- called the "Swiss Alps of the Caribbean" because of its pine trees and year-round cool temperatures -- three people were shot dead, another was burned alive inside of his car.

In the port city of San Pedro de Macoris, hometown of Sammy Sosa, one man was beaten to death with a hammer, and another man died after being shot unlawfully in the head by an army lieutenant. In Santo Domingo East, the Mayor and his bodyguard were gunned down by a disgruntled former business associate, leaving in its wake the highest profile tripe-murder-suicide in the city for the week. 

In Santiago, the nation's second most important economic hub, Edwin del Rosario Abreu and four of his associates were ambushed outside of a high-class nightclub by four gunmen who made their getaway in a black Porsche and a white ballistic Land Rover.  Mr. Abreu and three of his associates survived the shooting, but a fifth one was killed. All of the victims were between 25 and 30 years of age.

Due to high-profile incidents, the few police officers working were nowhere to be seen in public; only 4 guns were confiscated during the holiday period. Most police officers were partaking in the festivities, and a general amnesty was given to all members of the nation's security forces who were detained for regulatory offenses.
Beyond violent attacks, the Dominican Republic also managed to retain its position as the most dangerous place to be a driver: with 340 vehicular accidents reported. Of those 340 accidents, most involved motorcycles. Motorcycle races are a common activity for many bored youths on the nation's highways and unpaved mountain roads.

The current wave of anarchy started on the 10th of December, when laws preventing the sale of alcohol at certain hours were lifted. This means that any bar, or even corner store, or restaurant can serve liquor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The loosening of drinking laws is to last until the 8th of January.