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According to the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, visitors and locals wear light clothing for warm weather year-round on this island nation.

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Your account will now be visible and selectable from the 'switch account' link at the top of the dashboard. Current Republic Services customers are eligible to manage their account online. All you need to 'link' your account is your account number and service address or invoice number.

Please note that account management may be limited for customers who receive services from Republic Services as part of a municipal agreement for example, home owner's associations or your city. You can easily view your current account balance and other account details online; simply login and access your account dashboard.

You may also contact your local customer service office by calling the number located on the front of your invoice, or find it here. Once you register, you will be sent an email to verify your account which will allow you to access your online profile. This will enable you to perform tasks like pay your bill and request services online. If you do not see your verification email your inbox please check your spam folder.

The verification email expires 24 hours after it was originally sent. To receive a new verification email log into your account and click the 'Resend Email' button on the screen. Holiday schedules vary by service location. Residential collection may be delayed due to these and other holidays: As a general rule, holidays push our residential pickup schedules back one day with regular schedules resuming the following week.

Commercial collection holiday schedules vary by location. To find out if your schedule is impacted by potential service interruptions, please login to your account and click on "Pickup Schedule" from within our account management portal. If you do not have an online account you can also view your holiday schedule. Commonly accepted recyclables include: Glass acceptance varies by location and exceptions do exist, based on location so please contact your local provider for details.

These items should never be mixed with regular recycling and require special handling. Contact your local provider for assistance with the following: Contact customer support for specific guidelines. Items that are too large to fit in your trash container are considered Bulk Waste. We will come to your home and remove bulk items such as furniture or appliances and recycle or dispose of materials properly.

Some items such as home furnishings, mattresses, carpet and appliances may require special handling. You can Request Service , or contact a local customer service representative to find if your address qualifies for Bulk Waste pickup. Download this free app today. If you are in an area impacted by Hurricane Michael, please visit our Service Alerts page for the latest service updates. You have one or more alerts: View If you are in an area impacted by Hurricane Michael, please visit our Service Alerts page for the latest service updates.

Change Location Customer Support: Frequently Asked Questions Need Assistance? We're Here To Help. Company Questions Expand Topic. Who is Republic Services? How can I contact my local waste hauler? Is Republic Services hiring? How do I find and apply for positions at Republic Services? Is Republic Services publicly traded? The landareais , square miles approximately , square kilometers. The equator passes through the country, which has one hundred miles kilometers of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.

The four major topographic regions are a coastal plain that reaches forty miles into the interior, a fertile valley in the south-central area, a central plateau between the Congo and Ogooue rivers, and the north Congo Basin. Most of the country is covered by dense tropical forest. The climate is humid and hot, with heavy rainfall. The Congo River forms the eastern and southern borders and is one of the most important natural resources. The local peoples have long used the river for food, transportation, and electricity.

The river flows between Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo.

The population was estimated at 2. About 60 percent of the people live in urban areas, particularly Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Another 12 percent live along the main railway between those cities.

The remainder of the population resides in isolated rural areas. French is the official language and is used in governmental activities. Lingala and Monokutuba are commonly spoken trade languages. Over sixty local languages and dialects are spoken, the most widely used of which are Kikongo, Sangha, and Bateke. A talking drum language developed in the villages as a form of long-distance communication. Specific beats are broadcast for marriages, deaths, births, and other information. For the residents, the mythology of the region is tied closely to the mystical powers of animals.

Families take a specific animal spirit to represent them and often raise totem poles to signify this event. Emergence of the Nation. The first inhabitants are believed to have been forest dwellers such as the Teke. Other ethnic groups joined them to form the three kingdoms that ruled the area before the arrival of Europeans: The mouth of the Congo River was the base for the Kongo Kingdom which encountered the Portuguese in Trading contracts gave the Congolese textiles, jewelry, and manufactured goods in return for ivory, copper, and slaves.

Western education and Christianity were introduced into the region at that time. The Portuguese did not venture into the interior but bought goods and slaves through African brokers on the coast.

When the slave trade diminished because of depopulation, the Portuguese bought slaves from other tribes. Fighting between the tribes weakened them as a group, including the Kongo.

This increased the power of the Europeans and strengthened the slave trade. This situation continued until the European powers outlawed slavery in the late s. The Teke Kingdom of the interior signed a treaty with the French in that gave the French land in return for protection.

A small settlement along the Congo River was renamed Brazzaville and became the capital of the area now called the Middle Congo. French citizenship was granted to local residents in In , the Republic of Congo and the other three countries became autonomous members of the French Community. Internal self-government was achieved in as a stage in a series of reforms that started in the mids. In , the Republic of Congo became an independent nation.

The new nation maintained its ties with the French community both economically and politically. There are fifteen main ethnic groups and seventy-five subgroups. The largest ethnic groups are the Bakongo 48 percent of the population , the Sangha 20 percent , the Teke 17 percent , and the M'Bochi 12 percent. The Teke group suffers from widespread discrimination from all the other ethnic groups in Central Africa because they are unorganized forest dwellers with little political power.

The Republic of Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with almost two-thirds of the population living in the urban conglomeration from Brazzaville to Pointe Moiré. Urban houses are made of concrete, often with a small garden attached. Villages are arranged with one large dirt street in the middle and many smaller streets running perpendicular to it.

Many houses are built of mud brick with thatched or metal roofs. Cooking takes place in the front of the house, along with social interaction. Food in Daily Life. The rain forest soil is not nutrient-rich; less than 3 percent of the land is cultivated for food production.

Meat is expensive because it has to be hunted or imported. For this reason, little meat is eaten. Bananas, pineapples, taro, peanuts, manioc, cassava, rice, and bread are the staples. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food taboos depend on the tribe and village. If a family has a totem, it cannot eat that animal, which is considered a spiritual protector. At major festivals, meat, usually chicken, is eaten.

Plum wine and beer are consumed at these times. Agriculture, industry, and services dominate the economy. The most important products are lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds, and especially oil. Land Tenure and Property.

Under communist rule, the government was the owner of all commercial property. After the civil war, privatization was decreed. Almost 90 percent of homes are now owned by individuals or families.

Minor agricultural products and light manufactured goods are sold in informal street markets. The major industry is petroleum extraction. Cement kilning, forestry, brewing, sugar milling, palm oil, soap, and cigarette making also are important industries. Oil accounted for 50 percent of the gross national product in Imported items include manufactured goods, capital equipment, petroleum products, construction materials, and food.

The country is deeply in debt. Under communism, urban and educated people had jobs and could make more money than rural people, who had a lifestyle closer to that of the ethnic tribes.

Discrimination against the pygmies, known as Teke, Aka, or forest dwellers, is widespread. They are turned away from hospitals, receive lower pay, and are not represented in the government. Symbols of Social Stratification. Because of communism and local social customs, few people have accumulated personal wealth. General indicators of prosperity are education, large houses, and money.

A transitional government has ruled since , when President Denis Sassou-Nguesso forcefully took over the government with the aid of Angolan troops. He defeated Pascal Lissouba, who had won the elections, the first democratic election in twenty-eight years. Under Lissouba, the government had experienced accusations of mismanagement and conflict with other political parties that led to a civil war.

When Sassou-Nguesso regained power, he replaced the constitution of with the Fundamental Act. This act gave the president the power to appoint all the members of the government and military officers, serve as commander in chief, and direct the policy of the government. Thus, the act created a highly centralized government with the president as the head of state and head of government. The legislative and judicial branches currently exist in a weakened form.

Leadership and Political Officials. Fubert Youlou became the first president in Within three years, he was forced to resign because of military and economic pressures. Socialist forces gained strength, and the government nationalized Koto men with painted faces. Major Marien Ngouabi then took over the leadership, establishing a one-party state and a people's republic. In , he was assassinated. After a short period of military rule, Colonel Joachim Yhomby-Opango was appointed president.

He found former president Massamba-Debat and others guilty of planning Ngouabi's assassination. Less then two years after Yhomby-Opango became president, his own party forced him from office.

The presidency was then conferred on Colonel Denis Sassou-Naguesso. Former president Yhomby-Opango was tried for treason and stripped of possessions and power. Sassou-Naguesso served until , when Lissouba was elected. After the civil war, in which Lissouba lost to Sassou-Naguesso, high-level officials, including Lissouba and former Prime Minister Kolelas, left the country, fearing a war-crimes trial.

Social Problems and Control. Civil war and political instability have caused large-scale violence. The rebels were mostly from the south, and nationalist forces came from the north and from neighboring countries.

Both national and rebel forces committed summary executions and rapes. Civilians were convicted of being rebels and executed without a trial. Many soldiers on both sides were undisciplined, and mob violence was common. Electricity and the infrastructure were disrupted during the civil war, causing water and food shortages, disease, and displacement that involved almost a third of the population.

The military includes trained and untrained soldiers. The available force consists of , males, about half of whom are fit for service. Then the gold was either inlayed in wooden objects or overlaid on clothing or ornaments. Columbus took special notice of the Tainos' gold work, believing it offered him a chance to repay his debt to the king and queen of Spain. Because nearly all the Tainos died within about three decades of Columbus's arrival, the culture and traditions of these gentle people are not as clearly present in everyday life as, for example, the Maya culture in Mexico today.

A more nomadic and warlike group of Arawaks called the Caribs was present on a small portion of the island and are said to have shot arrows at Columbus upon his arrival. In , when Columbus first landed, he named the island La Isla Española, which later changed to Hispaniola.

Although Columbus was a superb navigator, neither he nor his brother Bartholomé could rule the new colony. Both alienated the Spanish by demanding that they work, and they also disrupted the native agriculture by forcing each Indian to dig up a set amount of gold instead of allowing farming.

By many natives had died, and those that rebelled were harshly punished. Food was in short supply and the population of natives was greatly diminished. It was then that Bartholomé transferred the capital from Isabella to the new city of Santo Domingo, located in a more productive region with a good harbor. It was a natural destination for ships following the easterly trade winds from Europe and the Lesser Antilles and remained the Spanish capital of the New World for the next fifty years, when a change in sailing routes made Havana the preferred port.

When Columbus returned to Santo Domingo for the third time, he was faced with a revolt by the colonists. To placate the rebels, he distributed not only land but also native communities. Spanish settlers could legally force their Indians to work without wages in a kind of semislavery called encomienda, a system that rapidly caused the demise of the Taino Indians because of the harsh forced-labor practices and the diseases the Spanish brought with them.

The Spanish imported African slaves to work in the mines and established a strict two-class social system based on race and state domination. The Spanish abandoned Hispaniola for more economically promising areas such as Cuba and Mexico, but the Spanish institutions of government, economy, and society have persisted in the Dominican Republic. The island became the hiding place for many pirates and was captured for ransom by British admiral Sir Francis Drake. For nearly two hundred years Hispaniola remained in a state of disorganization and depression.

In Spain handed over the western third of Hispaniola to the French, and that portion began to prosper by producing sugar and cotton in an economy based on slavery. By Spain gave the rest of the island, where most people were barely surviving on subsistence farming, to the French. By the eastern part of Hispaniola reverted back to Spanish rule. In the black armies of Haiti invaded and gained control of the entire island, which they maintained until On 27 February , Juan Pablo Duarte, the leader of the Dominican independence movement, entered Santo Domingo and declared the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola an independent nation.

He named it the Dominican Republic. The first of the strong-armed leaders called caudillos, Pedro Santana, became president. The emerging nation struggled, going in and out of political and economic chaos. Using the Monroe Doctrine to counter what the United States considered potential European intervention, the United States invaded the Dominican Republic in and occupied it until During the period of U.

A new military security force, the Guardia Nacional, was trained by the U. Marines to be a counterinsurgency force. In , Rafael Trujillo, who had risen to a position of leadership in the Guardia, used it to acquire and consolidate power.

From to , Trujillo ran the Dominican Republic as his own personal possession, in what has been called the first truly totalitarian state in the hemisphere. He and his friends held nearly 60 percent of the country's assets and controlled its labor force while they abolished personal and political freedoms. He typified the caudillismo that has shaped Dominican society.

After Trujillo was assassinated in , his son fled the country and a democratic election was held. Ultimately, the Dominican military with the help of twenty-three thousand U. The Dominican economic elite, having been reinstalled by the U. Until the early s the Dominican Republic went through a period of economic growth and development arising mainly from public-works projects, foreign investments, increased tourism, and skyrocketing sugar prices.

Most of the benefits went to the already wealthy while the unemployment rate, illiteracy, malnutrition, and infant mortality rates were dangerously high. With the mids surge in oil prices, a crash in the price of sugar, and increases in unemployment and inflation, the Balaguer government was destabilized, and human rights and political freedom were better observed. The country, however, incurred enormous foreign debt, and the International Monetary Fund required drastic austerity measures, such as a government wage freeze, a decrease of funding, an increase in prices of staple goods, and restricted credit.

These policies resulted in social unrest and Balaguer, nearly eighty years old and legally blind, regained control of the country. He once again turned to massive public-works projects in an attempt to revitalize the economy, but this time was unsuccessful. A large factor that influences Dominican national identity is its Spanish heritage and early independence. The native population was decimated or assimilated within decades of the arrival of Columbus, and the island was repopulated with Spanish colonists and their African slaves.

Spanish is the national language, universally spoken today. Light skin color, which is considered to reflect European ancestry, is valued, while dark skin tones reflect the West African slave ancestry. The Roman Catholic cathedrals still stand and the majority of the population is Roman Catholic.

A proud aggressive attitude is admired in sports, business, and politics. Machismo permeates society, especially among rural and low income groups, with males enjoying privileges not accorded to females. The common expression, Si Dios quiere If God wishes , expresses the belief that personal power is intertwined with one's place in the family, the community, and the grand design of the Deity.

People have been forced to accept the strong class system begun by the Spanish and maintained by the strongman leaders where only a few historically prominent families hold a great deal of the wealth and power. Some of the few surviving traits of the gentle Tainos may account for acceptance of the system with relatively few revolts.

The family unit is of primary importance. Relationships among people are more important than schedules and being late for appointments, and people often spend time socializing rather than working. Dominicans are warm, friendly, outgoing, and gregarious. They are very curious about others and forthright in asking personal questions. Children are rarely shy.

Confianze trust is highly valued and not quickly or easily gained by outsiders, perhaps as a result of the human rights and economic abuses the people have suffered at the hands of the powerful.

Dominican society is the cradle of blackness in the Americas. It was the port of entry for the first African slaves, only nine years after Columbus arrived. Blacks and mulattoes make up almost 90 percent of the population. There has been a longstanding tension with Haiti, particularly over the Haitian desire to migrate there. In the early fall of Trujillo's soldiers used machetes, knives, picks, and shovels to slaughter somewhere between ten thousand and thirty-five thousand Haitian civilians, claiming it was a Dominican peasant uprising.

Even loyal personal servants and Haitian spouses of Dominicans were killed by the soldiers. Today there is still great disdain for Haitian and other blacks. A massive migration from rural to urban areas characterized the twentieth century.

About 60 percent of Dominicans live in urban areas. The capital, Santo Domingo, is the largest city by far and has a population of 2. Its population approximately doubled every ten years between and The second and third largest cities, Santiago and La Romana, also experienced rapid growth, especially in the s and s. Santo Domingo was a walled city, modeled after those of medieval Spain, and for three decades was the seat of Spanish power and culture in the New World.

Today the area known as the Zona Colonial stands as a monument to Spain's time as a superpower, with some buildings dating back to the early sixteenth century. The layout of the city followed the classic European grid pattern, with several plazas. Plazas are popular meeting places for area residents, tourists, vendors, taxi drivers, guides, and shoeshine boys.

The plazas usually contain shade trees, park benches, and monuments. Food in Daily Life. The main meal is served at midday and can last up to two hours. La bandera the flag is a popular national dish; the white rice and red beans remind people of the flag colors, hence the name. The third ingredient is stewed meat, and it is usually served with fried plantain and a salad. Another favorite dish is sancocho, a meat, plantain, and vegetable stew. On the coast, fish and conch are enjoyed, and coconut is used to sweeten many seafood Clay jars provide storage in this kitchen in Santo Domingo.

Root vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, and potatoes. Small quantities of chicken, beef, pork, or goat are eaten with a meal.

Food is generally not spicy. Dining out is popular and restaurants in Santo Domingo are superior and reasonably priced. The Hotel Lina has been voted one of the ten best restaurants in the world. Even the food sold by street vendors, such as grilled meat or tostones fried plantain patties , is delicious. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. On special occasions, such as Christmas or Easter, extended families sit down together for large feasts. Roasted pig, pigeon peas small yellow beans , and boiled chestnuts are served at Christmas.

Fish is the traditional dish at Easter. The Dominican Republic is among the fastest-growing economies in Latin America. Even though the gross domestic product GDP tripled in the last generation, 70 percent of the people are affected by poverty and unemployment is high.

Throughout history, the economy has been based on the production and export of sugar. Sugarcane is still a big cash crop, along with rice, plantains starchy green bananas , and bananas.

Fluctuating world prices make the market volatile. Land Tenure and Property. Land-tenure patterns reflect both Dominican and international politics.

Sugar and cattle production require large tracts of land and ownership has changed over time. In when the United States invaded, the military enacted legislation to facilitate the takeover of Dominican land by U.

Communal lands were broken up and transferred to private ownership. By eleven of the twenty-one sugar mills belonged to U. Cattle raising, an important source and symbol of wealth in the countryside, was feasible for many because the animals were branded and left to graze freely on open land. Much of the land was expropriated by Trujillo, and later he established a law requiring livestock to be enclosed, ending the free grazing. By the s the government created state-subsidized credits for cattle production, enabling people to buy land for grazing in an attempt to increase production.

Agriculture, including forestry and fishing, contributed about 13 percent of the GDP in Industry, including mining, manufacturing, construction, and power, provided about 32 percent of the GDP in The services sector contributes 55 percent of the GDP. With the relative stability of the Dominican democracy and tax incentives, tourism is the most rapidly growing sector of the economy. With more hotel rooms than any other Caribbean country and beautiful beaches, tourism in the country is now the largest source of foreign exchange, along with manufacturing in the free trade zones.

The government is working to increase electric generating capacity, a key to continued economic growth, and the state-owned electric company was ultimately privatized by Mining of ferro-nickel, gold, and silver has recently surpassed sugar as the biggest source of export earnings. Manufacturing of food, petroleum products, beverages, and chemicals contributes about 17 percent of the GDP.

A rapidly growing part of the manufacturing sector is occurring in the free trade zones, established for multinational corporations. Products such as textiles, garments, and light electronic goods intended for export are assembled. Industries locate in these zones because they are permitted to pay low wages for labor intensive activities; also, the Dominican government grants exemptions from duties and taxes on exports. The Dominican Republic is the world's fourth-largest location of free trade zones, and much of the nation's industrial work occurs there.

Two-thirds of these zones are owned by U. Most are assembly and factory workers who produce electronics, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and shoes for export. Nevertheless, free trade zones have created much-needed jobs and have brought more advanced technology to the island.

Companies pay rent and purchase utilities and supplies. On most sugarcane farms, working conditions are dreadful, and Dominicans are too proud to work for such low wages. Companies hire Haitians to work the fields for twelve to fifteen hours a day. Workers are as young as eight years old.

There are no cooking or sanitary facilities. Children born to Haitian sugarcane workers effectively have no country and no medical or educational benefits. Dominican social stratification is influenced by racial and economic issues. The upper class is historically descended from European ancestry and is light skinned. The lower class is most often black, descendants of the African slave population or Haitians. The mulattoes are people of mixed African and European ancestry and make up the majority of the population; they have created a growing middle class.

This middle class is divided into indio claro, who have lighter skin, and indio obscuro, who are darker skinned. The term indio Indian is used because many Dominicans do not yet acknowledge their African roots.

Symbols of Social Stratification. The symbols of social stratification are similar to those in Western cultures. Many of the growing middle-class population own homes and cars, and enjoy updating them with the latest electronic appliances.

Their children graduate from high school, and may go on to college. People take pride in their personal appearance and prefer New York fashions and jewelry. However, there is still a large segment of the population which lives in urban slums and poor rural areas without electricity or running water.

The Dominican Republic is divided into twenty-nine provinces, each run by a governor who is appointed by the president. The president and vice president and a bicameral Congress of thirty senators and deputies are elected by popular vote every four years. The voting age is eighteen. A nine-member Supreme Court is formally appointed every four years by the Senate, but is greatly influenced by the president. Leadership and Political Officials. One of the most influential political parties is the Dominican Revolutionary Party PRD and it has a liberal philosophy.

Unfortunately, many people aspire to be elected to government positions so that they can obtain bribes. Each time government salaries are cut, the corruption in government grows.

Also, government contracts are awarded to business in return for money paid directly to the official who makes the decision. Social Problems and Control. During much of its history the Dominican Republic has been governed by strongarm dictators who have denied human rights to their citizens, particularly darker-skinned people. The most recent constitution was adopted in after the civil war following Trujillo's rule.

Although it puts few limitations on the powers of the president, it stresses civil rights and gives Dominicans liberties they had never before been granted. In reforms were made to reduce the military's political involvement in order to prevent a coup. The military were given civic duties such as building roads, medical and educational facilities, and houses, and replanting forests.

The judicial branch is subject to the political mood since they are appointed every four years. Since the s the court has become more independent, even if it is not an equal branch of government. Military service is voluntary and lasts for four years. In the armed forces totaled 24, people, with most in the army, followed by the air force and the navy. There are about fifteen thousand members of the paramilitary.

The defense budget in was slightly less than the amount spent on welfare. A voluntary national contributory scheme exists to provide insurance coverage for sickness, unemployment, dental injury, maternity, old age, and death. Only about 42 percent of the population benefits from it. About 40 percent of Dominicans live in rural areas such as the village of Honda Valle.

Many nongovernmental organizations exist. They implement a wide variety of projects in agriculture, microenterprise, water and sanitation, and health.

In the s and s, after the end of the Trujillo regime, there was an increase in Dominican interest groups. For example, the Central Electoral Junta is an independent board that monitors elections.

The Collective of Popular Organizations is a political pressure group. Many organizations exist to promote business, including the Dominican Center of Promotion of Exportation and the Dominican Sugar Institute. Division of Labor by Gender.

About one-quarter of the lower-class people are unemployed. Among this group, women tend to find jobs more easily than men, especially in rural areas, and are paid less. Women often support their households, but do not make enough to bring them out of poverty. The Relative Status of Women and Men. In middle-class and upper-class families the structure is patriarchal, and the dominant father-figure is the norm. As women gain control over the number of children they bear, they have been able to gain greater educational and employment opportunities.

Among the lower-class families, the structure is often matriarchal because the father does not live in the house. Three different types of marital union include church marriages, civil marriages, and consensual or common-law unions. Church and civil marriages are most prevalent among the upper classes and the ceremonies can be costly, whereas consensual unions predominate among the poor.

These patterns can be traced back to the Spanish colonial and slave periods. The Spanish settlers brought with them a strong ethic of family solidarity, and the father was the dominant figure.

Slave families were broken up and marriages were often not allowed. Informal unions between the Spanish settlers and African slave women were encouraged, and the present-day range of skin tones and marriage Agriculture represented about 13 percent of the gross domestic product in The extended family, composed of three or more generations, is prevalent among the Dominican elite. The oldest man holds authority, makes public decisions, and is responsible for the welfare of the family.

The oldest married woman commands her household, delivers the more private decisions, and nurtures the family. Married brothers and their wives and children are part of the extended family, and have a strong allegiance to their father. Married daughters become part of their husbands' families. Consensual unions create a more loosely structured family, and responsibilities fall to the mother. The result is a lower-class household which often becomes an extended matriarchy with the oldest woman at the head and her unmarried children, married daughters, and grandchildren constituting the household.

Some men have more than one wife and family and are often absent from a particular household. Among the two-parent families, land, money, and personal possessions are usually left to the surviving spouse and children.

When the household is headed by a woman or when there is a consensual union, inheritance policies are more loosely structured. Family loyalty is a virtue ingrained from early childhood when individuals learn that relatives can be trusted and relied on. At every level of society a person looks to family and kin for both social identity and succor. A needy relative might receive the loan of a piece of land, some wage labor, or gifts of food. More affluent relatives may adopt a child from needy relatives and help out the parents of that child as well.

Formal organizations succeed best when they are able to mesh with pre-existing ties of kinship. Until the s and s, most community activities were kin-based and consisted of a few related extended families joined together for endeavors. Families with relatively equal resources shared and cooperated.

When kinship is lacking and where families wish to establish a trusting relationship with other families, they can become compadres. Strong emotional bonds link compadres or co-parents, and they use the formal "usted" instead of "tu" when addressing one another.

Compadres are chosen at baptism and marriage, and the relationship extends to the two couples and their offspring.

Child Rearing and Education. Public education is provided through the high-school level at no cost except for the school uniform and books. Attendance is mandatory to sixth grade, although many children, particularly girls, drop out before then. Over one thousand schools were destroyed by Hurricane George in Scarce funding before and after the hurricane has resulted in limited resources and understaffed facilities. Many urban families send their children to private schools.

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