Emerging Markets: Tropical Paradox

The Dominican Republic's economic plan is at odds with its politics

It's pretty clear that Leonel Fernández, 53, and now midway through his second, nonconsecutive term as President of the Dominican Republic, has the vision thing. When developers proposed the country's first modern port during his first term, "he got it right away--'We can be the Singapore of the Caribbean'--his words," recalls Dominican businessman Samuel A. Conde, who is looking to set up a regional logistics center.

More recently Fernández has been pitching his island as a site for movie productions. He hired a Florida firm to act as the country's national film commission, and he had Robert De Niro over for...

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