When a Dominican wanted to buy a pair of shoes or bet on a horse—or pay cash for anything with folding money—he paid in U.S. greenbacks, because his country had no paper currency.* That was the heritage of bankruptcy and economic dependence on the U.S. Now the Dominican Republic is strong, its external debt paid off (since July), its internal debt minuscule. Last week, Dominican banks started taking in time-worn green-inked engravings of Washington and Lincoln, replacing them with crisp Dominican peso notes bearing the likeness of local heroes.

For the present, both the U.S. dollar and the Dominican peso...

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