News & Politics

What's Going on in the Dominican Republic?

What's Going on in the Dominican Republic?
(Photo by: F. Schneider/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

The Dominican Republic is apparently a dangerous place to be from or visit.

Sunday night, favorite son and sports legend David Ortiz was shot in the back in his native Santo Domingo. Big Papi will be flown to Boston so he can be treated by his personal physicians while recovering from surgery.

Non-native tourists are faring even worse in the Caribbean resort nation:

From the New York Post:

Another American tourist died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic — bringing the recent spate of mysterious deaths to six and prompting an investigation by the FBI, according to a new report.

Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, died after drinking from the minibar in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News.

“We have so many questions,” Arnold told Fox. “We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Wallace is the fourth American to die while visiting the Dominican Republic since the end of April. The other three all died at sister resorts that are less than a mile apart from each other.

The article linked above tries to allay any fears tourists may have:

“It’s not an overly dangerous place,” former CIA agent and current Regional Security Director of International SOS Matthew Bradley tells TIME. “I would still consider the Dominican Republic a safe place to go.”

Concerned tourists can use the travel info site TripAdvisor, which has been working to make it easier to filter and find traveler safety reviews.

There have been other reports in the past year of American tourists becoming ill while visiting the Dominican Republican.

The resorts insist all of this is coincidental and that nothing is amiss.

Others disagree:

On Friday, a Colorado couple told CNN they are suing the resort the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort, where Day and Holmes stayed, after falling ill last June. Kaylynn Knull, 29, and her boyfriend Tom Schwander, 33, said they were forced to cut their trip short because they fell seriously ill during their stay at the resort. When the couple returned home, still feeling sick, a doctor told the couple they were likely exposed to organophosphates, a chemical typically found in pesticide.

“There’s something going on,” Knull told CNN. “What happened to us may be related to what happened to them.”

Or it may not. One thing is certain: the case for staying at home gets stronger all the time.