The charge d’affaires of the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Robert Thomas, called to focus on what both nations can achieve together in his Christmas message, in which he also highlighted the achievements of the “prosperous collaboration between the two countries.
“From standing together during the COVID-19 pandemic to fighting corruption and standing together against authoritarianism, the United States and the Dominican Republic have shown the world time and time again the immense power we have in each other.” Thomas said after wishing a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year for the Dominicans.
Thomas recounted the achievements and initiatives between the Dominican Republic and the United States during 2022, which began with the recent visit of the hospital ship USNS Comfort, which “served around four thousand five hundred patients and had an impact on the lives of almost thirteen thousand people both in Santo Domingo and Azua,” he said in his Christmas message.
In addition, he mentioned the visit of millions of US citizens, as well as the progress in the “finalization of a historic Open Skies agreement”, which will boost tourism due to cheaper tickets and a greater variety of flights and destinations, he reiterated.
Thomas also noted the efforts of the US diplomatic corps to “protect communities from the impact of African Swine Fever” by donating $17 million worth of equipment, technical assistance and compensation to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Thomas also highlighted the advances in visa issuance, both for migrants and non-immigrants, which were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but which in 2022 increased more than in previous years and stressed that in 2023 they expect to exceed the numbers.
“We issued more than 35,000 immigrant visas in 2022 to unite Dominicans with their family members in the United States – more than were issued before the pandemic – and we plan to issue even more in 2023. Also in 2022, we interviewed more than 125,000 non-immigrant visa applicants, 30% more than in 2021,” he reported.
“As we celebrate Christmas and the beginning of a new year, let us set our sights on what we can achieve together for the continued prosperity and well-being of both Americans and Dominicans,” Thomas reflected before wishing “happy holidays and a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2023” on behalf of the US Embassy Santo Domingo.