The much maligned former President of the Dominican Republic, Salvador Jorge Blanco, has died at home at the age of 84. Jorge Blanco was the president from 1982 through 1986, then in 1991 was accused and convicted of corruption related to misuse of government funds.
He served two months in jail before being released to launch an appeal. That conviction, the first of its kind for any public official in the Dominican Republic, was overturned in 2001 on a technicality. The former President had always maintained his innocence and blamed his political adversary’s for the trumped up charges.
Jorge Blanco governed the country through some of its darkest economic times, when billions in foreign debt were owed and his austerity moves were met with constant general strikes crippling the country’s economy even more. There was also a deadly riot in 1984 over wage freezes that left dozens dead.
Current President Leonel Fernandez has called for three days of national mourning and flags will be flown half-mast in Jorge Blanco’s honor. The body will lie in state in the Congress building with a funeral planned for Tuesday.