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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Mayes Tolerating Sex. April Mayes. The tension in the chambers must have been palpable. Stack and Knoche were angry and embarrassed: they wanted to hold the city council accountable for a nasty confrontation that had erupted on 18 November between US Marines and members of the Dominican National Police.
Not surprisingly, a mixture of alcohol, youthful exuber- ance, and male competition over female prostitutes provoked an outlandish display of violence between Dominican law enforcers and US soldiers. They voted to keep the tolerance zone open; in a surprising move, the ayuntamiento outlawed the sale of liquor to all US Marines stationed in San Pedro and prohibited the consumption of alcohol within and around the red-light district.
Theirs, however, was a last-ditch effort: in December , the military governor signed the new Sanitation Law Ley de Sanidad which made prostitution and tolerance zones illegal. Prior to the occupation, the absence of a national network of roads, railways, and telegraph lines nurtured regional autonomy and well-honed suspi- cions of centralized government.
During US military rule, however, public health legislation, sanitary work done by trained professionals, and the construction of laboratories, hospitals, and clinics made the national state more visible and powerful. This new national authority sought to fulfill specific goals—eradicating syphilis and VDs—but was ultimately a foreign presence that ruled over a reluctant population and whose health officials viewed tolerance zones as abysmal failures for controlling and containing vice. Thus, between and , the military government waged a cam- paign against prostitution.
Having much more to lose, US military authorities wanted to rid the country of toler- ance zones to signal the effectiveness of moral reform and benevolent governance over recalcitrant populations. In addition to underscoring the ways in which public health officers and US military rule helped consolidate and buttress social hierarchies based on race, class, and gender, this chapter emphasizes the different meanings US and Dominican authorities attached to tolerance zones as spaces for male leisure.