Dominican Republic judge asks officials to ban odd names

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Names like "Dummy Ruiz" and "Dear Pineapple" might become a thing of the past in the Dominican Republic as officials consider a ban on odd names.

Officials say Dominicans are increasingly giving their children names that are car brands, cartoon characters or even body parts, and a judge has submitted a proposal to the Central Electoral Commission limiting such names.

Examples of strange names in the nation's civil registry include Mazda Altagracia, Toshiba Fidelina, Seno Jimenez (Breast Jimenez), Querida Pina (Dear Pineapple), Tonton Ruiz (Dummy Ruiz) and Querido Familia Perez (Dear Family Perez).

Other names put a spin on the famous, like Winston Churchill de la Cruz or Ernesto Che Perez, the latter a nod to the late Latin American revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara. Others refer to drugs, such as Rambo Mota (Rambo Pot).

Electoral commission judge Jose Angel Aquinas, who submitted the proposal, wrote that names should be rejected that are confusing or that give no indication of gender.

He added that vulgar names, those having more than three words or those difficult to pronounce (unless they are of children born to foreigners) should be banned.

The commission is expected to consider the proposal sometime this year although no date has been set.

Aquinas was out of the country and unavailable for comment.

One judge suggested that instead of banning weird names, civil registry officials should explain to parents the consequences of giving their children such names.

Judge Aura Celeste Fernando said in a statement Tuesday that it is not prudent for the government to have the final say on names parents give their children.

Venezuela sought a similar crackdown two years ago for the same reasons, although officials later rejected the proposal because they said it could violate "the right to liberty."

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Ray Shapiro April 22, 2009 | 12:22 a.m.

I had to change my given name.
It used to be John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.
His name was my name too...

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