The Presidential Goodies Bag
Kissing OUT In Military
It has (apparently) been the norm in the DR for male and female soldiers to salute superiors of the opposite gender with a cheek brush kiss but as from last Thursday a new rule requires the salute to be the more standardised hand salute used throughout the world with local variations. Those who do not comply will, it appears, be disciplined!
30 Tons Of Drugs Airlifted In 2007
DR Poultry Ban Means Shortages In Haiti
Dominican Banana Exports To Fall
' Dominican banana producers will lose millions of dollars as they struggle to restore cultivated fields razed by tropical storms last year, an industry leader said. Roughly half of the country's 24,710 acres of banana plantations were destroyed during the 2007 hurricane season, causing $27 million in losses, Eddy Cabrera, president of the Dominican Association of Banana Producers said Tuesday. He criticized the Dominican government for failing to deliver about $12 million in aid it promised after Tropical Storm Olga barreled through the Caribbean nation in December, killing at least 33 people and displacing 62,000. The storm also left 8,000 banana workers jobless, he said.' The story continues:
Stowaways From Puerto Plata
'Two Dominican migrants were plucked from the water of the St. Johns River near Jacksonville and three others recovered by authorities after they had stowed away on a Trailer Bridge barge in the Dominican Republic. One other man was still missing, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday. The Coast Guard said the stowaways had apparently been aboard the Trailer Bridge barge Chicago Bridge, which was coming into the Port of Jacksonville Sunday night from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.' More here:
Western Union In 10 Year DR Agreement
'The Western Union Company, a global leader in money transfer services, and Grupo Vimenca, a privately held group of financial services companies in the Dominican Republic, have renewed their relationship by entering into a 10-year agreement. The deal, ratified at a signing ceremony in Santo Domingo to commemorate the companies' 18-year business relationship, will continue to provide consumers the ability to send and receive intra-country and outbound global money transfers through the Western Union(R) Agent network. Christina Gold, President and CEO Western Union, and Don Victor Mendez Capellan, President and Founder Grupo Vimenca, represented their companies at the event'. Read on but you will not find a mention of sankie pension schemes!
Rotarians Build Classrooms In San Juan De La Maguana
Russian Gun-Toting Artist With DR Studio
Dominican Troubadour Puerto Plata Makes A Comeback
'In the early part of the 20th century, the musical style known as son became all the rage not only in Cuba, but the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as well. Performed by a trio or quartet wielding acoustic guitars and light percussion, son's lyrics told stories about the lives and loves of the people. But in the early '30s in the Dominican Republic, the infamous dictator Rafael Trujillo denounced it in favor of a watered-down ballroom-style big-band merengue, and Dominican son was forced into the shadows. "El Señor, the dictator, made his law, and said here we must play only [Cuban] danzón, [Puerto Rican] danza and, principally, [Dominican] merengue," said José Manuel Cobles, popularly known as Puerto Plata. Cobles, who will be playing as part of globalFEST, to be held at Manhattan's Webster Hall (866-448-7849) Sunday, is a prominent purveyor of Dominican son. Last year, at age 83, Cobles released his first album, "Mujer de Cabaret (Cabaret Woman)" on IASO Records.' Read the fascinating story in Newsday:
Touting Punta Perla
'Looking for the latest property hotspot? Punta Perla golf property offers investors more than your average return…If you think the property market is cooling, think again. Dominican Republic off plan property is currently one of the hottest deals for investors. Attracting great interest at the moment is the Punta Perla Golf Resort on the eastern tip of the coastline. Investors can enjoy a whole package of financial incentives, including £1,000 cashback on completion from one agent for buyers paying deposits before the end of January 2008.' Be advised that is is a Press Release issued by a UK company out of Lincolshire and includes gems like 'Buying property in the Dominican Republic is relatively straightforward.' Ask Seek & Buy Properties if they have first hand experience................and then go and consult with expats who have. And maybe ask Seek and Buy if they have heard rumours of any alleged connection between some parts of Punta Perla, a Dominican politician and foreign resources
Dreams Punta Cana Sold
'Playa Hotels & Resorts, S.L. today announced it has closed on the purchase of five resorts, operated and branded by AMResorts, located throughout Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The properties include: Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa, Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Sunscape Puerto Aventuras Riviera Maya and Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa, Dominican Republic.The acquisition of these five upscale Unlimited Luxury(R) and Unlimited Fun(R) resorts complements Playa's existing portfolio of 12 resorts throughout Mexico and the Dominican Republic operated by Barcelo Hotels & Resorts and AMResorts. As part of the arrangement with AMResorts, Playa has committed to spend over $25 million over the next 12 months to upgrade the five properties which will retain their AMResorts branding and management.' More here:
No World Cup Football Games In DR
'The Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, Montserrat and Surinam will not be allowed to host World Cup qualifiers because their stadiums do not meet FIFA's new stadium standards. FIFA, soccer's governing body, said Friday that those nations' first-round qualifiers will now be one game instead of the home-and-home, total-goals series originally called for in the format for the North and Central American and Caribbean region. CONCACAF deputy secretary general Ted Howard said the new standards deal with safety, security and quality. The Dominican Republic will play at Puerto Rico in late March.' More here:
Canadian In Distress - Weekend News 6th. January 2008
Following the disappearance of Canadian tourist Hady Quan, 32, whilst attempting to rescue another tourist in distress in the sea off Excellence Punta Cana Resort and Spa, as reported in this news bulletin last week (at the fifth link) more detail is now available in Canadian media. 'The Canadian embassy in the Dominican Republic is being blasted by friends of Hady Quan, 32, for not doing enough to find the Vancouver businessman, who disappeared Friday in the waters outside a luxury resort. Quan was swimming with girlfriend Tiffany Weiland at the Excellence Punta Cana Resort and Spa on the island's east coast. They heard a man screaming in the distance. Quan and Weiland swam out to help him and were caught in a riptide, their friend Marius Purcel said from Vancouver. Rescuers on boogie boards recovered the swimmer, who is believed to have drowned, but Quan was nowhere to be found. Weiland made it back to shore, according to Purcel. Three days later, friends and family of Quan have been conducting their own search without much help from the Canadian embassy in Santo Domingo, Purcel said.' 'A YouTube posting from the friend of a missing Vancouver man has now been watched more than 800 times. Marius Purcel is desperately seeking support, after his friend Hady Quan was apparently swept away in the waters off a resort beach in the Dominican Republic six days ago. Friends of the 32 year old Quan say everyone who travels to the Dominican should know what they're getting into. Purcel says Quan's disappearance, just 30 feet away from the resort's shoreline, is something that could have happened to any one of the hundreds of resort customers he's seen swimming in that exact location. "So many people are going down there and they have no idea what they face...if anything goes wrong, you're on your own." Dominican Defensa Civil has denied lack of co-operation according to a piece in El Nuevo Diario. More here and the You Tube video 'Canadian in Distress' (with more than 60 comments and 3000 views in 3 days) is at the third link:
It will be remembered that following the death by drowning of 11 year old Canadian Adam Vitaterna at Damajagua Falls, Imbert in January 2005 various safety measures were introduced to make the Falls tour safer for tourists. It could be that Mr. Purcel's campaign will achieve the same for the Punta Cana area.
Santiago Recovery Efforts
President In Puerto Plata
Rain Doesn't Stop Play
British Teenagers Arrested In Luperon
Expat Sues Dominican Lawyer
US Citizen Accidentally Shoots Self
60 Metre Rule Broken In Cabarete?
Villa Liberación Falling Down
Economic Challenges for 2008
Firemen Sacked For Selling Confiscated Fireworks
Six members of Santiago Fire Department have been...........................fired after they sold confiscated fireworks to children. The fireworks had been confiscated under new administrative orders from the Secretary of the Interior to combat the sale of fieworks by unlicensed vendors and it is presumed the fireworks so confiscated were being stored at the Fire Department. Three children were injured by the fireworks sold by the Fire Department.
Wagons Roll for Metro
Laura Vogel Memorial Trip
'USM students and faculty are returning to the Dominican Republic, one year after a car accident killed one of the volunteers on the trip. 27-year-old Laura Vogel was a USM masters student and a nurse. She died when the truck she was in flipped over an embankment. The group was on a humanitarian trip in the country, providing health services to local villages.' More here:
UK Firm Circumvents Anti-Bribery Law In DR Deal
Dolphin Makes Spash In DR
Caribbean Tourist Taxes And Fees
'Examples of room taxes charged in the Caribbean include: Antigua and Barbuda: 8.5% Bahamas: 12% Barbados: 7.5% Dominica: 5% Dominican Republic: 23% Grenada: 8% Haiti: 10% Jamaica: 15% St. Kitts and Nevis: 7% St. Lucia: 8% St. Vincent and the Grenadines: generally 7% Trinidad and Tobago: 10%'. More here:
Bird Flu Ban Hits PR Cockfights
'A ban on bird imports has forced the cancellation of more than 100 cockfights and dealt a blow to the lucrative industry in this U.S. territory, a government official said Friday. Puerto Rico halted all bird imports Thursday after a rare outbreak of avian flu was reported in the neighboring Dominican Republic, where authorities killed more than 100 chickens including fighting roosters that tested positive for the virus. The cancellations could cost the industry millions of dollars in lost revenue, said Carlos Quinones, the cockfighting director for the island's sports and recreation department.' The strory continues:
Sea To Rise 6 Metres By 2050?
Punta Cana Hotels 'Not The DR But A Green Piece Of Europe'
'Benjamin Castillo also has a bottle of "Dominican vitamins" with him, which is his term for the country's brown rum. The boat carrying his tour group stopped about 30 metres from the catamaran, and the sea is softly bathing the legs and navels of his companions too. Castillo is a tour guide from Higuey, the largest town in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic. There are few job opportunities for people like him except in tourism. Yes, there are fields of sugar cane south of Higuey. "But cocoa, coffee, bananas, cattle breeding, sugar cane - only the rich people who own the land live on that," Castillo said. "All of the poor people live on tourism." ' Read on:
Helping Out In Puerto Plata
'........While staying in Puerto Plata on the northern coast, the couple journeyed beyond their hotel and saw widespread poverty in the streets outside the tourist area. Spurred by the sight, the Avallones began a tri-monthly tradition of donating clothing, food and candy to the people of Puerto Plata. They work with their hotel as a medium to ensure that the goods get delivered. "In nine years, we've sent about 100 packages," Ralph Avallone. On return trips to the country (February will mark their 10th visit), the couple purchase 20 pounds of rice and beans to give to their hotel.' More here:
Santiago Tragedy After Christmas - Weekend News 30th. December 2007
UN Increases DR Appeal
'The United Nations is seeking an additional $4.1 million to aid storm victims in the Dominican Republic, bringing the total requested over the past two months to $18.5 million. The additional funds are needed to assist those affected earlier this month by tropical storm Olga, which killed up to 33 people and displaced another 61,000, bringing new hardship and significantly disrupting recovery and relief efforts after tropical storm Noel struck the Caribbean country at the end of October, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement today. Two weeks after Olga hit, nearly 14,000 people remain in 42 shelters while 47,700 others are staying with family and friends. Material damage is also significant, with over 12,000 houses affected, of which 370 were completely destroyed. Together, the two storms killed over 160 people and directly affected more than 130,000.' The story continues:
First Choice Flight - No Snow!
On Christmas Day, a British citizen, Proud Dbie, 43, was detained with 16 kilos of cocaine at Puerto Plata airport whilst attempting to board a First Choice flight for Manchester, UK. The next day a Dutch woman, Felize Vera, was arrested at the same airport also for muling. Not so proud and not so 'feliz' (happy)! And not so surprising that Head of the DNCD Major General Rafael Radhamés Ramírez Ferreira refers to 2007 as a 'bumper' year for drug busts. Since he took up office some 18 months ago, 32,000 kilos of drugs have been detected, representing a third of the haul in the past seven years according to El Nacional.
DR Reaction To Tragedy In Pakistan
The murder of Benazir Bhutto resonated in the DR as indeed it did throughout the world. All of the Dominican newspapers covered the tragic event and many had stories of personal links between the deceased and the DR Government and opposition. El Nuevo Diario ran a piece about the meeting of Peggy Cabral, widow of the late Peña Gomez, and Ms. Bhutto at the International Socialist conference in Geneva last October. Miguel Vargas, opposition Presidential candidate, who also met Ms. Bhutto at the same conference, paid homage to her in an article in Listin Diario. The Foreign Secretary, Carlos Morales Troncoso, paid tribute on behalf of the DR Government as described in El Nuevo Diario which also had an editorial on the same tragic event. Diario Libre also ran an editorial on the subject. Diputada Minou Tavarez Mirabal, of Mirabel family fame, was interviewed by El Caribe about Benazir Bhutto and about the invitation extended to her by Ms. Bhutto's political party to act as an observer at the forthcoming Pakistani elections. There is an interview in English with Pakistan's Consul General to the DR while Ms. Bhutto was in office, Humayun Hamid, at the last link.
Canadian Tourist Suicide In Cabarete
A Canadian tourist, Karl Leclerc, 37, apparently committed suicide by hanging using his shoelaces according to a piece in El Nacional. The deceased and his girlfriend, Linda Tate, were staying at Orilla del Mar, Cabarete and had arrived in the DR three days before the event. Mr. Leclerc had apparently attempted suicide before.
German Tourist Dies Celebrating
An American tourist drowned while swimming in the sea on Friday. Jane MacDonald, 45, was a guest in Secrets Hotel, Uvero Alto. Canadian tourist Hady Hon Kit Qan, 30, a guest in the same hotel, tried to assist the victim but he, too, was beaten by the waves and disappeared.
Playa Dorada Full
Must Be Catching!
More Jobs For Opposition
Despite the hue and cry the last time that the President attempted to stack the re-election cards by appointing ex-opposition militants to Governmental positions, still it continues! This week ex-Reformista Licelot Marte de Barrios got the presidency of the Consejo Directivo de la Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica Dominicana (ETED) and General Camilo Antonio Nazir Tejada was named as a member of the Consejo Directivo de la Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana (EGEHID). Seemingly 'hue and cry' doesn't get heard. Which sends an unfortunate message that something louder is needed.
Sports Centre At Callejón De La Loma
Too Poor For Christmas Dinner
Butt Out, Newbie
Not quite what the Foreign Secretary said about the new US Ambassador, but close. Carlos Morales Troncoso was speaking on his return from Cuba with the President and in answer to Ambassador Fanning's expressed concern that if the JCE did not get their full 2008 Budget requirement next May's Presidential elections would be affected. Secretary Morales Troncoso said 'We don't comment on US elections and only Dominicans are entitled to comment on Dominican elections'. He continued that probably Ambassador Fanning was not very informed about the reality of Dominican elections due to his short time in this country.
Airport Extortion In DR
More Airports In 2008
Unrelated to the previous item (but probably not for long!) comes the announcement that 2008 will see continued work on the San Juan de la Maguana airport and new airports to be built at Jimaní, Pedernales and San Francisco de Macorís. The airport at Montecristi will also be inaugurated. All of these allow for extension of........er............entrepreneurial activities!
Russia To Punta Cana
Crime Hushed Up In Casa De Campo?
According to a report in Dominicanoshoy.com crime in Casa de Campo is being hushed up. Two weeks ago a woman was killed but no reports about this appeared. Neroliza Moreno Mañaná worked at a pharmacy alongside the Pepperoni Restaurant and was captured during a robbery, raped and later shot and her body dumped on the La Romana–San Pedro de Macorís road. Police have apparently been told not to share crime stories with the media presumably because of the likely adverse effect on Casa de Campo. And police, it would appear, do as they are asked because Casa de Campo looks after them, according to the report in Dominicanoshoy.
Dateline NBC Passport Investigation
'At the Santo Domingo airport in the Dominican Republic, a foreign visitor makes his way through the Immigration line. An agent swipes his passport through the computer. Everything checks out. The official stamps the passport. Another tourist has entered the country. In this case, though, the traveler is not who he appears to be. He is an undercover investigator. His passport is real, but it has been issued under a false identity. He has just demonstrated how easy it is to obtain and use fraudulent travel documents.' The story continues:
Drug Route Grows Through Haiti
'Three beefy men wearing wraparound sunglasses and gold chains leaned against their SUV at this remote border crossing with the Dominican Republic. As one of them muttered into a walkie-talkie, four Haitian policemen pulled up looking like they meant business. The SUV's back hatch was opened. The cops eyeballed its load of opaque-plastic-wrapped bundles. One officer picked up a package the size of a bread loaf, appraising its weight with his forearm. Then the police and the gold-bedecked trio knocked fists in solidarity, traded vehicles and drove off toward the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. And thus ended the drug bust that wasn't............Narco-trafficking enterprises already are entrenched in central Haiti, having cropped up along the one passable road from the capital to the northern coast. "We are looking for bandits and gangsters, but we are also finding police and congressmen among them," said Andresol, who concedes that he can't trust most of the 5,000 men on his force. Local politicians in Haiti also offer protection to drug runners, he said, fostering transshipment in exchange for a share of the profits that can be doled out to impoverished constituents to bolster their clout.' Read on in the Los Angeles Times:
90 Kilo Haul Christmas Eve
Security services at Las Americas Airport, Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana sequestered a total haul of some 90 kilos of cocaine outward bound on Christmas Eve. 65 kilos were found at Las Americas bound for Italy, 16 kilos at Puerto Plata bound for Spain and 12 kilos with two French sisters out of Punta Cana bound for Holland. Yes the total comes to 93 killos but 90 is the total printed by Diario Horizonte.
Plane Crash Survivors Talk
First Xmas Away From DR
Life Beyond The Beaches
'The masses of Quebecers who hit the beaches of the Dominican Republic during the winter are ignoring a larger reality only kilometres away: The slavery-like conditions of hundreds of thousands of undocumented Haitians who work the country's sugar-cane fields, a Montreal aid group says. To raise awareness among the all-inclusive crowd - and perhaps also to prick their conscience a bit - the group has come up with something to remind Quebec tourists of the workers' plight: a 2008 wall calendar.' More here:
South To South Migration
'The scrap-wood shanties on a muddy hillside are a poor man's promised land. They have leaky roofs and dirt floors, with no lights or running water. But hundreds of Haitian migrants have risked their lives to come here and work the surrounding fields, and they are part of a global trend: migrants who move to poor countries from even poorer ones. Among them is Anes Moises, 45, a dark-skinned man with flecks of gray hair, who has worked the Dominican banana fields for more than a decade, always illegally. Farm bosses pay him $5 a day and tell him that Haitians stink. Soldiers have called him a dark-skinned "devil" and deported him four times.' Read on:
Busy LA Year For UN Disaster Teams
'The United Nations office that sends expert teams around the world to help governments deal with natural disasters was busier than ever in Latin America this year, a fact it at least partially blames on climate change. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said in a statement that a record nine missions were dispatched to the region during 2007, among 14 sent around the globe, itself a higher than usual number.' The Guardian article continues:
How To Find Your Resort
'Q. My husband and I wanted to go to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, so we booked a place on the Internet. When we got to Punta Cana, we couldn't find our resort. We did find signs pointing to Sunscape, which is where we booked, but it was about 40 minutes away, so we didn't think that could be it. It was. Although it was fine, it wasn't what we wanted. How can travelers make sure they get the location they paid for?
A. You can't - at least, if you rely only on a name. Rule No. 1 of trip planning: If you want to know exactly where something is, look it up. "Punta Cana is a very large area and includes many towns," wrote James Berryman in an e-mail. Berryman is assistant to the general manager of Dreams Punta Cana and regional director of operations at AMResorts Dominican Republic. Rule No. 2: Look at the address of your destination.' Next week: how to learn the alphabet.....................! More here, if you can bear it!
Odebrecht Preps DR Toll Road Issue
'Brazil’s Grupo Odebrecht is assembling a $360m project finance bond to build and operate the Autopista El Coral in the Dominican Republic. The deal, to be launched in the first half of 2008, will include a relatively novel structure that has been used before in Peru for the IIRSA toll roads, but never outside that country. The so-called Certificados de Registro de Pago de Inversiones (CRPI) is an adaptation of the successful CRPAO used in Peru, whereby the government agrees to service bonds whose proceeds are incrementally fed to the builder as it achieves construction milestones. Merrill Lynch, the bank that was largely responsible for adding the financing innovation that permitted multiple investor bases to participate, was tapped to lead the El Coral financing.'
Stowaways To Florida
U.S. Coast Guard Honoured For DR Rescue
'Stranded in a mountain town with a burst appendix, if not for the Coast Guard, the little boy would not have survived. The town was cut off because of severe mudslides and flooding after Tropical Storm Noel slammed into the Dominican Republic. Also caught on tape was the rescue of a severely dehydrated pregnant woman. This series of saves in the Dominican was shot by local Coast Guard Chief Donnie Brzuska.' Read on:
'David Lauriano-Cedeno had undergone nine intestinal surgeries during his seven years of life in the Dominican Republic and was facing a lifetime of digestive problems. But now it appears he will able to lead a normal life, thanks to a complicated surgery performed earlier this month by doctors at The Children's Hospital at Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick. Since his release from the hospital last week, David and his mother, Chronne Cedeno Sanchez, have been staying with family members in Brooklyn, N.Y. They returned to Saint Peter's on Friday for a follow-up visit, and his doctors say he should be able to return to his homeland next month.' The story continues:
Merry Xmas To All Our Readers! Weekend News 23rd. December 2007
The royal 'our' might seem a trifle insincere but wishing a merry Christmas to all 'my' readers errs on the presumption of the possessive..............the wishes, however, are sincere. So, whoever you are, wherever you are - have a good one. And enjoy 2008 whether the US declares war on Iran or not. Look on the bright side - it would provide a diversion from the next five months of wall-to-wall political campaigning which we're going to be subjected to here in the DR.
After The Santiago Tragedy
A week of uncovering facts, finger pointing, defensiveness & capitalising on party political angles over what was a preventable tragedy which ought to rise far above the mire of party politics. Not to forget the 'making the best of it' as members of the administration break ground on construction projects to provide homes for those whose homes were washed away. Firstly the victims: an interview appeared in El Nuevo Diario with a Haitian survivor who said that the worst affected areas of Santiago had many lodging houses where Haitian construction workers lived (& died) and that these do not appear to be featuring in the official death statistics. Relatives of victims are pursuing a legal plaint against the Government under article 319 of the Penal Code (involuntary homicide) as explained in an opinion piece by the editor of Diario Libre. This plaint was submitted to the Attorney General during this week, as described in the third and fourth links. Secondly, the DR's meteorological service ONAMET has been waging war on Listin Diario for reporting NASA's satellite rainfall estimates: this battle features at links 5 to 10 but English language readers may prefer to read all correspondance in English on Maria Soldevila's blog - she is the Editor of Listin. Thirdly, INDRHI Director Pimentel has been busy denying culpability 'I only receive reports, I don't make decisions, that is down to the committee' as a piece in El Nacional makes clear and items in El Faro opine about. Fourthly, potential denial of culpability can be seen in the composition of the Commission of Enquiry to look into the tragedy - it is made up of Government officials! This Commission is due to report in March 2008 which would indeed be an inopportune time for any profound admissions of guilt seeing as how it is a mere 2 months before the Presidential election. Eight ex-presidents of CODIA have already signalled CODIA compliance with the Commission outcomes. Meanwhile at link 16 is a very interesting piece from El Nuevo Diario which holds the President to account for the tragedy and suggests that the decision to flood Santiago was taken deliberately so that the President could appear as the towns saviour in relief efforts which was needed in order to boost his flagging approval ratings.
Alongside all the posturing and denial some hard technical information is also being uncovered. In an interview carried out by Marino Zapete on Esta es la Vida, Channel 45, with Augusto Rodríguez Gallart, ex-director of INDRHI and an engineer with experience of dam construction, it was noted that in a study carried out in 1976 on the Tavera Dam by the US Bureau of Reclamations (funded by the InterAmerican Development Bank) it was recommended that each June when hurricane season started, the Tavera level should be reduced to 322 metres to avoid flooding. However in the past 10 years those recommendations were not carried out and the Tavera was kept at maximum level to produce electricity. Diario Libre has been looking into the operations manual of the Tavera and explaining what it mandates. And daily on his blog engineer Luis Arthur makes it abundantly clear that the overriding themes here are ignorance and negligence in the way that the matter was handled. Readers of Spanish are urged to read this blog on a daily basis.
While the political 'clean up' continues, so, too, does the actual clean up as residents of affected parts of Santiago and all the other flooded areas are facing a greyish brown rather than a white Christmas no matter how much mud they remove. And all the while the displaced with no homes at all wander the streets in search of Governmental responses which are more than just promises, according to a piece in Saturday's Clave Digital.
Canadian Murdered In Torre Alta
Extortion In Puerto Plata
New Public Hospital For Puerto Plata?
Promises Not Met In Aguas Negras
Traffickers Get 20 Years In Puerto Plata
The three men involved in the attempt to smuggle 51 kilos of cocaine from Puerto Plata port aboard the Habib Express to Miami in February of this year have each been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Kudos to the judges and it is to be hoped that no appeal will overturn this decision.
Puerto Plata 46th. Most Popular Destination For 2008
FBI On Kidnapping Case
Christmas For The President
Trouble At Land Registry
Three Government officials, all working in the Land Registry, have tendered their resignations to the Supreme Court - one is the National Director of Measurements and Catastrals, one is the regional director and the third is a German adviser. It would appear that an internal conflict has been brewing for some time. This particular department is responsible for the registration of CODIA professionals as well as the law relating to measurement issues.
DR To Enter Bolivarian Alternative For The Americas?
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez opened the Petrocaribe oil summit in the Cuban city of Cienfuegos Friday, announcing, "We have begun to create a new geopolitics of oil that is not at the service of big money interest." Top officials including heads of states from the Latin American and Caribbean regions have gathered in the coastal city to discuss petroleum deals to benefit smaller countries in the 16 member bloc. The hawkish Venezuelan leader called on his Caribbean and Latin American counterparts to come together against the "failed dictatorship of world capitalism." He said he wants to use Venezuela's oil reserves to help create a confederation of republics free of U.S. interests. Chavez also called for creating an international fund to promote alternative energy sources. "Despite the Yankees, our gas is at the service of Venezuela first, and next to our brothers in the Caribbean," he added. President Chavez is criticized for the Venezuelan initiative to supply cheap oil to regional allies. Critics say he is manipulating the country's oil wealth to extend his and Cuba's political influence.' Read more at the first link. President Fernandez has expressed the DR's interest in joining ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative For The Americas, according to a piece in El Nuevo Diario. ALBA is an international cooperation organization based upon the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Such a move would have much potential for the poor of the DR particularly in terms of education (Venezuela has virtually eradicated illiteracy) but would probably be fiercely resisted by business interests.
Aircraft Ditches Near La Romana
Engine Failure After DR Mission Flight
'Two flying missionaries bound for South Florida escaped injury after their Cessna 208 lost power and went down in the Atlantic near Andros Island in the Bahamas on Thursday afternoon. They were rescued by a good Samaritan in a sailboat named Impetuous, authorities said Friday. Rocky Miller, a pastor, and Paolo Costa, both pilots from the Sarasota area, were flying for Agape Flights Inc., of Venice, a missionary organization that regularly delivers supplies to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, said John Niesen, who works for the group. Niesen said the men had dropped off cargo in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, and were on their way to Palm Beach International Airport to clear U.S. Customs. From there, they had intended to fly back to Venice.' The story continues:
Reaching Out And Giving Gifts
Where Golf Is Good
'And the winner is, six under par: Dominican Republic. It has 23 courses and more under construction. Only three golf courses in the Caribbean made Golf Digest magazine's list of "100 Best Golf Courses Outside the U.S." this year, and two are in the Dominican Republic. Teeth of the Dog at the Casa de Campo resort is widely considered the best course in the Caribbean and was ranked 20th. It is challenging and windy, says Peter Finch, a senior editor at Golf Digest. He adds that two other Pete Dye-designed courses at the resort, the Links and the unfortunately named Dye Fore, are first-rate as well.' More here:
Ethanol From Municipal Solid Waste In DR
'Masada Resource Group, LLC of Birmingham, Alabama, the world's leading municipal solid waste-to-ethanol technology firm, has teamed with RJ Zapata & Associates S.A., one of the largest privately owned groups of waste management companies in the Dominican Republic, to develop and operate commercial-scale waste-to-ethanol and electricity production facilities in the country. The two companies signed a long-term joint-venture agreement last month to build facilities in the Dominican Republic that will produce fuel-grade ethanol and electricity from ordinary household garbage. Rafael Zapata, President of RJ Zapata and a leading businessman in the country, brokered the Zapata-Masada deal. "This is a historic moment for the Dominican Republic," said Zapata. "This partnership allows us to dispose of the City of Santo Domingo East's municipal solid waste and create up to 30 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol annually and substantial electrical power in the process. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved".' The story continues: