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Daily News - 1 April 1998

The government can't solve all problems
President Leonel Fernández was in Villa Altagracia, half an hour away from the city of Santo Domingo, to hand over 132 apartments to low income persons, many victims of natural disasters. One beneficiary decided to take advantage of the presence of the President to ask for a little more. He requested that the President assist the beneficiaries of apartments by also donating a bed, chair and stove to each. Unpleasantly surprised by the request, President Fernández replied: "Good-looking, if we took you up on your request, one day you will ask us to get you a wife." His response met with enthusiastic applause by the attending crowd.
The incident was living proof of what findings of a recent poll have disclosed: Dominicans have a father-son relationship in regards to the presidency. The poll carried out by the Instituto de Estudios de Población y Desarrollo with United States Agency for International Development funding as part of the Proyecto para el Apoyo a Iniciativas Democráticas administered by the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, showed that 82% of Dominicans feel that the President of the DR is like a father who can solve everyone's problems. 50.4% say that a strong leader will do more for the country than all the country's laws and institutions. 65% favor that there be more order, even if there is less democracy.
The survey thus revealed there is a paternalistic attitude towards the presidency, despite a general desire for more democratic participation.
More than half of Dominicans favor the re-election of President Leonel Fernández, according to the survey. Most reject that congressional and municipal elections are being held separately, and 65.2% do not favor the holding of a second round in the presidential election if anyone candidate does not attract 50%+1 of the vote. Of the changes in the electoral law, those surveyed only favor the closed electoral voting stations (colegios electorales).
President Leonel Fernández is the most admired contemporary politician, followed by former President Joaquín Balaguer and José Francisco Peña Gómez. Furthermore, the study showed that Balaguer is perceived by the population as "the leader that has contributed most to the development of democracy in the country."
The study was carried out between 17 June and 28 July of 1997 and was directed by sociologists Isis Duarte, Ramonina Brea and Ramón Tejada Holguín.

Census of government employees
A recent census of government employees carried out by the Fernández administration showed that there are 287,723 government employees, of which 59.3% are men and 40.7% are women. Of the total, 231,564 work in centralized government organizations and 74,159 in decentralized organizations. 62,560 know how to use computers, 50,997 speak one or more languages, and 13,379 do not know how to read or write. Maritza Rossi de Pérez, director of the National Statistics Office presented the findings to the press.

Fourth golf course being built at Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo, the Dominican Republic's most complete tourism resort, began the construction of a fourth golf course in the La Romana tourism complex. The golf course would be the third that is available for the playing of tourists in Casa de Campo. While there are three golf courses in use at Casa de Campo, one of these is for the exclusive use of Casa de Campo villa owners. The golf course is estimated to cost US$35-US$40 million dollars.

Preventing accidents in Easter
The National Police announced it will be placing patrol cars at strategic points along the main highways of the nation to force drivers to slow down and thus reduce the number of traffic accidents during the Easter long weekend. The Easter long weekend marks the opening of the beach season for Dominicans. It is the peak time for domestic travel in this country as Dominicans that commute to their home towns for the long weekend joint thousands on their way to vacations in beach and mountain resorts. The long weekend starts on Thursday, 9 April and continues through Sunday, 12 April.

Business spokesman asks government for self control
Celso Marranzini, the president of the largest business organization, the Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada (Conep) said that the government will have to restrain its spending to avoid pressures on the exchange market and an increase in interest rates. Furthermore, José Francisco Peña Gómez, who is running for mayor for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, said that excessive government spending on the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana political campaigns can be blamed in part for the drop in the value of the peso in regards to the US dollar. The Central Bank announced yesterday it was injecting US$50 million into the market which caused an immediate decline in the number of pesos needed to buy a dollar. The dollar had peaked at RD$15.25 last week. On Tuesday, 31 March commercial banks were buying dollars at RD$14.35-RD$14.65. Street money merchants were offering to pay up to RD$14.95 for the dollar.

Peña Gómez is bedridden
The local press reported that the candidate to mayor for Santo Domingo on the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) ballot, Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez is suffering from pharyngitis, and had been bedridden for several days as a result of a high fever. Peña has been treated with antibiotics and is recovering. Peña is scheduled to travel to the U.S. for his routine medical check up. The president of the PRD suffers from cancer of the pancreas.

New general manager at Inter-Continental Hotel
Alexander (Tony) Ruiz is the new general manager of the V Centenario Inter-Continental. He replaces Giancarlos Gelli, who will manage the Inter-Continental Valencia of Venezuela. Ruiz comes from the Inter-Continental Valencia. He is a 26-year career hotelier who has worked with the Inter-Continental hotel chain for over 10 years. Prior to his appointment to the Santo Domingo V Centenario Inter-Continental Hotel he has worked in Argentina, Venezuela, Aruba, Mexico and eight cities in the United States.

Fulgencio Espinal is discharged
The judge of the Fourth Penal Chamber of the National District discharged Fulgencio Espinal on grounds that there is insufficient proof to substantiate the government accusation of corruption while managing the National Lottery during the government of former President Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982-1986). Judge Pedro Pablo Jorge Núñez dismissed the charge that he had profited from the construction of the Club de Billeteros. Fulgencio Espinal was in exile for 10 years alleging political prosecution during the Balaguer governments that followed Jorge Blanco's turn in power. He returned to stand trial under the Fernández administration judiciary.

No merengue during Easter Weekend
The Comisión Nacional de Espectáculos Públicos y Radiofonía warned that merengue, salsa, bachata, rap, heavy rock and other lively beats are banned from being broadcast during the Easter long weekend. From Thursday, 9 April through Saturday 11 April at midnight, radio stations are ordered to restrict their transmissions to ballads, classical and sacred music. While this was a general practice several years back, in recent years the radio stations have switched their programming to include the more popular music. More so, the commission that regulates show business, TV and radio shows prohibited the passing on radio and television of advertisements promoting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Laureano Guerrero, director of the organization, said that stations should limit themselves to pass only advertisements that contain educational messages.

Puerto Rican wins first race at Las Americas Track
Puerto Rican Mandy González won the first place in the GTS category of the Shell Pan American GT held 28/29 March at the Las Americas Speedway along Las Americas Highway on the outskirts of Santo Domingo. The race marked the inaugural of the new track. Over 20 cars competed in the GT race. Competitors came from the United States and Latin America to participate in the fourth race of the Shell Pan American GT.
The winners of the GT category, in addition to González were W. Castro, R. Falgueras and Manolo Villa. Winners of the GTU category were Peter Moodie, Edison Lluch and Paco Aponte. In the GTE category: Pedro Sued, Jacinto Peynado, César Grullón. Winners of the RSI category: Jorge Leroux, Francisco Pérez and Roberto Campos. The RS2 was won by: Marcos Pichardo, John Fernández, Robert Bretón. The PM1 winners were: John Fernández, Afa Castillo and Julio Torres. The PM2 winners: Leo Pujols, William Garcia, Juanchi Cabrera.
Mandy González accumulated 55 points towards the Shell Panamerican championship. Axel Rivera 45, Manén Mendez 36, Manolo Villa 28 and Daniel Urrutia 24.
Manén Mendez leads the National Speed Racing Championship that also began with the races over the weekend at the Las Americas speedway.
The national championship is organized by the Club Dominicano de Corredores de Circuito, and its president Angel Tarrazo.
The Las Americas Speedway is considered one of the best race tracks in Latin America.

Dominicans get off to good start in Major League baseball
Some 61 Dominican baseball players are on the rosters of U.S. Major League teams, 40 of these regulars. The U.S. baseball season opened on 30 March. In the opening day, Henry Rodríguez of the Chicago Cubs batted for a homer that resulted in three runs. Sammy Sosa connected a double and a single. Stanley Javier, of the San Francisco Giants was responsible for three runs, and Aloberto Castillo decided the game in favor of the New York Mets. José Mesa was the winning pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.
Pedro Martínez, Boston
Armando Benítez, Baltimore,
Tony Fernández, Toronto
Juan Guzmán, Toronto
Manny Ramírez, Cleveland
Gerónimo Berroa, Cleveland
Bartolo Colon, Cleveland
José Mesa, Cleveland
José Offerman, Kansas City
Felix Martínez, Kansas City
Hipólito Pichardo, Kansas City
Alex Rodríguez, Seattle
Fernando Tatis, Texas
Antonio Alfonseca, Marlins
Felix Heredia, Marlins
Carlos Pérez, Expos
Vladimir Guerrero, Expos
Mel Rojas, New York
Henry Rodríguez, Cubs
Sammy Sosa, Cubs
Moisés Alou, Houston
José Lima, Houston
José Cabrera, Houston
José Mercedes, Milwaukee
Alberto Reyes, Milwayukee
José Guillén, Pittsburgh
Freddy García, Pittsburgh
Tony Batista, Arizona
Felix Rodríguez,Arizona
Neifi Pérez, Colorado
Pedro Astacio, Colorado
Raúl Mondesí, Dodgers
José Vizcaino, Dodgers
Ramón Martínez, Dodgers
Quilvio Veras, Padres
Deivi Cruz, Detroit
Stanley Javier, Giants
Julian Tavarez , Giants
Rafael Bournigal Oakland,
Yorkis Pérez, Philadelphia
David Ortiz , Minnesota
Wilson Delgado, Giants
Manny Aybar, St. Louis
Julio Santana, Texas,
Nelson Cruz, Cubs
Pedro Martínez Aquino, Detroit
Danny Bautista, Atlanta
Rafael Belliard, ATlanta
Domingo Cedeño, Texas
Luis Castillo, Marlins
Alberto Castillo, Mets
Norberto Martín, Anaheim
Angelo Encarnación, Anaheim
Tony Eusebio, Houston
Nelson Liriano, Colorado
Wilton Guerrero, Dodgers
Enrique Wilson, Cleveland
Alex Arias, Phialdelphia
Manny Alexander, Cubs
Sandy Martínez, Cubs
Juan Samuel, Toronto
Juan Encarnacion, Detroit
Miguel Tejada, Oakland
Pedro Borbon Jr., Atlanta
Darío Veras, San Diego
Hanley Frías, Arizona

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