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Daily News - 18 June 1998

President Fernández visits Haiti today
President Leonel Fernández's trip to Port-au-Prince is estimated to cost near US$1 million, according to a report in El Siglo. The Dominican state is covering all the expenses of the trip, with the exception of the President's hotel suite at El Rancho. The suite reportedly costs US$350 per day. The President will arrive to Haiti on the presidential helicopter.
The expenses of the trip are related to transport, intelligence and security logistics, lodging and diet allowances of the more than 150 person delegation. The mission was preceded by the arrival of the Mixed Dominican-Haitian Commission that arrived on Monday, 15 June for previous discussions. The Dominican government is paying the bill of the Hotel El Rancho where the bilateral commission is meeting. Some 70 members of Dominican security are accompanying the President.
The official delegation is made up by Admiral Ruben Paulino Alvarez, Minister of the Armed Forces; Amable Aristy Castro, president of the Senate; Rafael Peguero Méndez, president of the Chamber of Deputies; Eduardo Latorre, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Danilo Medina, Secretary of the Presidency; Felix Jiménez, Minister of Tourism; Daniel Toribio, Minister of Finances; Luis Manuel Bonetti, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona; Minister of Education; Frank Rodríguez, Minister of Agriculture; Carlos Dore, Minister of and director of the Department of Information, Analysis and Strategic Programming of the Presidency; Rafael Camilo; director of the National Office of Planning; Laura Faxas, Dominican ambassador before the UNESCO; Edilberto Cabral, rector of the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo; General Luis Humeau Hidalgo, director of the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas; General Manuel de Jesus Florentino, chief of the military corps of the President; Victor Manuel Crispín, assistant to the President. Special guests are José Israel Cuello, Antonio Lockward Artiles, Carlos Castillo Pimentel.
 
The presidential agenda
The Listín Diario reported that the President's agenda is as follows:
Arrival at 5 pm to the Port-au-Prince International Airport where President Fernández will be received by President Rene Preval. At 7 pm, President Fernández and President Preval will hold their first meeting at the Haitian presidential offices. Signing of the agreements and closing of the III Meeting of the Mixed Bilateral Dominican-Haitian Commission.
That evening, the Dominican President will meet with foreign diplomats stationed in Haiti, and then attend a reception offered by President Preval in his honor. President Fernández will be decorated with the highest honor of the Haitian government that evening.
On Friday, 19 at 8 am President Fernández will have breakfast with former President Jean Bertrand Aristide at the Hotel El Rancho. Later in separate sessions at the hotel, he will meet former President Leslie F. Manigat, former Prime Minister Marc Bazim, and politician leaders Serge Guilles, Evans Paul, Stanley Lucas, Gerard Pierre-Charles, Rosmy Smarth, Victor Benoit, Raymaund Bernardin and Jesnet Ponad. Subsequently, he will visit a historic mausoleum in Haiti and will tour that nation's national pantheon.
At 1 pm he will have a meeting with businessmen in Haiti at the Hotel Ritz Kinam.
In the afternoon, Presidents Fernández and Preval will meet again at the National Palace, and issue a joint statement. That evening a reception will be offered by President Fernández at the Dominican Embassy in Haiti.
At 8 pm on Saturday, Fernández will participate in a private luncheon at the Hotel El Rancho. He will return to the DR that evening.
Channel 4 , Radio Televisión Dominicana will transmit live the activities of the President in Haiti. The state television station tonight at 7:30 pm the signing of agreements and at 8 pm the decoration of the Dominican statesman by the Haitian governments.
President Fernández is the first Dominican statesman to sleep on Haitian territory. When Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina visited Haiti, for security reasons, he preferred to sleep on his ship that anchored outside of Port-au-Prince.
 
An impoverished Haiti
El Siglo highlighted that the Dominican statesman will be visiting a nation with a subsistence economy, based on 675,000 merchants, Madame Sarah, with a very small industrial park, an unemployment rate of 80%, and an income per capita of US$250 a year, the lowest in Latin America. He will be in a country with a infant mortality of 10.72, contrasting with a birth rate of 34.10%, and a community where the inhabitants have a life expectancy of 45 years. Politically, he will encounter a very divided society, under the almost absolute control of the Lavalas groups of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, whose interests have impeded the election of a prime minister for over a year.
At the same time, President Fernández will encounter an economy where there is a flourishing banking community that operates with interest rates of 30% per year. The flourishing of the financial sector is attributed to money laundering and the effects of illicit drug contraband.

Frank Rainieri chosen CHA hotelier of the year
The Caribbean Hotel Association has awarded Dominican hotelier, Frank Rainieri the "Hotelier of the Year" award. This is the first time that the prize is given to a Dominican, and the first time a Hispanic hotelier from Spanish Caribbean is chosen. The award will be given in the closing of the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference that is taking place in Nassau, Bahamas. The award is the most important recognition given to a Caribbean region hotelier and one of the most important awards in world tourism.
This is the second time that Rainieri receives a recognition from the CHA. In 1995 his resort, Punta Cana Beach Resort was recognized as a model for sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.
Rainieri has been president of the Association of Hotels of the East, president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association and president of the American Chamber of Commerce.
During the same meeting, Marino Ginebra, president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association, was voted vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association on the new board elected at the CHIC conference.
Both choices are a recognition of the integration of the Dominican hotel industry to the Caribbean hotel industry. The DR has the most hotel rooms of any Caribbean Hotel Association member nation.

Presidente beer Latin music extravaganza
Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, the manufacturer of Presidente Beer, is spending upwards of US$1 million to contract top notch stars of Latin contemporary music for the Festival Presidente de Música Latina that opens 26 June in Santo Domingo. The beer company is expecting upwards of 120,000 people to attend the three days of the Festival that will be held at the Olympic Stadium of this capital city. The Festival is known as the most important music festival in the Caribbean.
According to a report in Listín Diario newspaper, Ricky Martin has been paid US$225,000; Juan Gabriel, US$125,000; Alejandro Fernández US$110,000; Grupo Maná US$100,000; Carlos Vives US$65,000; Azucar Moreno, US$35,000; Grupo Niche and Jerry Rivera US$20,000; Victor Manuel US$16,000. The amounts do not include allotments to cover local expenses.
The Listín Diario reports that local merengue stars that will be performing in the Festival - Milly Quezada, Fernando Villalona and Hermanos Rosario - will be paid US$10,000 for their performance.

Sammy Sosa could break George Bell's record
El Siglo sports editor, Bienvenido Rojas forecast that Dominican baseball slugger Samuel Sosa, who hit his 25th homerun of the season yesterday, could break the record number of homeruns batted by a Dominican in the Major Leagues in a season. Bell has the record for homeruns in a season for a Dominican, with 47 homeruns in the 1987 baseball season. Alex Rodríguez, who plays for the Seattle Mariners, could also beat this record.
As of June, Sosa had accumulated 12 homeruns and is only two runs away from the Chicago Cubs record of homeruns/season established by Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
Sosa, who has accumulated 222 homeruns in his career, is only 43 behind the leader of the category, George Bell.

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