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Daily News - 10 January 1999

Prime Minister of Taiwan visits
The Prime Minister of Taiwan, Vincent C. Siew is expected in Santo Domingo today. He comes on a state visit that will last through 13 January. He is expected with a 40-member delegation of Chinese officers and businessmen that are interested in investing in the DR. The visit has the objective of strengthening traditional friendship ties between the two nations. The DR has always voted in favor of Taiwan in the United Nations. During the delegation's stay, mission members will meet with President Leonel Fernández, Vice President Jaime David Fernández, Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre, members of the National Congress, and leaders of the importing and exporting community. The wives of the visiting delegates will make donations to the National Children's Committee and the Center for the Prevention of Cancer. Members of the committee include, aside from Minister Vincent C. Siew, his wife, Su-hsien Siew Hu; Minister of Foreign Relations Chih Chiang Hu and his wife Chao-Ling Hu Shaw; Minister of Economy Chih-Kang Wang and his wife Ye-li Wang Sung; Minister of Office of Information of the Government, Chien-jen Chen, the president of the Agriculture Council of the Executive Branch Twokwei Peng, and ambassador Lensong Koo, among others.

RD$400 million for Santiago
The Ministry of Public Works announced the Fernández government will be investing RD$400 million starting this Monday in public works benefiting Santiago de los Caballeros, the nation's second largest city. Planned to start this year is the construction of the Avenida de Circunvalación, that will detour traffic bound to Puerto Plata and northern cities that today has to pass through the congested center of the city. The moneys will also be used to expand the Santiago-Navarrete highway (leading onto Puerto Plata) to four lanes from the present two lanes. Also contemplated are the construction of three city health centers and the reconstruction of the Olympic Pool of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra.

Alegría gets away again
The elusive Victor Alegría has done it again. He managed to escape from the surveillance of National Drug Control Department (DNCD) agents at the DNCD Santo Domingo headquarters. The entire staff on duty at the station is under investigation. He "escaped" jumping the walls of the jail located between Av. Máximo Gómez and Av. México after a "fight" with officers on duty. Alegría is sought in extradition by the US government. He was requested last November by the US government. He was first detained at the DNCD in 1994 when he returned here evading US justice. He is accused of killing a Dominican minor and of being part of a drug-dealing gang that killed several opposing gang members. Last year, he managed to be released legally by an "error" incurred by the Attorney General's office, after which he was arrested again in December. He was detained at DNCD since last December.

Police Chief heads raid on barrios
Police Chief José Aníbal Sanz Jiminián personally directed a raid on several uptown slum barrios seeking to arrest the bandits that had brought a wave of violence to these areas. Following a week of undercover surveillance of the areas by some 1,000 agents, at 3 am of Saturday, 9 January, Major General Sanz Jiminián and a contingent of more than 2,000 superior officers and corps raided the barrios of Cristo Rey, Villas Agrícolas, Capotillo and Gualey, Simón Bolívar and Gualey. There, they arrested dozens of suspected delinquents, including the heads of the Los Pepes, Los Pinos and Fujimori gangs, and frisked thousands of others searching for weapons. The surprise assault sought to counteract alliances of the police of the area with the gangs, denounced by Catholic Church parishioners.
During the operative, the Police chief picked up the entire staffs of the Police stations, replacing these with others. In charge of Cristo Rey was placed Colonel Jose Miguel Betances Ureña, a lawyer, journalist and policeman who served as spokesman for the North Coast Command of the Police, based in Santiago and who at the time of his appointment had been in charge of the Police station at the Palacio de Justicia of Ciudad Nueva.
Major General Sanz Jiminián said the staff of the barrio police stations would be replaced frequently so there is no time for the gangs to reach agreements with corrupt police officers. Investigations into past officers will take place, also, he said. The Police chief told agents to not be lenient with delinquents, but neither to mistreat these. He emphasized all arrested be allowed a phone call to a relative or lawyer.
Sanz Jiminián said that it is unnecessary to militarize the barrios, as was suggested by the Catholic Church. During his visit to the barrios, he spoke with the residents who received the Police with cheers.
Several, though, were not optimistic, saying that many of the heavy-duty gangsters had been notified of the raid before hand and got away. Others said that the delinquents are arrested, but later promptly released by the judiciary. Sanz Jiminián replied, "Well, we fulfill our duty by submitting them to the judiciary."
Cardinal Nicolás López Rodríguez said the police measure to raid the barrios was timid. He said that the violence and criminality the gangs and delinquents have brought to barrios will not be eliminated with "contemplations, kind words or advice." "Those people (the gangs and delinquents) are not at that level", he said.
Assistant Attorney General officers participated in the arrest of the suspect delinquents.
The barrios have been under siege by the gangs. Shoot outs have resulted in the death of innocent bystanders in recent weeks.

Active general detained in case of disappeared professor
Air Force General Leonardo Reyes Bencosme was arrested last week, for investigations into the death of university professor Narciso González in 1994. Reyes Bencosme, a former pilot of then President Joaquín Balaguer, was chief of the A-2 Unit of Intelligence of the Air Force at the time of the disappearance of González.
The judge in charge of the case, Dr. Eduardo Sánchez Ortíz has banned those under investigation for the crime from leaving the country while the investigations take place, but Reyes Bencosme is the first active general to be sent to jail. Among those that cannot leave the country are Constantino Matos Villanueva, former Minister of the Armed Forces at the time; and Rafael Guerrero Peralta, chief of the Police at the time.

The cost of land in Santo Domingo
Prime real estate values in Santo Domingo have soared. The Listín Diario in its Sunday "Dinero" economic section reports that the most pricey land in the city is located in the so-called "polígono central" of the city, the commercial-residential sector from Naco to Winston Churchill, north of 27 de Febrero. Land there sells for RD$7,000-RD$10,000 the square meter. The most pricey residential real estate is available along the Mirador Norte (Av. Anacaona), where it sells for RD$4,000-RD$5,000, or in Arroyo Hondo for RD$3,500 the square meter. In Gazcue and Los Cacicazgos, land is selling for RD$3,000-RD$3,500. Other pricey areas are El Millón selling for RD$2,500 the square meter, or the Zona Universitaria for RD$2,500-RD$3,000, and even Miraflores, RD$2,500. Prolongación Independencia land is going for RD$800-RD$1,200, and land in the Zona Oriental goes for RD$400-RD$2,000 the square meter.
The report says that the macroeconomic stability and the boom in commercial activity are unequivocal signs that these are goods times to invest in property. The newspaper says that investors should consider areas adjacent to the pricey areas, and also recommends investments in the Malecón, the city's Caribbean-fronting boulevard.
For approximate US dollar figures of these property values, divide the above mentioned figures roughly by 15.

PLD and PRD negotiations taking place
Negotiations have stepped up between the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) and the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), the largest opposition party. The PRD wants to retain the post of secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League and to do so needs the support of the PLD. Apparently, if the PLD supports the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, it is probable that that party's candidate, Senator Amable Aristy Castro could win the post. The post is sought because the secretary general has lots of say in the management of the 4% total of the National Budget that is allotted to the city halls all around the country. Congress wants to increase this allotment to 10%. The PRD has majority of mayors of the city halls, but the way the vote system is set up, this does not automatically grant it the post of secretary general.
Political commentators say that the PLD could support the aspirations of present secretary general Julio Maríñez to be re-elected, if the PRD supports bills being sent to Congress this week. The government needs the support of the PRD to pass economic reform bills and the recently completed Central American Free Trade Agreement, as well as several loan agreements that have been signed with multilateral lending organizations.
Furthermore, the PLD's leading strategist, Danilo Medina, Secretary of the Presidency, who was scheduled to travel to Europe with President Leonel Fernández on Tuesday, declined to make the trip in order to be present during the negotiations.
The election of the secretary general will take place this 26 January.

President: PRD rejects proposals but presents no alternatives
President Leonel Fernández, said on Sunday, that the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano has closed the door to all initiatives the government has presented to improve the quality of life of Dominicans. He complained that while rejecting the proposals of the government, the PRD has not presented any better alternatives. Fernández said that the PRD rejects constitutional reform, the National Dialogue, tariffs and income tax reform. President Fernández spoke during the formal release of the first books of the "Vanguardia del Pueblo" series at the Centro de Eventos y Exposiciones in Santo Domingo organized by the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. Former President and party leader, Juan Bosch was present at the event.

41-year old Dominican league home run record tied
Escogido Lions ball player Freddy García tied the 41-year old Dick Stuart home run record on Friday evening. He hit the home run in the Julián Javier Stadium of San Francisco de Macorís in the game his team won 6-4 over the Gigantes del Nordeste. He has only two more games in which to play to try to break the Dominican winter baseball record set by Stuart when playing for the Aguilas Cibaeñas in the 1957-58 season. Of the home runs batted by García, seven have been against the Gigantes del Nordeste pitchers, four against Aguilas pitchers, and three against Licey pitchers. In the history of Dominican winter season baseball, only 17 players have hit more than 10 home runs in a season.
García is scheduled to play tonight in Santiago de los Caballeros in the game against the Aguilas Cibaeñas at 8 pm.

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