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Daily News - 01 February 1999

Good news, prices of food products drop
Plantains, tomatoes, bananas, yucca, and sweet potatoes declined sharply in price late last week and steeper declines are expected for this week. Produce planted following Hurricane Georges is now being harvested and hitting city markets to the relief of housewives. Plantains are selling for RD$2.50 down from RD$7 following the hurricane. Tomatoes are selling for RD$3 the pound, down from RD$15 following the hurricane. The abundance of produce is resulting sometimes in prices lower than in the days prior to the hurricane.

1,000 children intoxicated from school milk
The Ministry of Education suspended the purchase of milk for public school breakfasts from its supplier, Nutrilac, a Santo Domingo-based company. The company's product was tested for bacterias after around 1,000 children were intoxicated in the Cibao Central region. The company opened its doors to technicians from the Ministry of Public Health and Education so these could determine what caused the problem. The industry serves 110,000 rations of milk a day to public schools. The Ministry said stricter quality controls would be established to avoid future intoxications. Minister of Education Amada Melo visited public hospitals in San Francisco de Macoris and La Vega where the children, affected by severe diarrhea, were interned. Most students were sent home in less than eight hours. The Ministry of Education distributes more than a million rations a day to public school children. The program, a major achievement of the Fernández administration, seeks to motivate parents to send their children to school.

President Fernández leaves for Caracas
President Leonel Fernández travels this afternoon to Caracas, Venezuela to participate in the inaugural of President-elect Hugo Chavez tomorrow. In Caracas he will meet with other regional statesmen, including many that will travel to Santo Domingo in April to attend the meeting of the Association of Caribbean States. Among heads of state that have confirmed their attendance to the inaugural are: President Carlos Menem of Argentina; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil; Hugo Banzer, Bolivia; Andrés Pastrana, Colombia; Miguel Angel Rodríguez, Costa Rica; Fidel Castro, Cuba; Jamil Mahuad, Ecuador; Alvaro Arzú, Guatemala; Janet Jagan, Guyana; Arnoldo Alemán, Nicaragua; Ernesto Peerez Balladares, Panama; Raúl Cubas, Paraguay; Alberto Fujimori, Perú; Julio María Sanguinetti, Uruguay; Basdeo Panday, Trinidad & Tobago; Suzanne Romer, Netherlands Antilles.
President Fernández will be accompanied by Minister Eduardo Latorre; Secretary of the Presidency, Danilo Medina and Administrative Secretary, Simón Lizardo; Insurance Superintendent Euclides Gutiérrez; Lomé IV program coordinator, Max Puig; Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations Minou Tavarez Mirabal and Dominican Ambassador in Venezuela, Antonio Ocaña.

Balaguer leaves Houston hospital
Former President Joaquín Balaguer abandoned the Methodist Hospital of Houston Texas after two weeks of intense medical check ups and a treatment to help him regain mobility in his legs. The 93-year old politician is a patient of Michael DeBakey. Dr. Balaguer traveled to Miami where he will continue to recover. No date has been given for his return to the DR. Dr. Balaguer's PRSC recently scored a major win with the election of PRSC senator Amable Aristy Castro to the post of secretary general with the support of the ruling PLD party. The win gives the PRSC a position of strength. The party lost the presidency, the congress, and most city governments. Despite being at the present time a minority party, the voters of the PRSC are expected to mean the difference between who wins the next elections.

PRD presidential pre-candidates could take control of party
The Listín Diario reported that the politicians that aspire to be chosen the presidential candidate for the PRD feel that the handling by the party presidency of the LMD conflict was not adequate, and led to the PRD losing the post of secretary general. Hoy newspaper in its page two analysis said the party would have fared better if it had let Julio Maríñez, the previous secretary general lobby for himself, than for the party leadership to have intervened as occurred.
Presidential pre-candidate Rafael Suberví Bonilla said over the weekend that the pre-candidates, including Hipólito Mejía, Milagros Ortíz, Hatuey Decamps and himself, should take over the party leadership, to more effectively defend party interests. He says the party has made several errors and favors moderation and transparency on behalf of the leadership of the party. Presidential pre-candidate Hipólito Mejía did not agree with Suberví "airing the party's dirty laundry in public."
Maríñez, representing the PRD, aspired to be re-elected, but was affected when PLD-PRSC coalition swayed PRD aldermen to their side. Political analysts say the party Presidium should have let Maríñez lobby before the situation got out of hand and PRD delegates being coaxed by attractive offers made by the opposition.
As a result, the PRD, in its intent not to loose the post, resorted to rule to increase the number of delegates so the vote would be in their favor, and the PRSC-PLD coalition responded with celebrating a separate election presided by the Minister of Interior of Police, who by law should preside the assembly.
The PRSC candidate, Amable Aristy Castro, was running against the rules, as he is not a university graduate nor had worked the necessary years in city government. In the assembly where Aristy was elected, the rules were changed to allow a person who had presided the National Senate to occupy the post.
As a result, two secretary generals were elected, but only one has a budget, the one elected by the PLD-PRSC coalition. The treasurer of the nation says he will be able to coordinate the use of the RD$1,600 million budget of the League.
Meanwhile, Amable Aristy Castro has yet to resign from his post as Senator for La Altagracia.
The explanation of why the PLD favored the PRSC can be found in simple mathematics. To win the presidential election in year 2000 a presidential candidate needs 50%+1 of the vote. To achieve that amount of votes, the votes of the PRSC will be essential, and thus the PLD is banking on maintaining the favor of the PRSC in order to again win the presidency in year 2000. Dr. Balaguer's support to today President Fernández in 1996 was essential to his winning the presidency.
The PLD also expects the PRD, a party where confrontation is the norm, will not be able to maintain a unified front, with the individual pre-candidates fostering a division that will affect their chances of winning the presidency in year 2000.
The PRD, considered the political party with the most followers, controls the Junta Central Electoral, the board that organizes the elections. The PLD and the PRSC have rejected the unilateral election of the judges of the JCE by the PRD majority senate, breaking from the formula of choosing these by consensus that brought about the successful elections of 1996.
The PRD also rules the Senate, and has vowed not to pass any initiatives sent by the Presidency.

Priest recommends putting politicians on bread and water
Dominican Priest Luis Rosario, coordinator of the Pastoral Juvenil, told Hoy newspaper that Dominican politicians should be locked in a room with only bread and water so they can come to their senses. He said this worked when the cardinals could not make up their mind as to whom to choose for Pope. While the politicians cheer their own on, the majority of Dominican people are irked by the ambitions and irrational attitude of the local politicians that bring about senseless actions that are contrary to the well-being of most of the population.

Mega busses to cover city route on peak hours
President Leonel Fernández rode as a passenger on Sunday in one of the 18 new busses with capacity for 180 persons that are circulating on the 27 de Febrero Avenue route, from 30 de Marzo to Avenida Luperón. He boarded in front of the National Palace at 11:20 am traveling to the Plaza de la Bandera where he got off at 11:45 am. Some 57 persons can ride seated, with another 123 standing. The busses will bring relief to travelers on peak hour times. The President was accompanied by Eng. Hamlet Hermann Pérez of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) who announced that the Avenida Máximo Gómez bus route should start 14 February. Busses will circulate from the Centro de los Heroes north to Villa Mella.

Carnival activities
Casa de Teatro is opening an exhibition of works of art commemorative to Dominican carnival. Exhibiting are many well known Dominican painters, including Cándido Bidó, Jorge Pineda, Antonio Guadalupe, José Morillo, Fermín Ceballo, Paul Leonor, Limbert Vilorio, Polibio Díaz, Pascal Macariello, Daniel de los Santos, Marcos Lora, Marino Hernández, Domingo Batista, José Mercader, Paul Giudicelli, Dionisio Banco, Silvano Lora, Bismarck Victoria and Miguel Ramírez. The exhibition opens 3 February at 8 pm at Casa de Teatro, in the Colonial City. Casa de Teatro has requested that those attending the opening of the exhibition attend dressed in carnival costumes.
For those who are not aware, the best Dominican carnival takes place, not in Santo Domingo, but in the city of La Vega, about an hour's drive from Santo Domingo. EnviTravel Tours, a local travel agency is offering excursions to see the carnival parades of "diablos cojuelos" with tours departing 14, 21 and 28 February from Santo Domingo. The excursion price of RD$325 includes round-trip transport, visit to the Santo Cerro Church and the old city of La Vega, open bar, lunch at the La Vega Country Club, tee shirts, and watching of the carnival parade in the afternoon. Departures are at 8:30 am, returning to Santo Domingo at 9:30 pm. Those taking the excursion should preferably wear two pairs slacks or jeans because the "diablos cojuelos" mischievously will thrust their balloons against those watching. For more information, call 565-5558 or email [email protected]
Mercedería Dumé, S.A. advertises they have all necessary to put together true Dominican carnival costumes. This store that caters to seamstresses is located at Av. 278 de Febrero 384 corner Dr. Fernando Defilló, Tel. 565-6776

American Ballet Theater dancers to perform in Santo Domingo
The American Ballet Theater of New York will hold a benefit for the Instituto Oncológico Dr. Heriberto Pieter and the Residencia Geriatrica Dr. Carl Georg of San Pedro de Macoris at the National Theater. The benefit is scheduled for Thursday, 25 February at 8:30 pm. Eight dancers from the American Ballet Theater will be on stage. Coming is Angel Corella, who at 23 years old is compared to Nureyev and Baryshnikov. Others are Yan Chen, Giuseppe Picone, Keith Roberts, Irina Dvorovenko, Carmen Corella, Erica Comejo and Herman Comejo. Corella has starred as Basilio in "Don Quixote", Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet," Albrecht in "Giselle" and Soler in "La Bayadere", among other American Ballet Theater performances.

Licey Tigers to represent DR in Caribbean Series
The Tigres del Licey, the Santo Domingo team that had finished the regular series in third place, won the right to represent the DR in the Caribbean Series on Friday evening, 29 January, to a full house of some 23,000 fans. The Series went to eight games, as the city rival teams Leones del Escogido and the Tigres del Licey battled each other game after game. The Licey defeated the Escogido Lions thanks to a four-run rally in the ninth inning, winning 10 to 7. The Licey had been tagging 6-7. Russell Branyan was the hero of the evening, batting a home run with three men on base.

The series was described as the most exciting of the 16 championships won by the Licey in the history of Dominican baseball. Ronnie Belliard was chosen the MVP, of the series.

The Licey, the Dominican team with most championships, had not won a championship since 1993-94. In Puerto Rico, the Licey seeks to win its 12th Caribbean Series championship. The Caribbean League has been playing since 1970. The Caribbean Series opens Tuesday, 2 February with games until a winner is chosen on 8 February.

Manny Aybar, the pitcher with the best record this season, will start for the Licey Tigers against the Venezuela in the opening game of the Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, announced team manager Dave Jauss.

The Licey celebrated yesterday, with a long caravan of blue-flag bearing fans that paraded along the Avenida del Puerto, John F. Kennedy, 27 de Febrero, Avenida Duarte and Malecón avenues.

The Caribbean series opens Tuesday, 2 February at through 8 February.

The Licey roster in Puerto Rico is as follows:

Catchers are: Henry Mercedes, Jorge Brito and Kelly Ramos.

Infielders: Luis Otañez, David Ortiz, Luis Castillo, Adrian Beltré, Neifi Pérez, Ronnie Belliard, D'Angelo Jiménez.

Outfield: Luis Polonia, Manny Martínez, Juan Encarnación, Israel Alcántara.

Pitchers: Manuel Aybar, Darío Peerez, Miguel Batista, Ramón Ortiz, Jim Dedrick, Estevan Yan, Héctor Almonte, Anthony Chavez. Yorkis Peerez, Félix Heredia, Valerio de los Santos and Pedro Martínez Aquino.

Team manager Rafael Landestoy.

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