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Daily News - 13 April 1999

More on the visit of President Zedillo of Mexico
President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, during his official visit to the DR, 14-16 April, will sign three agreements in health, agriculture and social security. President Zedillo will receive military honors at the National Palace, instead of upon his arrival to Las Americas International Airport as had been customary. Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre said that the change in the protocol was in order to be up to date with the times. At the National Palace, the visiting statesman will introduce his accompanying staff and President Fernández will present his cabinet. After which, they will meet alone, calling in government ministers as is necessary. President Zedillo will then attend a luncheon held in his honor by the Consejo de la Empresa Privada, the largest business organization. He will address Dominican businessmen at the event. He will also attend the placing into circulation of the book Mexico-Dominican Republic: Historic and Contemporary Perspectives, that is published by the National Book Fair that opens in Santo Domingo 22 April. He will inaugurate the exhibition of Mexican art, with works by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiro, Jose Luis Cuevas, Raúl Anguiano and José Guadalupe Posada. On Thursday, 15 April, he will attend a gala reception at the National Palace in the evening. On Friday, 16 April he will visit the City Hall of Santo Domingo and then the National Congress where he will speak to the National Assembly, where deputies and senators will gather. On Friday, 16 April, President Zedillo will join members statesmen from the Caribbean Basin that are coming for the Association of Caribbean States Summit of Heads of Government and State of the Association.
President Zedillo is traveling with his wife, Nilda Patricia Velazco.

1,500 security agents to care for visiting Presidents
More than 1,500 security agents have been assigned by the Dominican government to guarantee the safety of the 25 visiting chiefs of state that are coming for the Association of Caribbean States meeting. It is expected that the security contingent of President Fidel Castro of Cuba will be the largest. The statesmen are scheduled to arrive on Friday, 16 April for the one-day work session on Saturday, April 17. The event will open at the National Theater on Friday at 7:30 pm, with the work session taking place at the Hotel Jaragua on Saturday, 17 April. The official photograph of the event will be taken at 8 am at the Museo de las Casas Reales. The statesmen will have lunch at the Salon de las Monedas of the Central Bank from 1 to 3 pm. They also will hold a private meeting at the Salon Americo Lugo of the Auditorium of the Central Bank. The 6:30 pm reading of the Declaration of Santo Doming will take place at the Sala Privada of the newly remodeled Ministry of Foreign Relations. President Fernández will host a Dominican Night in honor of the visiting statesmen and their wives at the Fortaleza Ozama in the Colonial City at 8:30 pm. The statesmen will depart on Sunday, 18 April.

19 companies qualify for electricity bid
The Comisión de Reforma de la Empresa Pública, the Dominican government commission in charge of privatizing public enterprises, said that of 43 companies that participated in the process to capitalize the Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE) three distribution and sales companies, and two generation companies, 19 qualified to participate in the final bid. The pre-selected companies are:
Electricité de France, Enron Caribe, Gener, S.A., Amoco Power Development Co., Ltd., Iberdrola, Unión Fenosa, Coastal Power Dominicana Generation, Ltd. Also Empresas Emel/PP Y L Global, Endesa Internacional, Constellation Power International Investments, Southern Energy, Inc., AES Distribución Dominicana, Tractebel, S.A., ABB Energy Ventures, Corporación EDC, SACA, Consorcio IES-Luz y Fuerza, Seaboard Corporation, Houston Technologies and Consorcio Sudamericano.
The bid will take place on Thursday, 15 April.
The companies must bid a minimum of US$53.million for 50% of the shares of Distribuidora Norte (Cibao provinces. 306,206 clients and 150,000 users that do not pay for the service); US$129.2 million for Distribución Eléctrica Sur (Av. Máximo Gómez of Santo Domingo to the most southern province of the DR. 250,561 clients and 160,000 users that do not pay for the service) and US$125.3 million for Comercialización Este (Av. Maximo Gomez in Santo Domingo and all eastern provinces. 258,554 clients and 180,000 users get free service.)
The bid for the generation contracts is expected to take place in May. The minimums are US$128.1 million for Itabo and US$163.6 million for Haina.
The areas of transmission and hydroelectric energy generation will remain totally owned by the state.

Party and politician approval and disapproval rates
The Dominican people's disapproval of the constant bickering among politicians for their own interests is reflected in the results of a 13-19 March survey carried out by Hamilton & Staff-Hoy newspaper. 1,800 Dominicans of voting age were asked: "Not taking into account who you will vote for, with which of the political parties do you identify with?". The results, compared to an earlier November 1998 survey, showed the PRD rating declined from 43 to 38%, the PLD declined from 34 to 29% and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano declined from 14 to 13%. At the same time, the number of voters that do not identify with any of the political parties increased from 9 to 20%, when compared to results of the November survey.
On an individual basis, the candidates fared as follows:
Pre-candidate Rejection Rate Approval Rate
Hipólito Mejía 34% 62%
Milagros Ortiz Bosch 42% 54%
José Rafael Abinader 77% 12%
Hatuey Decamps 68% 23%
Rafael Suberví Bonilla 63% 30%
Joaquín Balaguer 54% 43%
Jacinto Peynado 61% 34%
Carlos Morales Troncoso 62% 23%
Danilo Medina 44% 42%
Jaime David Fernández 46% 50%
Felix Jiménez 32% 55%

PRD convention not being postponed
The president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, lawyer Enmanuel Esquea denied press reports that the PRD convention to choose the candidate of the party in the 2000 presidential elections would be postponed for June. Party president Esquea said it is not true the convention will be postponed for supposed irregularities in the Programa de Revision y Apertura del Registro de Militantes (PRAMIL), the list of voters. Esquea said the convention will go as planned on 16 May.

Plastic surgeons interrogated but released
The District Attorney Office questioned physicians Edgar and Juan Francisco Contreras for three hours for information regarding the death of journalist Isabel Vargas who underwent plastic surgery. The physicians were not arrested. They refused to speak to the press. They were scheduled to return today for more questioning. The District Attorney's office has ordered an autopsy of the body of Isabel Vargas, but the Pathology Institute says that the funding has not yet been approved for the later.

Poll shows Santo Domingo residents happy about changes in their city
The Listín Diario-Sigma Dos poll carried out among 500 residents in the National District showed that 77.1% of the population is satisfied with the new OMSA-AMET bus service. 71% said the tunnels and new corridors have considerably improved traffic in the capital city. 74% supports removing shacks and street vendors that make pedestrian's lives difficult. 60% of those interviewed said they were pleased with the public works program carried out by the government in the city of Santo Domingo.

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