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Daily News - 12 October 1999

Lukewarm support for strike during morning hours
The Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares, Choferiles y Sindicales called for an indefinite strike today. The strike does not have popular support as there is a general consensus that past strikes have resolved nothing. The strike's effects are expected to only last in any form until tomorrow.
Nevertheless, as is customary, those that did not have to leave their homes, or who could postpone doing certain things did so, which resulted in 25% less traffic on city streets than normal. As the day picks up, the activity tends to increase but may be quiet in the evening again. Santo Domingo's active night life should be back to normal tomorrow.
The call to strike mainly affects shoppers and stores, and other activities that are not priority, such as restaurant going. It also affects construction works, where for the most part workers are paid per day worked. With the exception of isolated incidents of confrontations with the police in uptown areas of Santo Domingo, strikes are peaceful in the DR. In fact, they are a good day to get government paperwork done in order to avoid normal long lines.
"Conchos" (that pick up several passengers along their routes) and minibus transportation operation was at a minimum during the first hours of the strike. But the OMSA public transport buses, operated as usual.
The OMSA buses make a big difference in the organization's call to strike. In the past, the organization controlled most transport unions.
Most private schools were open, but the Dominican Association of Professors (which has called three strikes in less than a month of class time for public schools), ordered its members to not go to work.
For most businesses, including free zones, it was a normal working day, albeit others had a quiet day. "People are just not into it," said Rear Admiral Sigfrido Pared Perez. Nevertheless, the Minister of Interior and Police, Norge Botello said that the government had doubled police and military stationed in uptown areas where public protesters could get violent. He said the government would not heed to pressure groups of any sort. The strike organizers are protesting the government's 20% increase in fuel prices and the increase in the exchange rate commission that will make imports more expensive.
The political commission of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, supported the strike as a way to pressure the government to lower the price of fuel and eliminate the increase in the exchange rate commission that makes imports more expensive.
The National Council of Business (CONEP), in a meeting of 61 business associations, rejected the strike but requested that the government reconsider its decision to increase the exchange rate commission. Celso Marranzini, president of CONEP, said they are requesting a meeting with the governor of the Central Bank to present other options.

Major overpasses should be ready by February
Deputy Minister of Public Works Claudia Franchesca de los Santos said that the overpasses under construction by the government on Avenida 27 de Febrero and Avenida John F. Kennedy will be completed by February of next year. The construction of those overpasses has brought chaos to city traffic. She said that the constant rains that have been falling in Santo Domingo have delayed the completion of the works. It has been raining for short periods almost every day in Santo Domingo for almost a month.

Welfare moneys fed out to employees at Municipality
El Siglo newspaper publishes today that the welfare department of the Municipality of Santo Domingo, created by the present municipal authorities to pay for schooling, food programs and housing for indigent residents of the city, has served other purposes. Apparently, instead of aiding indigent residents of Santo Domingo in general, the department has preferred to use its funds to pay for a hefty payroll of PRD partisans that make up the department's bureaucracy. The newspaper points out that the department, which began with the city government of Johnny Ventura (August 1998-August 2002), paid its newly appointed employees RD$15.6 million in wages from January to June 1999 alone. The department is head by deputy major Peggy Cabral, widow of the former leader of the PRD, the late Jose Francisco Peña Gómez. So far the department has distributed only RD$1.5 million in assistance to the poor and RD$757,000 in subsidies to city institutions. The newspaper points out that over 2,000 requests from persons with AIDS, handicapped persons, and senior citizens sit unanswered in the files of the new department.

Hamlet Hermann to run for Mayor in 2002?
One of the most admired and successful figures of the present government, Hamlet Hermann told El Siglo newspaper that he would consider running for mayor of Santo Domingo in the next municipal election. This is scheduled for May 2002.
Hermann is credited with organizing public transport in the city of Santo Domingo. He directs the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET). His traffic agents also have organized traffic in general and have gotten a good reputation for offering a service and not being corrupt.
He said he would accept to run for mayor if he were chosen by the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD).
Hermann was born in Santo Domingo and says he suffers when he sees how many city areas are deteriorating. He says one of the problems with the city government is that it has been run either by politicians that aspire to run for President or by show business people.
"My municipal government would be like what I am developing here at AMET. I would not have commitments with the party, and would work under my own conditions," he said.
He said that the city municipality has to be turned around completely, leaving aside political party complacency and the massive placement of employees. He said he would make it obligatory to fulfill municipal laws.
The Partido de la Liberación Dominicana has never had a city mayor. The mayors of Santo Domingo since 1966 have been:

Ramón Baez Acosta 1966-68
Pedro Franco Badía 1978-82
Jose Francisco Peña Gómez 1982-86 (presidential candidate)
Rafael Suberví Bonilla 1986-90 (presidential candidate hopeful)
Rafael Corporán 1990-94 (successful TV show producer)
Rafael Suberví Bonilla 1994-98 (presidential candidate hopeful)
Juan de Dios Ventura 1998-2002 (leading orchestra band director)

Manuel Ant. Jiménez 1968-70
Manuel Ant Jiménez 1970-72
Rafael Estrella Rojas 1972-74
Rafael Estrella Rojas 1974-78

Exchange rate goes up
Commercial banks were paying RD$15.72-RD$15.75, to the dollar up 15 centavos from the RD$15.60 level prior to the announcement of the increase in the exchange rate commission. The exchange rate commission is charged to those purchasing dollars in the banking system. News reports say that dollars are being sold in the system for about RD$16.85, including the exchange commission. The government also announced that the Customs House will be charging the difference to those importers that cannot present proof they have paid the exchange rate commission for imported goods. One businessman said that importers would get around the measure by declaring lower values for the imported goods.

Coral Canoa Beach Hotel opening
Coral Hotel & Resort, a Dominican hotel chain, announces the opening of its Coral Canoa Beach Hotel & Spa. The resort is on Dominicus beach, in La Romana. Built at a cost of US$30 million, the resort will operate under the 24-hour all-included system. The 532 rooms of the hotel are located in buildings of two and three floors. Guests can stay at 476 superior and deluxe rooms with either beach or garden view, 40 junior suites, 16 penthouse suites and four villas of one bedroom, jacuzzi and terrace. Julio Llibre, president of the hotel group, made the announcement. The Coral Canoa Beach Hotel & Spa is one of four resorts that will be operating on Dominicus Beach as of this winter. The others are Viva Dominicus, Dominicus Palace (opening this winter), Grand Dominicus for about 2,500 rooms in total.

Pedro Martinez does it again
The Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox final game was tied 8-8, and then Boston manager Jimy Williams crossed his fingers and sent Pedro Martínez to the mound in the fourth inning. Boston fans welcomed him in with a long standing ovation. The American League's Cy Young sure winner pitched six hitless innings Monday night key to carry the Red Sox to a 12-8 win and to the American League Championship Series.
When Martínez was called in, the game looked like it would be a repeat of the earlier 23-7 slugfest. The US press described the first three innings of the game as "batting practice" for both teams. Cleveland's Charles Nagy and Boston's Bret Saberhagen, both working on only three days' rest, had nothing in the ball.
Then Pedro Martínez entered the game. "Pedro obviously was the big difference in this game tonight," said Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove. "There was a lot of lumber being swung early in the game and the difference was Pedro came in and shut us down."
Martinez was the best pitcher in baseball this season, leading the major leagues with a 23-4 record and 2.07 ERA while striking out a career-high 313 batters.
Troy O'Leary supplied the offense for the Red Sox. In the seventh, he snapped the 8-8 tie with a three-homer. Given the cushion, Martinez took the Red Sox home from there, pitching six no-hitter innings for Boston's first win in a postseason series since 1986.
Martinez had left game one of the series with a strained back muscle, and Boston was all but counted out. Boston lost the first two games, winning the next three to win the division series last night over Cleveland in the best-of-five series.
The Red Sox will play a best-of-seven series against their ancient rivals, the New York Yankees starting Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Mountain Bike championship
The III Latin American Mountain Bike Championship will take place 30-31 October in Jarabacoa. Rancho Baiguate, a promoter of eco sports and adventure travel, is one of the leading sponsors. Competitors from Argentina, Antigua, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerti Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela have registered. Organizer Victor Manuel Gonzalez said there will be downhill and cross country events.

Iberoamerican Theater Festival starts today
The II Iberoamerican Theater Festival opens in Santo Domingo today, 11 October. The festival brings to Santo Domingo leading performers from Spain, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Chile, Haiti, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and New York City. The three halls of the National Theater and the nearby halls of the Museum of National History and Geography and Museum of Modern Art will be used to present over 112 activities, including 26 plays during the 15 day event.
The Festival opens with a free outdoor very colorful performance celebrating Dominican carnival at 6 pm in the gardens of the National Theater. Most performances go for RD$100-RD$75, but the opening theatrical performance, "Arsa y Toma" by Cristina Hoyos has ticket prices of RD$1,000, RD$600 and RD$400. In addition to theatrical presentations, several workshops have been scheduled.
A parallel Dominican Theater Festival has been set up at the Palacio of Bellas Artes for 9-20 October.
Schedules for the main performances for both are as follows:

National Theater (Main Hall)
"Arza y Toma," Ballet Cristina Hoyos
Monday, 11 October and Tuesday, 12 October at 9 pm

"Barataria", Teatroz, Spain
Wednesday, 13 October at 9 pm and
Thursday, 14 October at 10:30 am and 9 pm

"El Quijote," La Candelaria, Colombia
Friday, 15 October and Saturday, 16 October at 9 pm

"El Nombre del Mundo es Bosque," Teatro Tierra, Colombia.
Sunday, 17 October at 9 pm

"Algún Día Trabajaremos Juntas," EuroEscena, Spain
Monday, 18 October at 9 pm
Tuesday 19 October at 9 pm

"Heavy Nopal", Astrid Hadad y sus Tarzanes, Mexico
Wednesday, 20 October at 9 pm

"Amanda" Giovanny Cruz, Dominican Republic
Thursday, 21 October at 9 pm

"El Célebre Especialista en el Gran Hotel Europa," Río Caribe-Ecuador/Venezuela
Friday, 22 October at 9 pm

"Bolívar", Rajatablas, Venezuela
Saturday, 23 October and Sunday, 24 October at 10:30 am and 9 pm

National Theater, Sala Ravelo:
"Humbolt and Bomplant ppp", Actoral 80, Venezuela
Tuesday, 12 October and Wednesday, 13 October at 7 pm

"El Ombligo del Mundo," Teatro Quetzal, Costa Rica
Thursday, 14 October and Friday, 15 October at 7 pm

"Sombras y Sombrillas", Hilos Mágicos puppets group, Colombia
Thursday 14 October and Sunday 17 October at 10:30 am

"El Quijote," Gayumba, Dominican Republic
Saturday, 16 October at 10:30 am and 7 pm

"Cómeme Cruda," La Sal Teatro, Spain
Sunday, 17 October and Monday, 18 October at 7 pm

"Infimo" Titiritran, Spain
Tuesday, 19 October, Wedneday 20 October at 10:30 am and 7 pm

"El Enano," La Tierra, Colombia
Thursday, 21 October and Friday 22 October at 7 pm

"Danzas Sagradas de la India," Soraya Franco, Dominican Republic
Sunday, 24 October at 7 pm

Dominican Theater Festival at Bellas Artes:
"El Divino Conflicto" (Isidro Alejo Núñez)
Monday, 11 October at 7 and 9 pm.
Tuesday, 12 October at 10 am

"Despues del Carnaval" (Juan María Almonte)
Tuesday, 12 October at 7 and 9 pm
Wednesday, 13 October at 10 am

"Bochinche" (Angel Concepción)
Wednesday, 13 October at 9 pm
Thursday, 14 October at 10 am, 7 pm

"Hágase la Mujer"
Friday, 15 October at 10 am, 7 and 9 pm

"Por Hora" (Elizabeth Ovalle)
Saturday, 16 October at 7 and 9 pm

"La Fila" (Carlos Castro)
Sunday, 17 October ­ 7 pm,
Monday, 18 October at 10 and 7 pm

"De Lorca" (Elvira Taveras)
Tuesday, 19 October at 7 pm
Wednesday, 20 October at 10 am and 7 pm

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