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Daily News - 13 October 1999

National Strike peters out
There were again traffic bottlenecks this Wednesday morning as capital city residents resumed their normal activities after a day of tranquility in the bustling life of the city. Despite the Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares, Sindicales y Choferiles call to continue the strike, it was apparent that the strike was soon to be over in the capital city and the rest of the country will follow suit. The Coordinadora called the strike to protest the increase in fuel prices. Secretary of the Presidency said that the government will not negotiate with the promoters of the strike.
The Coordinadora primarily represents concho and minibus unions that are rapidly being displaced by the modern units of the OMSA. It is unlikely the transport unions will be able to achieve their objective of an indefinite strike because the government's OMSA buses can serve the upwards of 250,000 persons that use public transport in the city of Santo Domingo. OMSA reported, it had opened temporary bus routes along Winston Churchill and Núñez de Cáceres avenues. (They later reported they are considering leaving these routes permanently.)
Public schools, nevertheless, continue closed, as the Dominican Association of Professors, which is said to be strongly politicized, is supporting the national strike. Private schools, including universities, many of which operated as usual yesterday, are almost all back to work as usual today.
Yesterday the national strike primarily affected commercial activities. Those who didn't have to go out or go shopping, didn't do so. City activity was at a minimum last night, although the Iberoamerican Theater Festival continued as usual, with an evening of world class flamenco performances at the National Theater. The Theater had a 60% attendance of persons who paid RD$1,000 to RD$400 per admission.
The strike has had little effect on tourism areas.

One dead, dozens arrested
The evening before the call to stop work, strike promoter 38-year old Apolinar Toribio, a resident in Villa González, Santiago province was shot to death according to press reports. How he died has not been clarified, and the Police said an investigation has been ordered. In Santo Domingo. Hoy newspaper reported that five persons were injured in the Santo Domingo uptown slum of Capotillo in confrontations with the police. In the northwestern city of Mao, six were injured, as well as in the northcentral city of Bonao. Press reports say that dozens were arrested, most released shortly after, as the police took preventive measures to avoid violence. The Police reports that it has nine persons in jail due to the strike.
In the DR, national strikes are common. El Siglo newspaper counted 14 national strikes since 1979. Strikes are known to resolve very little, and thus they do not have popular support. The only two national strikes that are credited with having national support were those of 1961 and 1990. In 1961 the population demanded that relatives and close supporters of Dictator Trujillo, including then President Balaguer, leave the country. In 1990, the population demanded a stop to the economic policies that had led the country to 100%+ inflation, gasoline shortages and unending blackouts. Balaguer was also President then.

President Fernández tours city to see effects of strike for himself
President Fernández toured the city with a minimum of body guards yesterday, reportedly visiting Cristo Rey, Villa Juana, Villa Francisca uptown neighborhoods. His route took him up Avenida Máximo Gómez, to the Nicolás de Ovando industrial district and to Parque Enriquillo, off Duarte commercial district.
President Fernández left his office in the National Palace at around 10:30 am in a jeep. He did not tell the press corps assigned to the National Palace, preferring to go incognito. In addition to seeing stores in the Duarte commercial district closed, he also spoke to many who had taken the day off to play baseball in their barrios, taking advantage of the empty streets. El Siglo newspaper reported that in the Maria Auxiliadora neighborhood, one policeman put down his weapon to show the neighbors how good he was at bat. Domino championships were also very popular in the barrios yesterday.

President to inaugurate hotel and skylift in Puerto Plata
President Leonel Fernández is slated to travel to Puerto Plata on Thursday to attend the inauguration of the Costa Dorada Iberostar hotel. The new 516 room hotel is located at Marapicá Beach, next door to the Playa Dorada beach complex. The hotel began operations on 23 July, but had not been formally inaugurated. This is the fourth Iberostar Spanish hotel chain resort to open in the DR. Other Iberostar hotels are located in the Punta Cana area in the East. Juan Llinas is the hotel's general manager.
During his visit to Puerto Plata, it has been said he will also re-open the Puerto Plata skylift whose remodelling was completed in January but has been waiting the okay of the Ministry of Public Works to begin operation. On the President's busy agenda is also the inauguration of a 200-house complex in Luperón and of the dredging of the Port of Puerto Plata.

RD$51,000 million for National Budget in 2000
Technical Secretary of the Presidency says that the government is contemplating submitting a budget for RD$51,000 million to the National Congress. This would be RD$6,000 million more than the budget for 1999. RD$2,500 million will go to pay for increases in the salaries of physicians and nurses at public hospitals, and for an increase in the wages of policemen. Policemen in the DR make about RD$1,600 compared to the RD$5,200 of their more professional AMET traffic cops.

Vitamins for children and pregnant women
The Ministry of Public Health announced it is about to start several programs to provide vitamins (vitamin A, iron and folic acid) to children under five years of age and pregnant women. The Panamerican Health Organization and the US Agency for International Development have helped put together the programs. Also contemplated is the start of a nutrition educational campaign targeted at mothers. The vitamins will be available at public vaccination centers and at public hospitals. Likewise, children will be measured to check if they are growing on schedule. The government also is encouraging corn meal and wheat flour manufacturers to fortify their products with vitamins. Programs are coordinated by Matilde Josefina Vásquez, director of the National Department of Nutrition of the Ministry of Public Health.

Government opens tender for Santo Domingo metro
Ministry of Public Works announced the opening of an international tender for the construction of the Santo Domingo metro. The first line would be built along John F. Kennedy through to Padre Castellanos street. Those bidding would also have to include finance packages. Information is available at the Ministry of Public Works (Tel. 565-2811, Ext. 2082) as of 14 October. Those interested in participating in the bid need to submit a letter of intent by 25 October.
The Ministry also announced the pre-qualifying period for the tender to build eight apartment towers to lodge the Pan American Games athlete village has been extended to 12 November 1999.

Coconut sales up in 1998
El Siglo reports that the DR exported more than 54.3 million kilos of coconuts last year, reaping income of more than RD$120 million. This is up 42% from 1997. The total includes 53.3 million kilos of dry coconut; 834,000 kilos of grated dry coconut and 121 thousand kilos of fresh coconuts. The buyers are from the United States, Holland, Italy, France, Haiti, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Aruba, El Salvador, Ireland, Israel, Puerto Rico, St. Martn, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turks & Caicos Islands.

Aeromar competes with American Airlines
Aeromar is promoting why it has been able to compete with route leader American Airlines when several others have failed. Aeromar president Raymundo Polanco pointed out that the airline is offering free transport from Santiago, San Francisco, Moca, and La Vega for those traveling on the airline to Miami. They also permit passengers to lug three 70 lbs. each suitcases, without additional charge on their San Juan and Miami flights. Aeromar also will take children up to 11 years free per traveling parent. Frequent travelers are awarded one free ticket for every 10 tickets purchased.

Flamingos reproduced at Manatí Park Bávaro
Manatí Park Bavaro has been successful in its efforts to reproduce flamingos. The colony of Caribbean flamencos, Phoenicopterus ruber ruber is growing, testimony of the adaptation of the species to living conditions at the Punta Cana-Bavaro area tourism attraction. Biologist Ottenwalder says that the first mating of the flamingos was observed in spring of 1998. This spring, 21 eggs were found in 26 nests. The flamingo colony has been at the Manatí Park since November 1996.

Leading Major League ball players for benefit in DR
The Manny Mota Home Runs Classic will take place 8 December at the Quisqueya Ball Park in Santo Domingo. Mo Vaughn, Gary Sheffield, Todd Hundley, Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero have confirmed their attendance. More leading ball players, such as Alex Rodríguez, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, may also attend. The benefit will be held to gather funds to build the "Campo de Sueños" in Tamarindo, in Santo Domingo.

Iberoamerican Theater Festival continues
The II Iberoamerican Theater Festival continues with multiple performances in the Plaza de la Cultura. 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.

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:

"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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