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Daily News - 14 October 1999

Strike called off
The Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares, Sindicales y Choferiles announced yesterday afternoon around 5 pm that it was lifting the indefinite national strike it had called starting Tuesday. While on Tuesday the strike had a significant lull on commercial activity, by Wednesday morning most everything was back to normal in Santo Domingo, Santiago and other main Dominican cities.. The strike was called to protest the increase in the price of fuel and the exchange rate commission.

Drug agents stop escape of trafficker
Enjailed drug trafficker Rolando Florián's alleged planned escape was frustrated by international drug control agents as part of Operation Columbus. The operation united drug control agents in 15 countries in the United States, the Caribbean, South America and Central America. Reportedly, Florián had contracted expert Peruvian tunnel diggers and would be using satellite technology. Operation Columbus resulted in the closing down of several illegal laboratories, burning of cocaine plantations, confiscating of a fleet of contraband boats, and 1,290 arrests, announced Michael Vigil, of the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States.

Increase in exchange rate commission justified
The Central Bank justified the maintenance of the increase in the exchange rate commission (it went up on Friday, 8 October from 1.75% to 5%). In a press communication, the Central Bank says that even with the increase in the prices of fuel and the exchange rate commission, there will be a RD$1,979.7 million deficit for meeting foreign debt commitments. The Bank estimates the tax on petroleum sales will generate RD$3,000 million, and the exchange commission will produce RD$3,066 million in 2000, for a total of RD$6,066. The foreign debt for next year will require payments of RD$8,042 million.
The business community is strongly opposed to the increase in the exchange rate from 1.75 to 5.00, for its effects on the cost of production and retail.

More pesos to the dollar
The dollar continues on its upward trend, with the Central Bank raising the official rate to RD$15.90 to the dollar. Commercial banks were buying dollars for RD$15.85, up from RD$15.60 a week ago. This means exchange houses will be offering above RD$16 to the dollar. Street vendors will offer even more, but there is always the danger of running into a vendor who has a slick hand. Dollars are selling for upwards of RD$16.35. The upward trend is not expected to be maintained for long. As the Christmas time gets near, tourist arrivals increase and families and friends increase their monthly remittances. Likewise, thousands of dollars are expected to be injected into the economy as a result of the capitalization of state enterprises.

Free zone to assembly vehicles
National Council of Free Zones has approved the construction of a new industrial free zone in Villa Mella, north of Santo Domingo. The new park, Parque Industrial El Puerto, will go up near the La Isabela Airport that is under construction. Promoters say the 52,000 square meter industrial park will create 7,000 new jobs. It calls for a RD$112 million iinvesment n its initial phase. A vehicle assembly plant It will e 52,000 square meters, will 7,000 new jobs, investment of RD$112 million pesos. Among the first industries to be installed is a vehicle assembly plant.

Latin American Travel Press Conference starts today
The Latin American Travel Press Conference opens today in Juan Dolio. The event will take place 14- 17 October. President Leonel Fernández is expected to attend the opening session at the Hotel Meliá Juan Dolio. The conference will look into the new paradigms that travel writers will have to deal with given the new economic and technologic order as well as the challenges of the new milennium.

Better grade school education should be national priority
Linda Watts, charge d'affairs of the US Embassy in the DR and interim ambassador, said that an improvement in grade school education should be the main priority of the nation if it is to sustain its present high level of economic growth. Mrs. Watts urged the implementation of the Plan Decenal de Educación, a plan to decentralize and improve education in the DR. Mrs. Watts spoke on "Education and Competitiveness" in La Romana during the monthly luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce. She said that if the country wants to open high tech industrial parks it will have to start by improving basic education levels. Mrs. Watts explained that the days of basing development on cheap labor are over, and that today employees need to be able to be able to adapt quickly to changes in technology.

ONGs pay US$1,500 to Haitians to give birth in DR
The legal consultant of the Executive Branch, Dr. Abel Rodríguez del Orbe denounced that there are non-governmental organizations that pay US$1,000-US$1,500 for Haitian women to give birth here. The press note says that the moneys are being paid to Dominican physicians and clinics that assist the women in the labor. He said the object is that the children of Haitians be given Dominican birth certificates. Rodríguez del Orbe said that this will create an "explosion of incalculable consequences in 20 to 25 years". He said that even when these persons may have Dominican birth certificates, they will be brought up as Haitians, not Dominicans, as both cultures are very different. He commented that the persons will grow up in Haiti, and one day will come to the DR saying they are Dominicans.
"If necessary, for humanitarian reasons, the women that live near the frontier may give birth here, if we can provide the service, we agree to that but to nationalize as Dominicans, persons that are not Dominicans, is a crime."
He said it is the Haitian consulate that has the responsibility of providing the birth certificates to the Haitians that are born in Dominican territory. The Dominican constitution does not regard persons born of illegal parents as Dominicans.
The controversy arose when Father Luis Rosario of the Pastoral Juvenil of the Catholic Church requested that Congress consider legislating so that all those born in the DR may receive Dominican nationality. The Catholic Church hierarchy later denied that the request of Father Rosaro was that of the Dominican Catholic Church. Local authorities recognize that the children of Haitians have a problem when registering in school or at the time of graduating. The Haitian Embassy in the DR has been contributing by assisting thousands of Haitians that entered the DR without any legal documentation, to get their Haitian nationality papers.
Supreme Court president Jorge Subero Isa reaffirmed recently that the Constitution is clear on the issue when it states that the Dominican nationality will be given to: "All persons born in the Dominican territory, with the exception of the legitimate sons of foreign diplomats and those that are in transit." The illegal Haitian residents are considered "in transit" and thus do not merit Dominican nationality. The Haitian Constitution, in turn, recognizes through the third generation sons and daughters of Haitians, regardless of whether they are born abroad or of one foreign parent.

Sammy Sosa comes home
Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa (63 home runs this season) returns tomorrow. He will arrive at 3:30 pm to Las Americas International Airport on a private flight from Chicago with his wife Sonia and four children. For the occasion, Tricom telecommunications company will hand him a new digital cellular phone. Sosa will then make his first call to President Leonel Fernández. President Leonel Fernández was in St. Louis earlier this month to watch Sammy Sosa's last game. During the game he hit a multiple run home run.
Tricom is sponsoring a welcome party for Sammy Sosa in Santo Domingo at the Avenida del Puerto with La Banda Gorda Orchestra. He will be in the DR through March of next year.

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, Spai
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:

"Bochinche" (Angel Concepción)
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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