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Daily News - 20 October 1999

New foreign ambassadors
President Leonel Fernández received the credentials of the new ambassadors of Honduras, Germany, Canada and Italy at the National Palace yesterday.
Andrés Víctor Artiles Martínez is the new ambassador of Honduras. He is a union leader, and a former minister of work and social security.
Bruno Picard is the new ambassador of Canada. He has worked in Cairo, Guatemala, Rabat, and Brussels.
Germany's new ambassador is Countess Eva Alexandra Kendeffy. She has been a diplomat since in 1986 after carrying out studies in law and management. She was previously the German ambassador to Costa Rica and the United States.
Stefano Alberto Canavesio is a lawyer from Rome. He has held positions at the Italian embassies in Jakarta, Brussels, Athens, Kuala Lumpur and Sao Paolo during his 36-year diplomatic career.

Mega plan for Colonial City
The Interamerican Development Bank will be funding the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda (INVI) so that it can relocate low income residents from historical buildings in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. Most colonial city building residents have a monthly income of RD$2,000-RD$6,000, which does not enable them to contribute to the maintenance of the buildings, many of which are 500 years old. As a result, several of the historic buildings are rapidly deteriorating.
Wilfredo Feliz, director of the Oficina de Patrimonio Cultural, the office in charge of the colonial monuments in the DR, said that the buildings will be placed on the real estate market. He said Dominican corporations, and Spanish, Italian and French investors have shown an interest in buying these buildings. He said they will be setting clear rules for investing in the area.
Feliz announced the Plan for the Rehabilitation of the Colonial City has been coordinated with the Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial, the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency, and the Municipality of Santo Domingo, seeking an integral solution to the colonial city's problems. He said all are in agreement that the old vision of preserving the city for the mere contemplation of the monuments is behind the times. "Now we have to think of everything coming alive, there must be people and lots of activities," he said. He said the Colonial City should offer all sorts of shopping and food and beverage activities to its visitors. He said he sees the area as a resort, where services revolve around cultural activities. He said that while they are focusing on foreign visitors, the greatest effort will be to attract Dominicans to come downtown and visit the area. Members of the committee are Victor Brito, Patrimonio Cultural; Pablo Bonelly, Ayuntamiento de Santo Domingo; Diana Martínez, Patronato de la Ciudad Colonial; Nelson Toca, Secretariado Tecnico de la Presidencia.

PRD presidential candidate confirms meeting with Balaguer
PRD presidential candidate, Hipólito Mejía confirmed in Miami that he has met several times with former President Joaquin Balaguer. He confirmed news reports of a recent meeting, saying he was with the 93-year-old master of Dominican politics for one hour. He said that he did not discuss a political alliance with Balaguer, and denied that he was negotiating the vice presidential candidacy. Mejía is on a political tour in the US. Mejía denied that he visited Balaguer's home clandestinely. He said he walked in through the front door. He said he has met with Balaguer five times. He said that apparently, the PLD politicians are bothered that they do not have "a patent" on visits to the legendary politician.
Political analysts say that Balaguer's support could make or break a candidate. President Leonel Fernández (PLD) is in power due to Balaguer's endorsement prior to the second round of the 1996 election. Presidential election in the DR is slated for 16 May 2000. A candidate needs to achieve 50%+1 of the vote to win in a first round. Polls show none of the presidential candidates has the needed amount of votes to win in a first round, thus the presidential candidates of both the PLD and the PRD are courting the former statesman.

PLD denounces excess employment at municipality
Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) town councillors denounced the excess of political appointees at the city municipality yesterday. They said that the municipality payroll is padded with ghost positions, at a time when the municipality is complaining of a lack of funds to perform its duties. The PLD councillors have complained that the municipality dedicates 40% of its budget to pay wages. They denounced that the municipality has appointed 15 consultants, seven assistants to the mayor, and that vice mayor Peggy Cabral has nine assistants, when she long time ago took a leave of absence to dedicate herself to the political campaign of Hipólito Mejía. Also denounced are the 159 lawyers, 411 inspectors and 175 supervisors on the payroll, most without definite job assignments. The PLD councillors criticized that the municipality has on its payroll a liaison with the state university and another with congress. Meanwhile, they say city public works are not being carried out. They said that of the budgeted RD$16.5 million for fixing city streets, the municipality has only been able to disburse RD$505,000.
PLD councillors also requested a detailed account of the cultural activities carried out by PRD acting president Tony Raful, who was appointed director of cultural affairs at the municipality, and receives RD$35,000 a month for his services.

IAPA follows up on journalist murder case
Former judge Juan Miguel Castillo Pantaleón was invited to speak at the Interamerican Press Association assembly on advances in the murder case of journalist Orlando Martínez in 1975. The case, which implicates high ranking military and influential persons of past governments, moved during the present government but is now stagnated. The extradition of former Air Force corporal Mariano Durán Cabrera from the US is awaited to continue the case that is now in the hands of Judge Katia Miguelina Jiménez of the 10th Penal Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo.
Castillo Pantaleón was responsible for investigations that resulted in the detention of former retired generals Salvador Lluberes Montás (accused of planning the assassination), Joaquín Antonio Pou Castro and José Isidoro González.
Castillo Pantaleón said that even if the case eventually dilutes itself, it is important that responsibilities be established as it is the only mechanism that exists so that impunity may cease. He said that he feels that himself and other judges that confirmed his verdict were excluded from the judiciary to please influential political and business groups.
Meanwhile, Lluberes Montás was released from keeping jail at the Ministry of Armed Forces. He suffers from an advanced case of prostate cancer.

Classes suspended at state university
Classes were suspended for a second consecutive day at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the state university. There were clashes between "students" and police agents. The "students" reportedly were protesting the increase in the price of fuel. The university authorities ordered the suspension of classes to prevent that the university be used by "gangsters" to promote disorders and that anyone be injured. The university said that Carlos Méndez, a "student" who in 13 semesters at the university has only passed 18 of 21 credits taken, was permanently banned from the university, accused of disturbing the public order. Others were on the list for being banned from the university.

Committee to seek international aid for Haiti
Armando Armenteros, Ramón Andrés Blanco Fernández and Darío Cuba Amparo are heading a committee that seeks to secure international help for Haiti. The Comité Organizador del Acto de Unidad Nacional said that the Dominican people want to preserve harmonious and constructive relations with Haiti but are concerned over the little political and development progress of the neighboring nation. The Committee wants to spur the international community to fulfill commitments made five years ago when Haiti was militarily intervened. They say that "there has been a progressive and unjustifiable abandoning of that nation, that deserves a better destiny."
The committee is organizing a major awareness-raising activity for 20 November, when several sectors will gather to appeal to the international community for monetary support and development support in line with goals that were set when Haiti was intervened and then President Aristide was restored to power five years ago.
They maintain that the international laissez affair attitude is placing the burden of Haiti's poverty on the Dominican Republic as thousands of Haitians resort to migrate to the DR to solve their economic problems. The migration is a heavy burden for Dominican social services. Dominican sectors say that the DR is a poor country and can in no way take upon itself the social problems of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Recent news stories have highlighted the increasing number of Haitians that are traveling to the DR to give birth, taking advantage of the free health services that are available to anyone who shows up at a Dominican public hospital emergency room. Also in the news is the debate as to whether Haitians born in the DR are Haitians or Dominicans. The DR Constitution places them in an "in transit" category, and birth certificates have not been readily issued to them.
Making matters worse, because of their indigence, the greater majority of Haitians in general do not have birth certificates. While the plight of undocumented adults has not been much of a news story, now the plight of the increasing number of undocumented children is making headlines. Several are now studying in Dominican schools, but confront problems when reaching higher grades and neither them nor their parents can present any legal identity documentation.
Most Dominicans would like the Haitian poverty problem to just go away. But increasingly there is a minority that is pressing the point that the increasing Haitian migration is creating a big local problem that Dominicans need to address and find solutions to. Proactive leaders have said that the DR must spur development in Haiti so that less Haitians feel the need to migrate, be this with the establishment of industrial free zone operations by Dominican apparel manufacturers or by the opening of hospitals along the Haitian frontier areas with international aid sponsorship. Others like the Comité Organizador del Acto de Unidad Nacional want to spur international organizations and countries into making a bigger contribution to the development of Haiti.

Forecasters doubt Jose will affect DR
Experts continue to forecast that Hurricane Jose will turn more to the north later in the week, passing well north of the Dominican Republic. At present, the category 1 Hurricane is lashing Antigua with sustained winds of about 100 mph (160 km/hr). It continues to move northwest at 12 miles an hour. A hurricane warning remains in effect for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, along with Puerto Rico and a string of islands down to Montserrat and St. Barts, but this could change if the hurricane continues along the forecasted track.
The 72-hour long-range forecast puts Jose out in the Atlantic, well away from the U.S. coast, too.
At 11 a.m. ET the center of Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 17.1 north, longitude 61.5 west very close to Antigua in the Leeward Islands.
Jose is the 10th tropical storm of the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from 1 June through 30 November.
A hurricane threatening the Caribbean this late in the season is unusual.
To follow the storm, go to http://www.intellicast.com/Tropical/World/UnitedStates/HurTrack2/

Only 10% of Dominicans have a retirement pension
Only 10% of the Dominicans 60 years or more can rely on any kind of retirement pension, according to a survey carried out by Hewitt, reports Hoy newspaper. It was determined that of those that have a pension, 50% receive only RD$800 a month, only about 25% of minimum wage. Pensions vary from RD$400 a month to a minority that receive RD$60,000 a month. Some 5,500 persons will soon be of age to collect pensions from the Dominican Social Security Institute (IDSS), according to the study. Recently, private companies have begun to offer pension plans, under the umbrella of Aseguradoras de Fondos de Pensiones (AFP). They have been successful, and have attracted upwards of RD$1,300 million. Traditionally, Dominicans have relied on the gratitude of their children or public charity to make it through their senior years.

Debating Dominican 20th century history
The 9th Dominican History Congress began today at the Museum of National History and Geography. The event will last through 22 October. Discussions will focus on 20th Century Dominican history.
Participating historians are: Francisco Henríquez Vázquez, José María Padilla, Fátima Portorreal Mathews, Raymundo González, Miguel Guerrero, Frank Moya Pons, José Luis Sáez, Roberto Cassá, Julio Genaro Campillo Pérez, Carmen Durán, Tirso Mejía Ricart, Edwin Espinal, Ciriaco Landolfi, José Chez Checo, Celsa Albert Batista, Américo Moreta Castillo, Ricardo Hernández, Domingo Lilón Larrauri, Juan Francisco Martínez, Emilio Cordero Michel, Walter Cordero, María Filomena González, Orlando Inoa and Bernardo Vega. The conference is open to the general public for a registration fee of RD$100 per person, which includes luncheons, coffee breaks and conference materials. For more information, Tel. 686-6668, 689-909, 688-6952 or Fax 686-4943.

Most lovely bougainvilleas in the Colonial City
The winners of the annual Colonial City Bougainvilleas are in. The bougainvilleas dress up the colonial city. The contest was initiated by James and Martha Thayer, two colonial city residents, who continue to help organize the event. The event is sponsored by the Office for Education, Tourism and Community Relations of the Patronage of the Colonial City.
Residential category winners: Gisela Escobar, Callejón de Regina No. 18, first prize; Jose Puig de la Bellacasa, Calle Arzobispo Portes 152, second prize; Sor Eulalia Rodríguez, Calle Pellerano Alfau No. 5, third place.
Comercial category winners: Casa Vicini, Isabel la Católica, first prize; Giancarlo Ricco and Mauro Torriani, Plaza Padre Billini, second prize.
Patio category winners: Sonia Cepeda, Calle 19 Marzo 157, first prize; Oficina de Patrimonio Cultural, Calle Atarazanas No. 2, special mention.

Bartolo Colón could pitch here
Bartolo Colón, the Cleveland Indians star pitcher, could possibly pitch several games during the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball Season. The Dominican baseball championship starts 27 October. Colón said he would like to pitch for the Aguilas Cibaeñas, but needs to get a permission from the Cleveland Indians to do so. If he gets their okay, he will pitch as of December. The Dominican championship starts in late October and ends in early February. The winning team goes on to play the best teams from Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. Colón ended the regular season in the Major Leagues as the second best pitcher in the American League with a record of 18-5. He was only bested by fellow Dominican Pedro Martínez (23-4) of the Boston Red Sox.

Pedro Martínez is coming home
The Ministry of Sports is preparing a welcome party for Pedro Martínez, the best pitcher today in the Major Leagues. Martínez ended the Major League season with a record of 23-4 games. He is slated to return home at 1:30 pm on Saturday by way of Las Americas International Airport. Martínez is a sure winner of the American League Cy Young award.

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:

"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:
"Infimo" Titiritran, Spain (for children)
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:

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

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