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Daily News - 25 October 1999

Avenida del Puerto bash and Presidente Latin Music Festival 2000 cancelled
E. León Jimenes announced that it will not sponsor the celebration of the year's end traditional merengue music and fireworks bash (this would have been its 7th year) at the Avenida del Puerto. Earlier in the year, the company had announced its biggest party ever, but now is backing out. The manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes and Presidente Beer says that it is incorporating self-regulation and will no longer promote smoking in events that can be attended by minors. The announcement comes at a time when Congress is studying a bill that would ban advertising of cigarettes. Company president Abel Waschmann says Marlboro will only sponsor events where the admission of minors is restricted.
The E. León Jiménes extravaganza was to be the leading millennium celebration. Still in place is the Brugal rum-sponsored party on the Malecón and the Avenida del Puerto, as well as Expo Milenio (see http://www.expomilenio.com), a music and goods exhibition along the Malecón and other key Santo Domingo tourist attractions starting 1 December.
News reports say that the company decided to also suspend the celebration of the Presidente Latin Music Festival in June 2000 because its targeted date coincides with the second round of the national elections. Likewise, the Olympic Stadium may be off limits because of remodeling underway to prepare it for the Pan American Sports Games in 2003.
The highly successful Presidente Beer Latin Music Festival has brought to the DR leading Latin American performers including Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Victor Manuel, Jerry Rivera, Ana Barbara, Juan Gabriel, Maná, DLG, Carlos Vives, Alejandro Fernandez, Niche, Azúcar Moreno, Tito Rojas , Thalia, Carlos Ponce, Chayanne, Nek among others.

National Theater millennium show
Frank Ceara, one of the leading Dominican singer-showmen, is preparing a special millennium performance. His show, "Donde manda el amor," will be staged at the main hall of the National Theater from December 27 to January 2. Performing with him will be: Adalgisa Pantaleon (4 x 40), Audrey Campos, Ednita Nazario and Milly Quezada. The production will be taped by Aljibe Discos (Manuel Tejada and José Antonio Rodríguez's recording company).

President preaches free trade, ministers do the contrary
Businessman Andrés Dauhajre, who is regarded as the spokesman for the importers associations, says that in stead of advancing, the DR is moving backwards in the implementation of modern economic policies. In an interview with Hoy newspaper, he said that while President Leonel Fernández preaches on the importance of getting on the bandwagon of global markets, his ministers implement measures to the contrary.
Dauhajre mentioned several contradictions. He spoke of the minister of agriculture favoring setting import quotas and import permissions, when the President is advocating reductions of import tariffs.
He was very critical of the bill in Congress that seeks to protect the local milk producers, by regulating how much milk a company can import, assigning 50% of import duties and taxes on imported milk to the milk producers. In the DR, primarily because of the deficient power situation, an estimated 75% of milk consumption is in the form of powdered milk.
He also criticized the 3.25% increase in the exchange rate commission that will result in less competitive Dominican exports as the imported component of export goods increases.
He also spoke of the creating of private and mixed monopolies. He said that what would have been best was an open and competitive capitalization of the state electricity utility, and not the capitalization where the state utility assigned to two private companies, that have created regional monopolies. Dauhajre feels the ideal situation would have been to open the electricity market, permitting anyone to produce and distribute power.
In his opinion, the best way to improve living conditions here is to foster competition, with equal opportunities for all.

Haitian acting ambassador comments on Haitian migration
Speaking on a television program, Guy Lamothe, acting Haitian ambassador in the DR, said that Haitian women that cross the frontier to give birth are in transit and merely seek better medical care. He said regardless of their being born here, there is no question that those children are Haitians. He favored the Haitian government building hospitals along the frontier to offer services to these women. The director of the regional hospital of Santiago recently advocated that the DR lobby to secure international assistance to build a hospital along the Haitian frontier. He said Dominican medics could staff the hospital.
Lamothe said that only humanitarian interests are behind the efforts of non-governmental organizations that assist Haitian women to cross the frontier to give birth. He said the Haitian women cross over because of the unequal life conditions on both sides of the frontier. He spoke on the television program, "Diplomacia, Politica & Comercio", produced by David Toribio on Telesistema, Channel 11.
In his opinion, it is up to the DR to decide whether to grant Dominican citizenship to the children of Haitians that have been living in the DR for years.
Lamothe said that in May 1995, then President Jean Bertrand Aristide decreed that the Haitian embassy in the DR could issue legal identity documentation to Haitians residing in the DR. He said that the Haitian Constitution recognizes the children of Haitians as Haitians through the third generation, regardless of where they are born. He said it is not true that Haitians born here are stateless since they have the right to the nationality of their parents.
He praised the decision of the Dominican government to issue identity cards to the thousands of Haitians that do not have any legal identification. This is so because most Haitians cross the frontier without any legal documentation. In Haiti it is more common for a person not to have any legal documentation than for the person to have legal documentation.

Haitians born of illegal residents are not being issued birth certificates
Frank Lendor, who is in charge of the Dirección Central del Estado Civil, the local department in charge of issuing birth certificates in the DR, said it is not true that the children of Haitians born here are being issued Dominican birth certificates. He said only those that are born to parents that can demonstrate legal residence in the DR can receive Dominican birth certificates, as per established in the Dominican Constitution.
In an interview with Ultima Hora Dominical, he said up to 300,000 children could be in this situation. (This situation should also affect children born to foreigners of other nationalities that are not legal residents of the DR.)
As is their custom in Haiti, most Haitians living in the DR do not have legal documents. This is creating social problems as they grow up and many begin to integrate into Dominican society, encountering the difficulties of not having any legal documentation. While local schools by law have to admit all, the Ministry of Education will not issue diplomas to those that do not have birth certificates. Some have been able to secure Haitian identification documents at the Haitian embassy to resolve their situation. The Haitian embassy says some 30,000 identity documents have been issued since 1995.
Lendor explained that the situation of not being declared at birth in the past also affected low income Dominicans. To resolve this situation, the Dominican government, through the Junta Central Electoral, began a program to issue birth certificates at public hospitals starting October 1997. In its first year, the birth certificates were issued in five public hospitals. Today, there are 27 public hospitals issuing the birth certificates, including seven along the frontier with Haiti. These are the hospitals of Jaime Mota (Barahona), Federico Armando Aybar (Las Matas de Farfán), Rosa Duarte (Comendador), San Bartolomé (Neyba) and General Melenciano (Jimaní).
All Dominican hospitals will issue the parents a written confirmation that the child (given name) was born at such hospital on such date. The birth is registered in the hospital's books. The second step is to meet with the civil registry official who will issue the child's birth certificate to parents that can present legal residence documents or proof of Dominican citizenship.

Slow process, but digitizing of records advances
El Caribe newspaper reports that there is no time frame, but the digitizing of civil registries continues at a steady pace. Mrs. Maria Dolores Sención de Yaryura is in charge of the process. She forecast that in three years time, those born in Santo Domingo would have their birth certificates in a central computerized database.
She explained that at present it can take one to three days to issue a copy of a birth certificate. If the person was declared after the first 30 days of birth, it could take up to three months to get a copy. Once computerized, the person can wait for the copy of the birth certificate.
It will take many more years to digitize the divorces and marriages, and death certificates of the 65 civil registry offices throughout the country. She told the newspaper that in 20 years time the present manual process will no longer exist, as all records will be in computer databases. All these registries are entered by hand today in books.

GDP grows 7.6% from January to September
Hector Valdez Albizu, the governor of the Central Bank, reports that the Gross Domestic Product of the DR grew 7.6% from January to September of this year. He forecast that by year's end, the Dominican economy will have grown 7.7%. This is the highest growth rate of any economy in the world. Valdez Albizu estimates that inflation will be 7 to 8% by year's end, similar to last year's inflation.

249 foreigners go to jail on drug charges last year
The Listín Diario reported that last year 249 foreigners were sent to jail on drug charges. Of these, 108 are Colombians, 51 Haitians and 28 from the United States, 13 Puerto Ricans, 10 Venezuelans, 9 Jamaicans, 6 Spaniards, 5 Filipinos, 4 Dutchmen, and 4 Cuban. The item says that there is an under-registry of the Haitians as since most do not have any legal documents, they declare themselves as Dominicans and have to be admitted to jail as such.
The newspaper says that 80% of the foreign women in jail are in for drug trafficking.

Children's art exhibition
An international art exhibition celebrating children's art from all over the world opens today at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, located at Máximo Gómez corner Independencia avenue. The Soka Gakkai International exhibition features a selection of 300 works from 100,000 works submitted by children in 161 countries. The children painted on the topics: time to enjoy, the most beautiful planet, let's rescue the world, creativity rhapsody, time for hope. The event is sponsored by UNESCO, the Municipality of Santo Domingo, the National Council for Childhood (CONANI), the state university (UASD), the Pedro Henríquez Ureña University, the Museum of Modern Art and the Dominican Folklore Institute. It will be showing through 21 November at the Salón Español of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Compu Expo opens 26 October
Compu Expo opens 26 October in Santo Domingo. In its 15th year, Compu Expo is the longest running trade exhibition held in the Dominican Republic. The latest in telecommunications and informatics available in the DR will be presented at the Hotel Dominican Fiesta. Valdez & Asociados organizes the event. A complete program of conferences and talks is held parallel to the trade exhibition. The fair runs through 31 October.

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