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Daily News - 26 October 1999

Airport expansion is now closer to happen
President Leonel Fernández told the National Senate that it has accepted the changes recommended by the Chamber of Deputies-National Senate congressional committee that studied the Aerodom-Dominican state contracts for the privatizing of Dominican airports. In a letter to the President of the Senate, engineer Ramón Alburquerque (PRD-Monte Plata), President Fernández returned the contracts to the Senate for passing. The Executive Branch incorporated as an addendum the congressional recommendations. The contracts award the operation and expansion responsibility for the Gregorio Luperón (Puerto Plata) and Las Americas (Santo Domingo), Arroyo Barril (Samaná) and María Montez (Barahona) airports to Aeropuertos Siglo 21, S.A. (Aerodom), a Dominican company in which several international companies (Vancouver Airports- Canada, Ogden-USA and Impreglio-Italy) have minority share participation.

Government stops building apartment complex in park area
The Municipality of Santo Domingo was able to stop the Ministry of Public Works from building an apartment complex in the Jardines del Norte neighborhood. The neighbors turned to the Municipality, protesting that the apartment complex would go up on their park grounds. Yesterday, Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña met with Mayor Johnny Ventura and it was decided that the construction would be suspended until the Urban Planning Department and the Legal Department of the Municipality issued an opinion giving a go ahead or rejecting the project.

Haiti needs international aid to solve its problems
Secretary of the Presidency Alejandrina German said that Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic cannot be the solution to the problems in Haiti. She said that the international community needs to assist Haiti so that solutions within Haiti are found to Haitian problems. The DR is at present affected by an exodus of Haitians seeking jobs in the DR. Jobs are a plenty for them, and today illegal Haitians, that accept lower wages and less benefits, have displaced Dominicans in farms and construction works.
There is a movement in the DR to boost international support for Haiti. This is more difficult than it seems. El Siglo newspaper reports that the Interamerican Development Bank has paralyzed aid and projects while political instability and institutional crisis persist in that nation.
What comes first, the chicken or the egg? While instability has impeded the influx of international aid, international aid is essential for development programs that in turn would create the conditions for political stability. Meanwhile, the ban on the funds has impeded the disbursement of aid that would be used for development programs.
Several have recommended the carrying out of joint Dominican-Haitian programs along the frontier, where Dominicans would handle the funds but the beneficiaries would be the Haitians. Among these projects is the construction of a major international hospital along the frontier area as well as free zones that could employ thousands of Haitians.
The development of Haiti is in the best interest of the DR. If Haiti develops, its residents will be able to buy more Dominican goods and there will be less migration. Migration is seen as a burden on Dominican social services. Haitians are also renown for their ancient farming techniques that foster disforestation.

Poor paid forest guards little help to stop disforestation
The Listín Diario newspaper highlights today the continuous efforts of the local authorities to avoid the disforestation of the Dominican side of the frontier area by Haitian immigrants. Haitian farmers have devastated the Haitian countryside converting that land into a great desert, as can be evidenced by the change in landscape when flying from the Dominican frontier over to Haiti. The Haitian farming technique consists of removing trees and planting on a hill. The farmers move on to another area when erosion depletes the soil. They leave behind large disforested tracks, starting a cycle of little rains and creating desert-like lands.
The Listín Diario reporter participated with the Dominican Army in an effort to plant trees in the Dajabón-Elías Piña area and was impressed when watching how the military had to plant the trees among tracks of corn, yucca and other produce in lands taken over by the illegal Haitian migrants. The Dominican side of the frontier is scantly populated by Dominicans. In a lesser degree than their Haitian neighbors, the Dominicans have also been responsible for disforestating, not for subsistence farming, but for selling of the wood to furniture-makers.
The Listín Diario reports that the wages paid the few forest guards, are so low - RD$1,000 a month (US$62 a month) - forest guards can easly be bribed by the Haitian farmers. The newspaper urges that a force of well paid forest guards be sent to the frontier area to aid in reducing the pace of disforestation that has increased due to the greater influx of Haitian migrants.
The Dominican frontier with Haiti is over 300 kilometers long, and most has no surveillance of any sort.
The Donald Dod National Park (Sierra del Bahoruco), one of the most important ecological reserves in the Caribbean, is located along the frontier with Haiti.

30 million trees before end of government
President Leonel Fernández announced that the government has plans to plant 30 million trees before ending its term in power. President Fernández cannot run for re-election and his term ends 16 August 2000. President Fernández recently visited Loma de Los Arroyones in Villa Altagracia to participate in a planting effort. The trees in this area are being planted to reforest several of the main river basins of the country. The effort is part of the Quisqueya Verde Plan, that is head by Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal.

US military assists DR in battle against drug trafficking
General Charles E. Wilhelm, USMC, Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) met with President Leonel Fernández yesterday at the National Palace. Hoy newspaper said that he announced that US military will train Dominicans in modern anti-drug trafficking techniques. A modern US Navy ship with sophisticated equipment will participate in the efforts to combat drug trafficking in Dominican waters. Drug traffickers are using the Colombia-Haiti-DR-Puerto Rico link to export narcotics to the United States. Poverty and political instability in Haiti has converted that part of the island into a haven for drug trafficking. The US Southern Command is also assisting Trinidad & Tobago, another link in the drug operation. The United States military recently donated two 82-foot patrol ships to back up local drug combat efforts. While most of the drug channeled through here is directed to the US market, the use of the Dominican territory is seen as a major problem for the DR because many traffickers are paying their local agents in drugs for sale on the local market instead of cash.

PRSC-PLD alliance promoters meet at National Palace
The Listín Diario, a newspaper that has been said to be very favorable to the ruling government party's political aspirations of staying in power, gave front page headline coverage to the meeting of several of the promoters of the Frente Patriótico Nacional at the National Palace. The Frente Patriótico was the political alliance between the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano of then President Joaquín Balaguer and the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, which resulted in the PLD winning the 1996 presidential election.
News reports say that earlier in the day, President Fernández met with Danilo Medina, former Secretary of the Presidency and today PLD presidential candidate, Juan Temístocles Montás and Francisco Javier García, the PLD campaign director. Then he met for three hours with Manuel Guaroa Liranzo, of the PRSC and Miguel Cocco, of the PLD. Others that were said to be present at the three-hour meeting were José Ramón Báez Figueroa, president of Editora El Golfo (El Siglo newspaper) and presidential advisor for Middle East and African affairs, Namejedin Mansour, El Fituri. The newspaper highlights how the meeting with President Fernández took place only days after Montás and Cocco met with former President Balaguer.

On tour in the US, Hipólito Mejía meets Hillary Clinton
PRD presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía, on tour in the United States, met with Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday, 24 October in New York City. Hoy newspaper reports that they exchanged expressions of solidarity in their quests for winning the Dominican presidency and the New York senate seat. The meeting took place at the New York Sheraton. Congressman Charles Rangel introduced First Lady Hillary Clinton. Upon meeting him, she acknowledged her pleasure at meeting the "next president of that country that I admire so much." All independent polls show that if the election was held today, Mejía would win with a considerable margin.
Mejía thanked Mrs. Clinton for her efforts in favor of the DR being granted textile parity by the US Congress and in favor of the nation, following Hurricane Georges.
Hipólito Mejía visited Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York on his tour of the US.

Trucks banned over Chavón river bridge
La Altagracia governor Pedro Rojas Morillos announced that since last Friday trucks and heavy transport equipment are banned from using the bridge over the Chavón River (La Represa). Several accidents have occurred when trucks heavily loaded with cargo have not been able to make it up the hill that crosses the river on the Higuey-La Romana highway. Trucks will now have to detour and use the Carretera Mella that leads to El Seibo.

Punta Cana gets write-up in Sunday Washington Post
The Washington Post sent staff writer John Deiner to check out the beach area visited by Hillary Rodham Clinton last November, and which was called by The American Society of Travel Agents "1999's top emerging international destination" and "the next Cancún". He returned with a report praising Punta Cana for its beaches and hotels, but concluding that it's definitely not Cancún. See the links below for the story on Punta Cana.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/travel/destinations/caribbean/caribindex102499.htm http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/travel/destinations/caribbean/puntacana102499.htm

Candido Bidó exhibits in South Korea
The Korea Herald newspaper highlights that Dominican Candido Bidó is exhibiting in Koyang, just outside of Seoul. Bidó is exhibiting solo at the Latin American Cultural Center from 23 October to 21 November. The newspaper says that the works on exhibition focus on the various landscapes and scenes of his home country and especially his hometown, Bonao. Subjects range from the blue ocean, gentle hills, flowers, birds, tropical fruits and the woman of his native island. For more information on the exhibition, see

Fox to transmit Dominican baseball games
Baseball fans will be able to follow the games of the Dominican Winter League Baseball live on Fox Sports World Español, the only Spanish-language all-sports network in the US. The Wednesday, 27 October season opener of the Dominican league at 8 pm ET matches the winner of the 1999 Caribbean World Series, the Licey Tigers against the Escogido Lions at the Quisqueya Ball Park.
Fox Sports will televise 41 games of the Caribbean Winter League Baseball (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico and the DR), leading up to the Caribbean World Series that is scheduled to open in Santo Domingo on 2 February 2000. The Caribbean Baseball League plays an important role in the competitiveness and growth of baseball. Major League renown figures have played here in their early years. And an occasional baseball great will play a few games towards the end of the winter series.
Fox will transmit the following games of the Dominican League:

Dominican League
- Opening Ceremonies 10/27/99 7:30pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Licey v Escogido 10/27/99 8pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Escogido v Aguilas 10/29/99 8pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Escogido v Licey 10/31/99 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Licey v Escogido 11/5/99 7pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Licey v Escogido 11/14/99 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Licey v Escogido 11/21/99 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Licey v Aguilas 11/26/99 7pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
Dominican League
- Escogido v Aguilas 12/3/99 7pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Escogido v Licey 12/10/99 7pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- ALL STAR GAME 12/12/99 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Estrellas v Escogido 12/17/99 7pm EDT LIVE Dominican League
- Escogido v Licey 12/26/99 7pm EDT Delay
Dominican League
- Semi final 1 1/3/00 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Semi final 2 1/8/00 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- Semi final 3
(if necessary) 1/15/00 7pm EDT Delay Dominican League
- FINAL - game 1 1/16/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 2 1/17/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 3 1/18/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 4 1/19/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 5
(if necessary) 1/20/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 6
(if necessary) 1/21/00 tba Dominican League
- FINAL - game 7

The US TV network will also transmit the entire Caribbean World Series. The schedule for that series is as follows:
- Puerto Rico v Venezuela 2/2/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- DR v Mexico 2/2/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Puerto Rico v Mexico 2/3/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- DR v Venezuela 2/3/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Mexico v Venezuela 2/4/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- DR v Puerto Rico 2/4/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Venezuela v Puerto Rico 2/5/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Mexico v DR 2/5/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Mexico v Puerto Rico 2/6/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Venezuela v DR 2/6/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Venezuela v Mexico 2/7/00 tba Caribbean World Series
- Puerto Rico v DR 2/7/00 tba
(a) Schedule subject to change.

Sammy Sosa to throw first ball in San Pedro Stadium
Sammy Sosa will throw the first ball in the first game held at the Tetelo Vargas Stadium of San Pedro de Macorís, this coming Saturday. The Estrellas Orientales, home team, will match the Tigres del Licey, the winner of the Caribbean World Series.
Sosa was the first ball player in the history of the Major League Baseball to have batted more than 60 home runs in consecutive years, a feat he accomplished this past season. Sosa is from San Pedro de Macorís. The Estrellas Orientales return to the Dominican Winter Baseball League after a year of absence due to the major damages their stadium suffered during Hurricane Georges. The beach resort areas of Juan Dolio and Guayacanes are about 20 minutes away from the San Pedro de Macorís stadium.

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