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Daily News - 09 November 1999

Half a million trees planted in October
The General Director of the Forests Department, Rear Admiral Cesar Batista Valdespina says that in October half a million trees were planted in the Central Cibao region as part of the Quisqueya Verde plan. The breakdown by city/province of the trees planted is as follows:
Jarabacoa 60,000 trees
Puerto Plata 50,000 trees
San José de las Matas, 28,000 trees
San Francisco de Macorís 20,000 trees
La Vega 20,000 trees
Moca 20,000 trees
Jánico 15,000 trees
Santiago 10,000 trees
Imbert 8,000 trees
Dajabón 8,000 trees
Cotuí 8,000 trees
Nagua 7,000 trees
Samaná 5,000 trees
Monción 5,000 trees
Salcedo 3,000 trees

Oscar de la Renta to design new police uniform
World-renowned designer, Oscar de la Renta will be donating the design of the new uniform to be used by National Police. Chief of the Police Pedro de Jesús Candelier said the government will invest RD$80 million to change the uniform of police agents. Candelier met with Oscar de la Renta during his visit to New York City. They agreed the new uniform should be a different color. Candelier feels that the present grey uniform of the police has a "funeral look" to it.
Candelier explained the new uniform is part of efforts to create a new Police. This is being done by purging the present corps, and re-educating those who stay. He says the new uniforms will help position the new police image in the minds of citizens. Candelier spoke during the commemorative act of a plaque honoring police sergeant Jacobo Candelario Díaz and corporal Jose del Carmen Zabala de León who were assassinated when patrolling the Mirador del Sur Park on 8 September 1998. The case is yet to be resolved. Vice President Jaime David Fernández (he plays volleyball at the park in the early morning) was present, as well as Omar Ramírez, director of Parks.

Three presidents visit for economics talks
The City of Santo Domingo will host the Sixth Plenary Session of the Circle of Montevideo (http://circulomvd.mailcom.net/). Coming for the event are three Latin American presidents, a former Spanish head of government, and directors of several multilateral organizations, including the Interamerican Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The event will take place at the Central Bank auditorium from 11-13 November. On the agenda is the topic: "Integration and Social Cohesion." President Leonel Fernández will open the plenary session with a keynote address. President Julio María Sanguinetti, of Uruguay; President Henrique Cardoso, Brazil; and President Miguel Angel Rodríguez, Costa Rica and former head of the Spanish government, Felipe González have confirmed they will attend.
Also expected are former presidents Belisario Betancur, Colombia; Ernesto Pérez Balladares, Panamá; Enrique Iglesias, president of the IDB; Michael Camdessus, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); José Antonio Ocampo, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among others.

Norwegian government mission visits
A top-ranking mission from Norway is visiting the DR. The mission is made up by Wegger Strommen, Secretary of State and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; ambassador Ame Aasheim; Peter Raeder, regional director for Latin America; Kristin Hoem Langshot, advisor; Vegar Brynildsen, first secretary of the Norwegian embassy in Caracas; Peter Skauen, of a non-governmental organization and journalist Erling Borgen. They will be holding meetings with key government officers seeking to promote better bilateral relations. Technical Secretary of the Presidency Temístocles Montás said that the visit is the result of a tour of Dominican government officers at the start of the year to Norway and Finland.

UN rep advocates improving conditions in Haiti
The representative in the DR of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Paolo Oberti said that the economic growth in the DR will continue to serve as a magnet to attract massive entrance of illegal Haitians. He said it is natural that the Haitians travel to the DR because there are more opportunities here.
"I believe the problem of illegal Haitian immigration will continue for a long time as the DR continues to grow at its present rate and as the situation in Haiti does not stabilize or normalize," he said when interviewed by journalists at the National Palace. He said that what has to be done is to try to improve the situation in Haiti so that the Haitians can stay in Haiti. "The problem will continue and I believe it is important to find a solution in Haiti so that the situation there returns to normalcy and the Haitians can work in their own country and surely when the situation improves we will all remain free in our own countries," said Oberti. "The solution to Haiti's problem has to come on behalf of Haiti and its people," he said.
He highlighted that illegal migration, drug trafficking and crime do not respect any frontier.
Oberti confirmed that international aid to Haiti has stagnated because of the internal problems in Haiti.

Frontier traffickers take a break
Like there are organizers of boat trips to transport illegal Dominicans across the Mona Channel to Puerto Rico, the local press has published the first stories on gangs that assist illegal Haitians to cross the Dominican frontier. Hoy newspaper reports that the human traffickers have taken a break now that the Dominican government ordered the military to reduce the numbers of illegal Haitians crossing over. Residents in the areas confirm clans and mafias help the illegal Haitians across the frontier for a price. The traffickers make the crossing in areas that are not populated and have little military vigilance. Note that the Dominican frontier with Haiti is 365 kilometers long. Since it is impossible to patrol, and there is no physical impediment, such as that that divides Mexico and the US, the frontier line is easy to cross by anyone who would like to do so. Hoy newspaper says that the illegal Haitians are charged "high" sums of money, that the traffickers say are used to bribe Dominican migration inspectors and military, so that these may look the other way and allow the Haitians in. This way, thousands of Haitians are able to cross at official entry points as well as other points of the frontier.

All is normal on frontier market day
The Listín Diario newspaper reported that while the government has stepped up the deporting of illegal Haitians, hundreds of illegal Haitians entered as usual to participate in the Dajabón market days on Monday and Friday. Listin Diario reporters interviewed generals Gerardo Rivas, Marcelino Suarez stationed on the frontier and Colonel Rafael Florián and confirmed that the new vigilance has not affected the commercial activities. Haitians are admitted on Friday and Monday from 7 am to 2 pm to sell their merchandise imported from Haiti and with the money they acquire goods in Dajabón for sale back in Haiti. The Haitians sell used clothing, shoes, perfumes, detergents, alcohol, some handcrafts and use the money to buy rice, chickens, eggs, herring, sardines, ice, purified water, soft drinks and beers. Approximately 3,000 Haitians enter on market days, says the Listin Diario.

Conflicting reports on Haitian repatriations
The Listín Diario reports that while there are some Haitians that say they were mistreated by the military that arrested them for not having the right papers, others denied being mistreated. Foreign press wires carry news that the Haitian government is concerned there may be a surge of xenophobia against Haitians in the DR and called for Minister of Foreign Relations of Haiti Fritz Longchamps to carry out talks with the Dominican authorities.
The Listín Diario said that some that were deported complained they were not allowed to go to their place of living to recover their belongings before being deported. The operation to deport Haitians has taken place primarily in Santiago, Mao, Puerto Plata, La Vega, Moca, Dajabón, Monte Cristi and Santiago Rodríguez where large numbers of illegal Haitians live. The government ordered the deportations be stepped up after the OAS recommended that the government nationalize illegal Haitians living in the DR. While press reports say "thousands" are being deported, the high cost of trucking or busing the Haitians to the frontier works in favor of the Haitians.
An even stronger effort to repatriate illegal Haitians, and reduce Haitian migration, occurred during the government of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, when President Balaguer ordered the repatriation of Haitians as a response to Aristide's acrid criticism of the Dominican Republic in a United Nations speech. With time, controls were relaxed. The director of the Department of Migration, Danilo Díaz said that while the illegal Haitians are being deported, they can do little to avoid their returning. He said nevertheless that the military is working on trying to increase controls on the border. He complained that there is no cooperation on behalf of the Haitian frontier authorities to impede the crossing of the illegal Haitians.

Haitians to be counted by 2000 Census
Nobody knows how many Haitians live in the DR. The director of the National Statistics Office, Maritza Rossi says that the 2000 Census will provide helpful information. She says those interviewed for the census will be asked their nationality. But she admitted this intention clashes with the reality that illegal foreigners normally try to hide, thus the number of Haitians admitting to their nationality may be lower than the reality.

El Siglo poll shows Mejía with comfortable lead
El Siglo/Penn, Schoen & Berland poll revealed that leading opposition party presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía would win the presidential election in year 2000 regardless of who his rival would be. The survey showed Mejía would achieve 57% in a June second round, versus 34% of Danilo Medina, the presidential candidate of the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. The survey showed if Joaquín Balaguer of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano were his contender in the second round, Mejía would obtain 57% of the votes, versus 37% of Balaguer. The survey shows that in the unlikely case that Mejía did not make it to the second round, Balaguer would defeat Medina 42% to 30%.

Business promotes creation of new truckers union
The president of the National Council of businessmen (CONEP), Celso Marranzini said that the private business sector is promoting the creation of a Federation of Truckers that will seek the same advantages the government has granted to Fenatrado. The government has granted tax exemptions on the purchase of trucks to Fenatrado members. Fenatrado, an association of truck owners that transport cargo from Dominican ports, is accused of monopolizing the cargo of ports by applying repressive measures to their competitors that offer better prices to businesses. Celso Marranzini, president of CONEP, has said Fenatrado is a company and the truckers, its shareholders. He said the new federation will be made up of independent truckers. Conep seeks competitive pricing for the transport of cargo and not price setting by Fenatrado monopoly as is occurring at present.

2.6 million visits by years' end
Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez said that this year more than 2,600,000 tourists will visit the DR. He said this is a 10% increase over last year's visitors. Last year an estimated 2,200,000 tourists visited the DR. He said there has been an increase in US, French, German, Spanish, Italian, English tourists. The US and French markets are up 25%; the German market will grow 20%; and the Spanish and Italian markets are up about 10%. He said that Argentinean tourism has declined from 89,000 travelers in 1998 to 65,000 so far this year, reflecting the economic problems in that South American nation. Swedish travel is up. In the first nine months of the year some 22,000 Swedish tourists had visited and the year's total is expected to reach 30,000.

Puerto Plata sky lift could open this week
El Siglo newspaper reports that the Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez has said that the Puerto Plata sky lift will be in operation "this week." President Leonel Fernandez inaugurated the remodeling of the telpher but a specific opening date has not yet been announced. The sky lift goes up the Isabel de Torre Mountain from where tourists are treated to a panoramic view of the north coastline.

Sonia Silvestre breaks an arm
Sonia Silvestre had to suspend the presentation of her successful concert, "Yo fui por todas partes" in Santiago after she broke an arm when slipping in her brother's apartment. Sonia visited her brother, who lives in her same apartment building, to celebrate with friends and relatives the success of her concert last weekend at the Jaragua Hotel. She will need a cast on her arm for a month. The new date of the Santiago presentation will be announced.

Alex Rodríguez visits
Alex Rodríguez, the highest rated shortstop in Major League baseball today, said he would like to stay on with the Seattle Mariners but then conditioned this to the management of the team putting together a team that can make it to the playoffs. He said he wants to make it to the World Series. Alex Rodríguez, born in New York City of Dominican migrant parents and brought up in Miami, says that even if he has lived abroad all of his life he feels he is a Dominican. He said he aspires to represent the DR is an international competition against the United States, Cuba and Puerto Rico. He said he grew up listening to stories his mom would tell him about life in the DR. He met with President Leonel Fernández at the National Palace shortly after arriving. He is scheduled to give clinics to Little League players at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center today.

Dominican baseball update
Dominican Winter Baseball Game standing, including Monday, 9 November games:
Leones del Escogido 7-2 (.778)
Aguilas Cibaeñas 5-5 (.500) -2.5 games
Estrellas Orientales 4-4 (.500) ­2.5 games
Pollos del Cibao 3-3 (.500) -2.5 games
Tigres del Licey 3-8 (.273), -5 games

This week's games:

Tuesday, 9 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Escogido vs. Licey
San Francisco de Macorís: Estrellas vs. Pollos

Wednesday, 10 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Pollos vs. Escogido
San Pedro de Macorís: Aguilas vs. Estrellas

Thursday, 11 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Aguilas vs. Escogido
San Francisco de Macorís: Licey vs. Pollos

Friday, 12 November 1999
Santiago: Pollos vs. Aguilas
San Pedro de Macorís: Licey vs. Estrellas

Saturday, 13 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Pollos vs. Licey
San Pedro de Macorís: Escogido vs. Estrellas

Sunday, 14 November 1999
Santo Domingo: Licey vs. Escogido
San Pedro de Macorís: Aguilas vs. Estrellas

To follow Dominican baseball action, see if Fox Sports World Español baseball games transmissions are available in your area.
Fox will transmit the following games of the 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

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