Public hearings end for choosing higher courts judges
US DOJ officers visit to meet with Dominican attorney general
The overpricing of Odebrecht works
Green March is largest spontaneous protest in Santo Domingo
Squeegee men banned from National District
Alma Rosa neighborhood declares zero crime
US$435,372 seized from tourists arriving from Bahamas
Russia and The Netherlands work hard to beat DR
DR defends its U20 volleyball championship in Mexico
Comedy at the Sala Ravelo
RD Fashion Week opens at Acropolis
Children’s film festival in Santo Domingo and Santiago
Rock N Pop at Hard Rock Live
Bachata at the Sala Ravelo

Public hearings end for choosing higher courts judges
The broadcast of the public hearings that were part of the process to choose four judges of the Supreme Court of Justice, and five judges for the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and their replacements concluded on Saturday, 15 July 2017. The CNM members interviewed 83 candidates – 32 women and 51 men.
The members of the CNM will now meet privately on Wednesday, 19 July to review the qualifications of the candidates.

The CNM has said it is giving preference to promoting judges from the Court of Appeals to fill the seats at the Supreme Court of Justice. The CNM will announce the final decisions on Friday, 21 July 2017.

The members of the CNM are President Danilo Medina, president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez, president of the Chamber of Deputies Lucía Medina, president of the Supreme Court of Justice Mariano Germán, attorney general Jean Alain Rodríguez, Supreme Court of Justice judge Frank Soto, PRM senator José Paliza and PRM deputy Josefa Castillo.

US DOJ officers visit to meet with Dominican attorney general
Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez and several adjunct prosecutors met with Magdalena Boynton, associate director for Mexico, Central America, Spanish-speaking Caribbean, US Department of Justice this past weekend.

Attorney General Office press release dated 16 July 2017 says that the meeting was to coordinate actions for greater bilateral collaboration in transnational crimes prosecution.

The press release indicates that combatting corruption, drug trafficking, asset laundering, arms and people trafficking, and extraditions was discussed.

This meeting was a follow up to the visit in May 2017 made by Attorney General Rodríguez to Washington, D.C. where he met with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That meeting with Sessions was prior to the Dominican justice presenting the first accused in the Odebrecht corruption scandal.

The US justice is following up the corruption scandal that impeded US companies from winning contract work in the Dominican Republic.

The overpricing of Odebrecht works
Former National District attorney and political candidate Guillermo Moreno lists in an op-ed contribution in Diario Libre today the amendments made by the Dominican government to Odebrecht contracts. Moreno says that the possibility of extraordinary earnings lead the company to take the risk of paying US$92 million in bribes, and involve itself in the illicit financing of candidates and electoral campaigns.

Contracts mentioned are:
Northwest aqueduct: The contract was signed during the President Hipolito Mejia government for US$161,761,441. During the next presidency of Leonel Fernandez, the contract was amended in 2005 to US$251,687,380.

Pinalito Hydroelectric Dam: It was originally approved for US$131,721,079 in 2002 during the Hipólito Mejía government. When the PLD became government in 2004, several amendments were made. The work would be finally contracted for US$319,114,942.

Palomino Hydroelectric Dam: The initial contract was signed in 2005 for US$225,000,000. In the next three years, amendments were made increasing it to a final cost of US$594,801,548.

Samaná Aqueduct: The original contract was for US$71,258,179, but it ended up costing US$144,707,962.

Hermanas Mirabal Aqueduct: Originally contracted for US$50,000,000 but it ended up costing US$168,187,500.

Casabito-Constanza Road: From US$29,041,106, it ended up costing US$74,625,237.

Duarte Corridor: From US$163,890,541 it ended up with a cost of US$293,091,698.

Jarabacoa-Constanza road: From an original contracted US$71,538,760, it ended up with a US$100,545,360 price tag.

Bávaro-Miches road: From an initial contract of US$265,349,314, amendments increased it to US$370,195,377.

Coral Highway: From US$253,702,835, the road was increased in price to US$471,062,590.

Guillermo Moreno writes: “In the exorbitant increases of Odebrecht Works there was a mafiosi pattern to deliberately overprice the works and distribute the benefits among government officers and naturally, Odebrecht.”

He says that in the works built by Odebrecht, as admitted by the Attorney General of the Republic on page 14 of the case submitted to request pre-trial measures for those accused, there were bribes and thus all are overpriced.

Moreno says that bribes happen when the signing of the contract is to take place, but overpricing happens during the execution of the work and thus has to have the complicity of the minister or government officer in charge of the institution that represents the government. He says that Odebrecht worked directly with INAPA (National Water Corporation), CDEEE (Public Electricity Corporation) and MOPC (Ministry of Public Works).

“The heads of those ministries and public institutions were those, in different moments, who to protect their accomplices of Odebrecht, certified as good and valid the overpriced costs of the works, they accepted that the materials were in the quantity and quality as specified in the contract, were who approved the land movements declared by the delinquent company and the construction dimensions were those that were contracted, among other irregularities,” writes Moreno.

Moreno criticized that the Attorney General Office has limited itself to the investigation of the US$92 million in bribes, knowing that the bribes were just a way to the commission of a greater crime: the appropriation of public funds through the overpricing of the works.

Moreno calls for demanding a technical and financial audit of all the works built by Odebrecht, and the investigation of all the ministers and heads of the public institutions and the request that Odebrecht return what was stolen via the overpricing.

Green March is largest spontaneous protest in Santo Domingo
Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and income levels marched on Sunday down the Av. Máximo Gómez, east on Av. Bolívar and south on Av. Winston Churchill-Av. Jiménez Moya to the Supreme Court of Justice at the Centro de los Héroes. The protest had a carnival-like spirit with music and friends meeting friends as citizens banded together to decisively march in a call for an effective Dominican justice system and an end to administrative corruption and impunity.

The crowds were so large that people filled the street and occupied the hill overlooking the Mirador del Sur Park.

The march took off half an hour late given the light rains that began to fall at around 10am.

At the stages set up in the Centro de los Héroes, a series of speeches by the organizers, including Maria Teresa Cabrera, called for “national unity to intensify the green struggle against corruption and impunity to sweep the mud from the institutions and the corrupt political system.” Reading the official statement, she called for jail time for the corrupt officials, recovery of the stolen money and the cancellation of the contracts.

The group also said it is essential that President Danilo Medina and other government officers in the framework of the Odebrecht investigations be held accountable and put on trial. Cabrera said that credible evidence may exist implicating the Medina administration in the irregular tender process and the overpricing of Punta Catalina thermoelectric central facility.

Cabrera read the statement that observed that [Medina’s] political maneuvering has turned the actions of the Public Ministry into a force of obfuscation in the application of justice, and that even fellow party member, former Minister Juan Temístocles Montás, has admitted to taking Odebrecht money to finance the electoral campaigns of President Medina.

The Public Ministry has begun a legal case against 14 persons tied to the US$92 million in bribes the Brazilian construction company admitted to having paid in the Dominican Republic from 2001 to 2014 to secure contracts with the Dominican government.

The request for an investigation of President Danilo Medina comes at a time the media has published reports of the imprisonment of high level statesmen in Brazil and Peru for having accepted Odebrecht money for electoral campaigns.

This is the 6th protest march since the movement first took off with a surprising successful march on 22 January 2017.

There were simultaneous marches abroad, including in New York City and Madrid.

Squeegee men banned from National District
National District Mayor David Collado says he has offered city government (ADN) jobs to windshield cleaners operating on city streets jobs. Collado said the city government carried out a survey to determine how many youths have been cleaning windows on the streets.

Data from 33 of 50 individuals who are cleaning windshields was collected. These young men were offered employment and an offer to participate in a drug rehabilitation program run by Hogares Crea for those who need that service.

Mayor Collado said that cleaning windshields at intersections in the city has been prohibited since last Friday, 14 July 2017, after the city hall issued a resolution to that effect. The authorities began removing windshield cleaners from Av. Luperón, Av. 27 de Febrero, Av. John F. Kennedy and Av. Winston Churchill intersections.

The announcement follows a similar one made by Santiago Mayor Abel Martínez responding to complaints by drivers who were being harassed at stoplights.

Alma Rosa neighborhood declares zero crime
Around 3,000 persons who reside in the El Triangulo neighborhood in Alma Rosa, in eastern Santo Domingo, say they can leave their homes open and walk at any time of the day or night without fear of crime on their streets. The neighborhood is located between Av. Las Americas and San Vicente de Paul.

A report in Diario Libre shows reveals how the community effort has improved their quality of life.

Plinio Llaverias, president of the neighborhood board, says they have installed 34 surveillance cameras covering all the streets in the area. Virtually all residents in the neighborhood, who are connected to each other through their smart phones 24/7, participate in the security effort. Residents in the El Triangulo neighborhood also hire civilians to patrol the area. In addition, two motorized units of the Police are available on call.

While community fund raisers have been held to offset the costs of the programs, each household is required to pay a monthly fee to the neighborhood watch organization.

Diario Libre reports on the cleanliness of the neighborhood, the trees planted along the streets, and the good lighting in the area.

Regional police director, General Neivis Perez Sanchez says that El Triangulo is a model that is being applied in the rest of the zone.

US$435,372 seized from tourists arriving from Bahamas
Customs (DGA) and Drug Control (DNCD) agents seized US$435,372 from three foreigners who arrived from Bahamas on a private plane arriving to Puerto Plata International Airport (POP).

The funds were seized from Bahamas citizen Dique Mitrriy Nicolayevich Vasilyev, Brazilian Mario Farias Rubio, and Colombian Lady Ximena Gutiérrez Serrano. The authorities also seized jewelry, smart phones and computers to the visitors. The visitors said the money was obtained from casino earnings. The visitors arrived on private plane C6-Fox piloted by Dwayne Marty Fox who was investigated and later released.

The DGA appointed a commission made up by deputy director William Espinosa and security head Manuel Ceballos to investigate the case.

Russia and The Netherlands work hard to beat DR
The Dominican senior women's volleyball team forced Russia and The Netherlands to play hard in the World Grand Prix. Russia, ranked 5th in the world, defeated the DR, ranked 9th, 3-1 (16 – 25, 25 – 23, 25 – 21, 25 - 14). The DR next would lose to The Netherlands 3-2 (23 – 25, 22 – 25, 25 – 22, 25 – 23, 15 - 8). The Netherlands is ranked 7th in the world. The DR is in group F1 playing Russia, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

The Dominican Republic played Belgium on Sunday, 16 July 2017, winning 3-2 (25-13, 21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-11. With the win against Belgium, the Dominican Republic salvaged a weekend that started 0-2, with the losses against Russia and The Netherlands. Combined with their 2-1 opening start, they’re 3-3 now and are a win back of the final six.

The Dominican team needs two wins next week in Pool H1 when the team travels to Bangkok, Thailand to play Thailand, Italy and Turkey to make it into the top 6 teams that will play the finals in China.

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) rankings of the Group 1 teams as of August 2016 are: Russia is ranked 5th, Japan 6th, the Netherlands 7th, Italy 8th, Dominican Republic 9th, Turkey 12th, Thailand 14th, Belgium 16th.

The Dominican Republic senior women’s volleyball is playing along with the 32 best teams in the world in the 2017 World Grand Prix that is taking place between 7 July and 6 August, at different venues around the world with the finals scheduled for Nanjing, China from 2-6 August. The 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is in its 25th edition.
See the game against The Netherlands
Read more on the DR game against Belgium.
See the game the DR won against Japan, ranked 6th in the world.

DR defends its U20 volleyball championship in Mexico
The Domininican Republic lost to China 3-0 (19-25, 20-25, 17-25) on Sunday, 16 July 2017 in the 19th FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship staged in the cities of Córdoba and Boca del Río, Mexico from 14-23 July 2017.

Defending champion Dominican Republic had defeated Poland 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-17, 16-14) in the start of the The Polish women had earlier defeated China (3-2).

In a previous game, the DR team had defeated Peru 3-0 (25-20, 25-8, 25-19). The Dominican Republic is playing in Pool B against China, Poland and Peru.

The DR next plays Cuba on 18 July as part of Pool H, then Egypt (19 July) and Italy (20 July).

The biennial event features sixteen teams divided in four groups for the three-day round-robin matches, taking place in both cities. The winners and the runners-up will move to Cordoba to continue their road into the finals, while the rest will compete in placing matches in Boca del Rio.


Comedy at the Sala Ravelo
Luis Dantes Castillo and Giamilka Román star in “los recien casados,” the comedy that will be staged at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater as of 7pm on Monday and Tuesday, 17-18 July 2017, as part of the National Theater Festival (FENATE 2017). Tickets are RD$100 and for sale at the National Theater box office.

See the program for FENATE at:

RD Fashion Week opens at Acropolis
From 18-23 July there will be fashion runway shows and activities at the Gran Salon of the Hotel Catalonia on the Malecón and the Acrópolis Center on Av. Winston Churchill.
This year are the designs of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada from Spain will be featured along with a Show Room Brimela dedicated to brides, special runway shows on “Fashion for Social Inclusion” and a Fashion Mall with all related to fashion.

Other participating designers include:
DR: J Cristian Lagares, Mala by Diomary, Tony Boga, Nereyda Bravo
Mexico: Benito Santos
USA: Lisu Vega, Rosita Hurtado, Melina Nmili Lallabee, Diany Mota
Venezuela: Giovanni Scutaro, Franco Perna, Blanca Fernández, Julio Mora, Nidal Nouaihed, Raenrra, Hugo Espina

Children’s film festival in Santo Domingo and Santiago
The International Children’s Film Festival (FICI) opens in Santo Domingo on Thursday, 20 July 2017. The annual event is organized by the Office of the Vice President and Vice President Margarita Cedeño. A selection of children’s films from Chile, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Germany will be shown.

The films will compete for the “Margarita de Oro” award. The winners will be chosen by a jury made up by children 8 to 13 years of age.

Films to be shown are:
“El inventor de juegos” (Argentina), “Les Contes de la nuit” (France), “Un caballo llamado elefante” (Chile), La tortue rouge (France) y “Smurfs: the Lost Village” (USA).

There will be workshops and talks with special guests at the Biblioteca Infantil Juvenil República Dominicana. The festival will be held from 20 to 26 July at the Palacio del Cine de Sambil and Ágora Mall, in Santo Domingo; and Terra Mall, in Santiago, at 4 and 6pm.

Rock N Pop at Hard Rock Live
Some of the best performers of Dominican rock are taking the stage of the Hard Rock Live Santo Domingo this 20 July 2017. Tribu del Sol, Aljadaqui and Toque Profundo are coming together for a memorable evening. Tickets are RD$1,000, RD$2,000 and RD$3,000 and are for sale at the Hard Rock Live Santo Domingo box office at Blue Mall, at the Jumbo and Supermercados Nacional and online at Uepa Tickets.

Bachata at the Sala Ravelo
Veteran actors Orestes Amador and Yanela Hernández are together to present “Bachata” a play written and directed by Hamlet Bodden. The Sala Ravelo of the National Theater will be presenting the story of an impossible love from 26-29 July 2017 at 8:30pm and 30 July at 6:30pm.