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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 21 February 2018

    President inaugurates Santiago Central Park
    Real time access to Congress
    Presidency removes Cesar Mella from IDSS and announces more changes
    Mildred Guzmán Madera named ambassador to Venezuela
    New Haitian Consul had been caught smuggling people
    New deputy youth minister fired within hours
    Rodríguez Monegro of SNS loses his job to politics
    Enrique Martínez to advise President on land use
    Goodbye AMET, hello Digesett
    DGII reports system down, gives one more day to pay taxes
    Antiviral medicines for all
    Independence related monuments in need of repair
    Neonatal death rate still too high
    Tour of Punta Catalina for diplomats
    Will Father Rogelio leave the Salesian Order?
    CEI-RD invites to Hub 2018
    Vuelta Independencia set for 22-27 February 2018

    President inaugurates Santiago Central Park
    President Danilo Medina was in Santiago to inaugurate the Santiago Central Park. The park is now the main sports and public recreation site for the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. It is also an important green area for the city.

    Participating in the inauguration was Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo and the president of the Santiago Association for Development (Apedi), Fernando Capellán. Apedi will have offices inside the park. Also attending the inauguration was Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo, Environment Minister Francisco Domínguez Brito, Sports Minister Danilo Díaz, Agriculture Minister Angel Estévez, Labor Minister José Ramón Fadul, the senator for Santiago Julio César Valentín, Santiago Mayor Abel Martínez, and Santiago governor Aura Toribio. The installations received the blessing of Roman Catholic Church Monsignor Freddy Antonio de Jesús Bretón.

    The Ministry of Public Works undertook the construction of the park that was conceived in 2000 when it was decided that the Cibao International Airport would be relocated to Licey, on the outskirts of the city. The park was built on the site of the airport.

    The Ministry of Environment is contributing to the upkeep of the green areas and the Ministry of Sports has been entrusted with the security, maintenance and equipping of the sports areas. The park has facilities for mountain biking and cycling, basketball, football, volleyball, softball, baseball, tenis, running and walking. There are also social areas. There are 600 interior parking spaces and an additional 30 outside the gated area.

    The park has an area of around 350,000 square meters. Some 80,000 trees were planted to contribute to the biodiversity of the new ecosystem that is now the main green public space of the country’s second largest city. The trees serve as an important habitat of bird species in the area.

    President Danilo Medina signed Decree 84-18 that creates the Parque Central de Santiago as a municipal ecological park. The decree created a board to oversee its operation.

    Real time access to Congress
    The National Congress announced the start on Tuesday, 27 February 2018, of a digital platform so that the public can access information on bills currently being deliberated in Congress. The platform will allow the public to track each piece of legislation, including changes in the bills or resolutions as they make their way through the legislative process. Other information on legislative activities will also be online. Legislative session resumes on 27 February.

    The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rubén Maldonado, made the announcement during the Legislative and Business Forum organized by the National Business Council (Conep). He said that the initiative seeks to turn the Dominican society into an overseer of the work of the legislature.

    Presidency removes Cesar Mella from IDSS and announces more changes
    Dr. Diego Hurtado was named director of the Dominican Society Security Institute (IDSS), replacing psychiatrist Cesar Mella. Mella is a PRD vice president.

    The president of the PRD, Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas had requested the position in November 2017. At the time, Mella had responded: “Political parties cannot act as if they were an employees’ club, and much less as a society for lobbying for government appointments.”. Nevertheless, he said that more than 100 PRD members had found jobs in the IDSS in the past 15 months since his appointment.”

    At the time, Administrative Minister of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta had defended the request by Vargas who wanted to name someone else to the post. The press had reported that Mella had clashed with Miguel Vargas, resulting in Vargas sending a letter to President Medina requesting the replacement of Mella.

    Peralta confirmed that the position was part of the political agreement that gave Vargas the option of naming to positions contemplated in the alliance of the PRD with the PLD that resulted in the changing of the 2010 Constitution to allow for Medina’s reelection.

    Mella is appointed social security advisor to the President in the decree announcing his replacement.

    In another change announced on 20 February 2018, President Medina appointed Agripina Ramírez to direct the Instituto de Innovación en Biotecnología e Industria (IIBI). The appointments are in Decree 83-18.

    Mildred Guzmán Madera named ambassador to Venezuela
    President Danilo Medina appointed Mildred Guzmán Madera ambassador to Venezuela by Decree 82-2018. Prior to her appointment as ambassador to Venezuela, Guzman Madera had been an alternate ambassador to the Dominican mission at the United Nations.

    She is a Dominican migrant who has been a Spanish teacher at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia (USA). She was named Minister of Industry & Commerce from 1996-1997. She served as secretary as assistant to the late founder of the PLD, Juan Bosch. She has a master’s in public administration from PUCMM and completed postgraduate studies in public administration at the UASD from where she also graduated with a degree in political sciences.

    New Haitian Consul had been caught smuggling people
    The appointments announced on Monday, 19 February 2018, by President Danilo Medina have prompted news commentators to use Google search program to learn more of the background of the appointees.

    The one appointment that has generated the most press is that of Andrés Boció Fortuna, who was transferred to the position of consul in Anse-á-Pitre, Haiti (Decree 79-18) from his position at the consulate in Belladere, Haiti.

    In the past, Andrés Boció Fortuna has made press headlines for accusations of human trafficking and selling fake visas.

    At the time of his appointment by Decree 79-18, Bocio Fortuna was counselor minister at the Dominican consulate in Belladere, also in Haiti, where he has been since 2014. In 2014 he was arrested by G2 forces of the Army when driving a SUV transporting 15 undocumented Haitians from Comendador to Santo Domingo. The case did not move through the court system. Bocio Fortuna has always insisted that he has done nothing wrong. The government has never pressed charges.

    Previously, in January 2007, the then government of President Leonel Fernandez, following an investigation of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, had relieved Bocio Fortuna of his duties as the Haitian consul in Ouanaminthe for allegedly operating two clandestine consulates and for issuing Dominican visas without authorization of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

    Bocio Fortuna aspired to be the PLD candidate to senator for Elias Piña, his hometown on the border with Haiti.

    The new appointment included in Decree 79-18 published on 19 February 2018 is his fourth consular appointment by PLD administrations.

    In the past, he was accused of fraud in securing visas to Europe for Dominican residents in Elías Piña, of running a parallel consulate to secure visas for Haitians, in addition to personally trafficking in Haitians.

    In addition to consular appointment in Belladere and Anse-a-Pitre, Bocio has been appointed to the Dominican consulate in Ouanaminthe under a Leonel Fernandez PLD administration.

    New deputy youth minister fired within hours
    Vantroi Suazo received the news that President Danilo Medina had appointed him Deputy Minister of Youth, while in his prison cell in Bani, where he is serving three months preventive custody for abusing his wife. He has four children with his wife.

    He has already been in jail for a month and is currently awaiting a review of his coercive measures.

    Suazo has a clothing shop and is an assistant to Senator Wilton Guerrero (PLD-Peravia) and president of the youth section of the Dominican Liberation Party in the Peravia province.

    Following the announcement of the appointment, his wife Emadin Guaba, said that they just had an argument as ten-year married couples do, but that they agreed to seek counseling and begin a reconciliation process at the Gender Violence Unit of the Public Ministry in Baní. She said that the situation has been manipulated by parties interested in causing problems for herself and her husband.

    However, less than 24 hours after appointing him, President Danilo Medina revoked the appointment. The President told the press he did not know Suazo was in jail.

    Eli Heiliger, in a commentary in Diario Libre, wonders how the intelligence services of the government did not catch on to the arrest of Suazo for gender violence.

    Diario Libre, on 21 February published a report confirming information in a file at the Unit for Attention to Gender and Intrafamiliar Violence of the Public Ministry of Baní, Peravia that disputes the downplaying by Guaba of the reasons for the arrest of her husband.

    At the time, Guaba claimed that her husband, in a jealousy outbreak when finding another man in their home grabbed her by the arms and smashed her into a wall and with the handle of a gun bruised her arm and then threw her out of the house. She presented a legal medical certificate at the time of the complaint with the injuries suffered.

    Rodríguez Monegro of SNS loses his job to politics
    The replacement of Dr. Nelson Rodríguez Monegro at the helm of the National Health Service (SNS) was for political reasons, according to a commentary by Eli Heiliger published in Diario Libre. Rodríguez was replaced on 19 February 2018, together with several other appointments.

    As reported, Rodríguez refused to keep on the payroll (nominillas) persons whose appointments were deemed to be based on political partisanship, rather than merit. Diario Libre commentary reveals that Rodríguez refused his new appointment as advisor to the President, and calls this “an unusual gesture in public administration.”

    “He [President Danilo Medina] is a very kind person who said to me: ‘well, Nelson, try to find a way around this because in one way or another you will understand that they are people who have done a political job," said Rodríguez Monegro.

    Rodríguez Monegro was replaced by Chanel Rosa Chupani. Rosa Chupani had successfully led the government health provider, SENASA, who was appointed advisor to the President on the hospital system.

    Enrique Martínez to advise President on land use
    Several of recent appointments made by President Danilo Medina on 19 February 2018, have been marked by past controversies.

    PLD politician Enrique Martínez was named by the Medina Administration on 19 February “advisor on land development of the Presidency.” Martínez in the past has been accused of irregularities in land sales when appointed to the State Sugar Council (CEA) in 2013, as several links online indicate.

    Martínez’s tenure as director of the National Lottery was also marked by controversies.

    Goodbye AMET, hello Digesett
    On Tuesday 20, February 2018, the General Department of Security of Terrestrial Transit and Transport (Digesett), was formally launched as the replacement for the Metropolitan Transport Authority. The new entity was created by the Law No.63-17, in article 357.

    In addition to the name change, new logo, colors and new uniforms, the 2017 Transit and Transport Law created an administrative board, new colors for Digesett buildings, institutional song, clipboard for use with details of infractions and new designs for the Digisett vehicles.

    Now Digisett director, General Frener Bello Arias, explained that they would look to connect directly with the public and he guaranteed a good quality of work and safety for all. During the presentation of the new look of the institution, Bello said that traffic accidents are down 20% under his administration.

    DGII reports system down, gives one more day to pay taxes
    An overload caused the Tax Agency (DGII) system to collapse on 20 February 2018, at the deadline for the payment of the ITBIS tax. The DGII announced that it would give an extension to Wednesday, 22 February 2018 for the payment of tax obligations due on Tuesday.

    Antiviral medicines for all
    The United Nations Combined Program on HIV and AIDS (ONUDISA) has congratulated the Dominican Republic for the increase in the budget for the purchase of antiviral medicines to provide free of cost to those living with HIV in the Dominican Republic.

    Director of ONUSIDA RD, Bethania Betances, highlighted that the announcement made last week by Dr. Víctor Terrero, director of the National Council for HIV and AIDS about the increase from RD$527.7 to RD$677.7 for the acquisition of antiviral drugs showed a real interest on the part of the government for keeping track of the international agreements to comply with the strategy of treatment for all.

    She observed that in December 2017, there were 66,467 people living with HIV in the country of which 34,224 adults and 783 children received antiviral drugs.
    She argued that universal access to treatment is essential.

    Independence related monuments in need of repair
    National heritage monuments that commemorate struggles for freedom and independence are in a poor state of repair and uncared for according to a report recently published by the Listin Diario. The report comes out a week before the celebration of Independence Day on 27 February 2018. Many of these monuments are today hideouts for criminals and the shelters for the homeless, with little intervention from the authorities.

    In a week’s time it will be National Independence Day and the little square La Trinitaria built during the Balaguer administration to honor the original independence fighters is all but abandoned and full of refuse, unsafe with a strong smell of urine and contaminated by a nearby well. The Plazoleta La Trinitaria is located at the intersection of Josefa Brea and the access to the city or to the bridges crossing the Ozama River to the eastern side of Greater Santo Domingo. The Listin Diario reports that although the authorities have long been aware that the square, constructed in 1966, is in a poor condition; even the municipal police avoid it given the number of assaults that have taken place there.

    Another abandoned monument is the Juan Pablo Duarte monument, between Las Americas Expressway and San Isidro Avenue. The bust of Duarte at the monument is surrounded by a small amphitheater, bathrooms, stairs and green areas are all deteriorating, full of trash, old clothes and graffiti. The bathrooms and offices at the monument are occupied by homeless individuals.

    The Gate of Mercy (Puerta de la Misericordia), Independence Park and Plaza de la Bandera (Av. 27 de Febrero and Av. Gregorio Luperón are all in need of care although not in such as bad state as those mentioned previously.

    The president of the Commission for Heritage of the Country, Juan Daniel Balcácer, warns that the historical memory of the country will disappear if these monuments are not protected adequately.

    Neonatal death rate still too high
    According to a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the death rate of newborns is increasing at an alarming pace in poorer nations across the world. Of the 184 countries featured in the report, the Dominican Republic is in 51st position with a newborn death rate of 20.8 for each thousand live births. The means than one in every 48 children born will die in the first month of life.

    The report highlights that access to quantity and quality of well trained nurses, complying with prenatal rules and protocols, maternal lactation in the first hour after birth, skin to skin contact and good nutrition all make a difference.

    Across the world, in low-income countries the average is 27 deaths for each 1,000 live births, and in high-income countries it is three deaths per thousand. The report goes on to say that more than 80% of the deaths happen in cases of premature births, or are caused by complications during the birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis.

    Tour of Punta Catalina for diplomats
    Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas is taking accredited diplomats and consuls in the country on a tour of the Punta Catalina thermoelectric plant under construction by the Public Electricity Corporation on Wednesday 21 February 2018.

    The tour will be carried out so that the representatives of foreign countries can learn the details of the project that is being built in the municipal district of Catalina, in Peravia province, about an hour’s drive from Santo Domingo.

    The visitors will be briefed on details of the construction of the two coal-fired generators that are under construction to add 752 megawatts to the national electrical system. The construction has been wrapped in controversy as it is the largest contract signed by the Dominican government with Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction firm that has admitted to paying US$92 million in bribes to advance contract work in the country.

    Will Father Rogelio leave the Salesian Order?
    Father Rogelio Cruz says he is willing to travel to Medellin, Colombia to take a course he had requested, but there is no way he will accept the transfer to La Ceja, Antioquía, Colombia. The priest and social activist has accused mining companies of exerting influence to get him out of the country. He said the Salesian authorities are misleading the people in their statement that he had requested the course.

    Cruz says that the Inspectoría Salesiana de las Antillas ordered his departure for “a moment of spiritual renovation at the Casa Sacerdotal de La Ceja, Antioquia.”

    Cruz says that it is an order to leave without return. “It does not say if I will return. If I go I am throwing myself from a cliff,” he told the press.

    Cruz has explained that Art. 68 of the Salesian Order is clear that if he does not go where ordered he will be thrown out of the order.

    CEI-RD invites to Hub 2018
    The Center for Export and Investment (CEI-RD) and ProDominicana is inviting producers in the Caribbean to participate in the Hub 2018 business to business event that will take place at the convention center of the Ministry of Foreign Relations from 6-9 March 2018.

    The event is organized by the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production and is in its third year. Some 150 companies are expected to participate in the business rounds and events. A delegation of businesses from Taiwan announced its participation.

    Vuelta Independencia set for 22-27 February 2018
    The Vuelta Independencia will take place 22-27 February 2018. The event takes cyclists on routes all throughout the nation. The competition this year six stages, instead of the eight last year. He said there will be race routes to the south, east, Samana (northeast), Puerto Plata, Moca to Santiago and Constanza.

    Teams from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, France, Martinique, Guadaloupe, United States and The Netherlands are participating together with seven teams from the DR, totaling around 150 participants.
    Last edited by Dolores; 02-21-2018 at 12:51 PM.

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