DR1 suffers a bot attack
South Korea Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon visits Dominican Republic
First Lady’s office coordinates World Tennis Special Olympics
Good year for free zone industries
Five Medina administration ministers seek to be the PLD presidential candidate
Paliza and Mejía ahead, PRM votes to choose party directors
Gallup poll shows there are no favorites for President in 2020
BBC to film at Pinewood in Dominican Republic
Café Santo Domingo’s owner passes away at the age of 83
Life is slower in Pedernales after murder
Padre Rogelio to get booted from the Salesianos
National District volleyball tournament starts in April
The big night of show business: Soberano Awards on 20 March
Celebrating French gastronomy on Tuesday, 21 March

DR1 suffers another bot attack
DR1 Daily News was again affected by a bot attack. The event is being resolved. We apologize for the delay in the news updates.

South Korea Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon visits Dominican Republic
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of South Korea visited the Dominican Republic for three days, meeting with President Danilo Medina and Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas last week. This was the first official bilateral meeting between the leaders of these two countries since establishing diplomatic relations in 1962.

Foreign Minister Vargas reported new South Korean investments would be forthcoming in education, energy, transport and technology. Vargas spoke after the South Korean Prime Minister met President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace.

The visit was a first stop of two official visits in Latin America that the South Korean prime minister made to the Dominican Republic and Brazil to strengthen bilateral relations with both countries. His office reported the focus was on cooperation in energy, infrastructure and communication technology projects.

During his visit to the Dominican Republic, the prime minister also visited the Centro de Atención Integral Adolescentes of the Ministry of Women in Los Prados, Santo Domingo. The center works to prevent and care for pregnant teenagers and was founded in 2015 with support from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Lee Nak-yeon held meetings with Dominican business leaders, attended a wreath- laying ceremony at the Altar de la Patria that honors the Dominican Republic founders (Altar of the Homeland) in the Colonial City accompanying Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas.

In addition, the Prime Minister visited the Center for Exports and Investment (CEI-RD). Trade between both countries is US$719.49 million of which the DR exports US$181.12 million in ferronickel.

Foreign Minister Vargas said that the minister committed to back the Dominican candidacy to a two-year non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.


First Lady’s office coordinates World Tennis Special Olympics
Santo Domingo will be host to the Special Olympics World Tennis Tournament this coming 9-17 November 2018.

Athletes from more than 40 countries will participate in the event that is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The event is coordinated by the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Sports, and the National Council of Disabilities (Conadis). The director of the tournament is Sergio Tobal.

First Lady Candida Montilla noted that the event is not only a world sports competition but also an opportunity to collectively foster the values of inclusion and respect for human dignity.

Around 1,000 volunteers will provide a range of services for the event. The Tennis Special Olympics has the support of the local NGOs Quiéreme como Soy, Manos Unidas por el Autismo, Nido para Ángeles, Yo También Puedo and Best Buddies.

The president of Special Olympics in the Dominican Republic is Juan Francisco Batlle and the director of Special Education at the Ministry of Education Cristina Amiama.


Good year for free zone industries
2017 was a stable year for light manufacturing operations at export free zones in the Dominican Republic, according to statistics compiled by the National Free Zone Industry Council. The numbers showed small growth in regards to number of companies, free zone parks in operation, jobs, wages, accumulated investment, exports, local spending and others.
Luisa Fernández Durán, executive director of the National Free Zone Council (CNZFE) says 665 free zone industries are in operation at 71 industrial parks. The number of industries is up from 645 in 2016. 49.2% of these are located in the northern region of the country, 24.4% in the National District and Province of Santo Domingo, 14% in the southern region and 12.5% in the eastern region.

As of December 2017, free zone industries employed 165,725 workers, up 1.6% compared to 2016, when there were 163,147 at year’s end. Of those employed, 71% are laborers, 20.3% technicians and 8.7% administrative staff.

Apparel operations continue to lead in number of jobs, with 40,864 direct jobs, or 24.7%. These are followed by service industry jobs with 27,442 for 16/6%, tobacco and by products with 27,272 for 16.5%. Medical devices and pharmaceuticals employed 22,666 for 13.7%, footwear 13,807 or 8.3%.

Accumulated investment in the sector had reached US$4.47 billion, up 3.3% compared to 2016. The United States is the leading investor in the sector with 39.3% or US$1.75 billion. Next is the Dominican Republic with 25.3% or US$1.13 billion, Canada with 7.2% or US$320.6 million, the UK with 4.7% or US$211.5 million, Germany with 3.3% or US$148.4 million.

Free zone exports were US$5.69 billion in 2017, up 3.5% compared to 2016. The total is 56.3% of the total exports of the Dominican Republic. In value of exports, medical devices and pharmaceuticals were 26.1% of the total, followed by apparel with 18.8%, electrical products with 15.5%, tobacco and by products with 13.9% and footwear with 6.9%.

As reported, the sector had local expenditures for US$1.48 billion, compared to US$1.46 billion in 2016, up 1.7%.


Five Medina administration ministers seek to be the PLD presidential candidate
Education Minister Andrés Navarro, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier García, Environment Minister Francisco Domínguez, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo and Interior & Police Minister Carlos Amarante Baret are seeking the PLD presidential nomination. Other PLD members aspiring for their party’s presidential nomination include Reinaldo Pared Perez, president of the Senate, and former Minister of Industry & Commerce Temístocles Montás. The Medina cabinet officers met at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 15 March 2018.

Conventional wisdom regards former President Leonel Fernández and even incumbent President Danilo Medina as the leading pre-candidates for the party’s nomination. While the 2015 Constitution bans Medina from running, his followers are energetically looking for a loophole in the nation’s laws or are pushing for an amendment to the Constitution (through Congress action) that would allow Medina to once again run for the nation’s highest elected office.

An editorial published in Diario Libre last week remarks that the pre-candidates who were called to the Presidential Palace for the meeting with President Danilo Medina on Thursday, 15 March 2018, are taking things in stride.


Paliza and Mejía ahead, PRM votes to choose party directors
More than 520,000 registered Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) party members were eligible to vote for party directors in the national convention of the leading opposition party held on Sunday, 18 March 2018.

Tony Raful, director of the internal party election estimated that 75% of all registered voters turned up to vote on Sunday. The first bulletin showed Puerto Plata senator Jose Paliza heading the vote for president of the party with 86.6%. Likewise, Carolina Mejía was leading the vote for secretary general with 79.2%. These two were the candidates of the coalition reached between party leaders, former President Hipólito Mejia and former PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader.

Raful acknowledged in some areas the vote started late, but he said this would not affect the outcome of the convention. The vote was set for 8am to 5pm nationwide.

The PRM members are voting to choose a new party president, 21 vice presidents, a secretary general and 21 deputy secretary general. Those chosen will be in their positions for four years. The directors will be responsible to prepare the political party’s campaign for the 2020 general election.

The aspirants for president of the PRM are Puerto Plata senator José Ignacio Paliza, who has the backing of the two main party leaders former President Hipólito Mejía and former PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader, and also pediatrician Jesús Feris Iglesias and politician Geanilda Vásquez.

The aspirants for secretary general are Carolina Mejía (with the backing of her father Hipólito Mejía and Luis Abinader), also agronomist Leonardo Faña, and present secretary general Jesús Vásquez Martínez (Chu), Anury de León and Andrés Lugo.

The PRM said some 1.6 million ballots were printed for 524,675 registered voters. Some 1,920 voting centers were prepared nationwide and in the United States and Europe. The organization is said to be cost over RD$20 million, says organizing commission president, Tony Raful.

This is a first phase of the National Ordinary Convention. A second then for the delegates is set for 8 April and a final fase, the national delegates will be held on 22 April.

On Friday, 16 March, the incumbent president Andrés Bautista withdrew his bid to seek reelection. In a press conference Bautista complained he had not received the voting list. “I will not be an accomplice of possible irregularities in an event this important. Our party must not take a step backwards,” as reported in Diario Libre.


Gallup poll shows there are no favorites for President in 2020
With more than two years to go for the May 2020 general election, a Gallup poll published in Hoy newspaper reveals that most Dominicans are uncertain over who they would vote for President in 2020. The poll was carried out by Gallup Dominicana for Hoy newspaper from 5 to 11 March 2018. Some 1,200 persons eligible to vote were polled in Greater Santo Domingo, the south, north and eastern regions. The poll results have an error margin of plus or minus 2.8%.

PLD voters: 46% of PLD voters said they are uncertain who would be the party’s candidate. 19.7% understand incumbent President Danilo Medina should be the PLD candidate for President, even when the 2015 Constitution bans him from opting for another term. Former President Leonel Fernández was mentioned by 18.7% of those polled. 4% mentioned Vice President Margarita Cedeño. Nevertheless, when the name of President Medina was removed, her numbers increased to 27%.

PRM voters: 49.9% of eligible voters in the Dominican Republic do not know who should be the PRM candidate in the 2020 presidential election. 31.8% believe this should be Luis Abinader, and 7.8% favor former President Hipólito Mejía. David Collado, who is the mayor of the National District, had a preference of 3.3% among those polled.

PRD voters: The PRD allied with the PLD in the 2016 general election. Now the Gallup poll reveals that among PRD voters there is an uncertainty of 66.5% regarding who would be the presidential candidate for that party. 10.8% mentioned Miguel Vargas Maldonado, the party president and incumbent foreign minister.

PRSC voters: The PRSC is the political party with the most uncertainty. 83.8% of PRSC voters said they were clueless who would be that party’s presidential candidate. The president of the party, Federico Antún Batlle appears with 6.3% following, and La Altagracia senator Amable Aristy Castro received 3.3% preference in the poll.

Among the minority parties, Guillermo Moreno of Alianza País did best, with 46% of voters thinking he would run for president on that party’s ticket. Among the minority parties, 26% mentioned Eduardo Estrella of Dominicanos por el Cambio and 3.4% mentioned Max Puig of Alianza por la Demoracia.

President Danilo Medina and former President Leonel Fernandez were tied to 14.8% to the question of “who would you prefer” of the two. 18.8% of PRM voters said they would like PRM presidential candidate to win the 2020 presidential election. Vice President Margarita Cedeño was preferred by 7.2% of the population. And Guillermo Moreno of AlPais received 6.6%. Former President Hipólito Mejía received 6.2%, and Ramfis Domínguez (grand child of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo) got 5.4%. David Collado, mayor of the National District, received 2.8% of the preferences.


BBC to film at Pinewood in Dominican Republic
The story of a young female slave forced to work on a Jamaican plantation in the mid-19th century will be filmed at Pinewood Studios in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic this summer. It is a BBC One adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel “The Long Song”. Heyday Television is producing with the company’s David Heyman and Rosie Alison joining Williams, Levy and the BBC’s Elizabeth Kilgarriff as executive producers.


Café Santo Domingo’s owner passes away at the age of 83
The owner of Café Santo Domingo (Industrias Banilejas - Induban), 83-year old Rafael Perelló died on Saturday, 18 March 2018. In 2016 he had been recognized as manufacturer of the year by the Dominican Republic Association of Industries (AIRD). Induban is the leading manufacturer of coffee in the Dominican Republic. Induban was founded by his father in 1945.

He is being mourned at Funeraria Blandino and will be buried at the Máximo Gómez Cemetery in Santo Domingo on Monday, 19 March 2018.


Life is slower in Pedernales after murder
The situation is still tense at the border, especially in the Pedernales area after the murder of a senior couple, Julio Perez Féliz and his wife Leyda Urbáez, in a machete attack and robbery. One Haitian, Edner Noël of three suspect brothers, was arrested by the police in Haiti in possession of the motorcycle of one of the deceased. The family is demanding that the Haitian authorities send the individuals to the Dominican Republic for trial. There is no extradition agreement with Haiti.

The Pedernales Monday and Friday marketplace has been suspended for two weeks as the local authorities demand that the suspect come to face Dominican justice, according to Luis Manuel Féliz Matos, mayor of Pedernales, and a relative of the deceased. An extra Army contingent was sent to Pedernales to impede violence. An estimated 250 Haitians returned to Haiti, fearing reprisals for the murder.

On Wednesday, 14 March 2018, Dominican and Haitian authorities met in Port au Prince to request that the lead suspect come to face charges.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ruben Darío Paulino Sem says that almost all Haitians who work in the border region do not have proper identity documents. He also estimated that 90-95% of the foreign work force in the country do not possess the required work permits. The vast majority of the undocumented workers are farm laborers in the northwest Dominican Republic. Paulino Sem made the comments when reviewing new efforts of the Dominican government to check migration at the border.


Padre Rogelio to get booted from the Salesians?
Controversial priest Rogelio Cruz has refused to leave for Colombia where he was sent to a priest renovation course in La Ceja. The priest has gone public saying he is being forced to resign the Salesian religious order. He said he feared for his safety in La Ceja and would not travel there.

The priest who is based in La Vega says his bosses are being pressed by influential mining sector persons. Cruz has opposed start of new mining operations in several communities.

Now, a report in Listin Diario reveals paternity reports and birth declarations made by Cruz. The special report by Ruddy L. González for Listín Diario, establishes that in several civil registration offices there are several birth declarations in favor of several children in which the priest appears as “biological father” in addition to declaring the birth.

This would not be a first, as other priests in the past, including Belgian priest Pierre Ruquoy, have been known to have declared several children in the border area for humanitarian reasons in order to expedite the legalizing of their status.

González reports that in a correspondence dated 15 January 2017 sent to Father Cruz by Father Francisco Batista, superior inspector of the Salesian Order, makes the point of the birth declarations. Also mentioned are other disciplinary issues related to the Fundación Padre Rogelio Cruz, absences from his religious commitments and to requests made by the inspector general office and related to remarks made by the priest that are said to be contrary to the church doctrine.

The Listin Diario story says that the Salesian Order process to remove Rogelio Cruz from the order began on 15 March 2018.


National District volleyball tournament starts in April
The National District volleyball tournament will again be held this year after almost a 10-year interruption. The tournament was shelved when many of the leading players earned contracts to play in international leagues that depleted local talent to participate in the National District tournament.

The National District tournament resumes on 6 April. Coach Cristian Cruz highlighted this is an opportunity for Dominican team members to further develop their skills. The games will be broadcast on TV. The tournament is open to all ages.

The Dominican women’s volleyball team is ranked in the top 10 of the world. The 2018 tournament, the Torneo Superior de Voleibol del Distrito Nacional, is organized by the Asociación del Distrito Nacional with the endorsement of the Dominican Volleyball Federation. This year it will be dedicated to First Lady Candida Montilla.

The big night of show business: Soberano Awards on 20 March
All is ready for the 34th Soberano Awards on Tuesday, 20 March 2018. The Soberano Awards are the night of the Oscars for show business in the Dominican Republic. The Soberano Awards are organized by the Association of Chroniclers of the Arts with the sponsorship of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (Presidente Beer).

The ceremony at the National Theater is televised on Channel 5 and has always commanded high ratings. This year, it is produced by Alberto Zayas. The MCs will be Nashla Bogaert and Roberto Angel Salcedo.

This year, performances by Daddy Yankee, Victor Manuelle, Yuri and Ozuna have been announced. There will be tributes to merengue singer Sergio Vargas (on occasion of his 35th year as a performer) and grass roots merengue singer Francisco Ulloa for his 50 years as a musician and his contributions to Dominican folklore. Actress and singer Cecilia García will also be honored. Domingo Batista is also on the program for recognition to his many years as a communicator. The show reportedly will open with a segment dedicated to local urban music performers.

The Soberano Awards kick off at 7pm with the red carpet parade conducted by Miralba Ruiz, Clarissa Molina, Yubelkis Peralta, Gnómico, Reading Pantaleón and Bolívar Valera.


Celebrating French gastronomy on Tuesday, 21 March
The French community is celebrating this Tuesday, 21 March 2018, the international French gastronomical event, Gout de France 2018 in the Dominican Republic with participating restaurants in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, Las Terrenas, La Vega and Santiago. The event is organized by the French Embassy in the Dominican Republic. The dinners have fixed prices ranging from RD$1,500 to RD$4,000, plus taxes.
The participating restaurants are:
Santo Domingo: Pat’e Palo European Brasserie, Elysée, La Isla del Marisco, Danielle, Nicolás de Ovando, Mesón de la Cava, Nipau Restaurant, La Cassina, Duo Restaurant Lounge, Nítido Restaurante, Travesías, TuroRD, Luna and Mitre.
Santiago: KGB Kitchen Gallery Bistro y Noah Restaurant and Lounge
La Vega: Alta Vista
Las Terrenas: Hotel Atlantis
Punta Cana: Club Med Indigo Lounge

Read more at: