New transport terminal and skylift for Los Alcarrizos
Dominican Republic elected to UN Security Council
DR has the highest drug prices in Latin America
Fenatrado truckers back to work at Multimodal Caucedo
Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez files Odebrecht bribes case
Jesús Vásquez (Chú) added to filed Odebrecht bribes case
Marcha Verde calls on public not to becom fatigued in rejecting impunity
Guillermo Moreno calls Odebrecht file a farce
Cigarette contraband caught at Las Americas
Dominicans remember Anthony Bourdain
Bartolo Colon grab’s Juan Marichal’s record for most wins

New transport terminal and skylift for Los Alcarrizos
President Danilo Medina was in Los Alcarrizos on Thursday, 7 June 2018, for the ground-breaking for the Los Alcarrizos Skylift. This would be the second built by the government in the Province of Santo Domingo. A first was built to transport passengers from Gualey in the National District to Los Tres Brazos in Santo Domingo East and onwards.

This time the skylift would connect Los Alcarrizos with the just started Interurban Cibao Terminal. The government announced an investment of RD$8 billion for the skylift and the terminal.

The skylift is being seen as a more economical option than the underground metro lines. The Los Alcarrizos skylift would serve the municipalities of Los Alcarrizos, Santo Domingo West and the National District, a population of around 400,000 people.

As contemplated, six stations would be built over 11 km. These are:
Puente Blanco, Terminal Interurbana del Cibao at the entrance to Los Alcarrizos, Av. Monumental-Manoguayabo, Prolongación Av. 27 de Febrero, Duarte Highway Km. 9 (Metro Station María Montez), Herrera (connecting to the Metro.)

The Interurban Cibao Terminal will offer bus service to 65 routes to the east, six urban bus corridors, parking for vehicles, minibuses, bicycles, motorcycles, and passenger rest room areas.

Present at the ceremony was the director of the National Transit and Ground Transport Institute (Intrant), Claudia Franchesca de los Santos; Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo; Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta and the director of the Metropolitan Bus Service Office (Omsa) Hector Mojica.

Claudia Franchesca de los Santos of Intrant said that both the Los Alcarrizos Skylift and the Multimodal Terminal are part of the strategic national road safety plan and the reordering of transport in the country.
Public Works Minister Castillo said that the works will benefit populations in around 14 provinces.

Nevertheless, Jose Antonio Martínez Rojas writes in Hoy that the government should stick to the plan for the extension of the second metro line. He says the demand at that point is much much more than a skylift will be able to handle. He said the line 2 will also serve the populations in Pantoja and Manoguayabo. He suggests the Medina administration use its new business and diplomatic relations with the Popular Republic of China government to enlist support to build the additional metro lines. He said the priority is the line from Los Alcarrizos to Km. 9 of Duarte Highway, that of Multicentro at Av. San Vicente de Paul to San Isidro.

Dominican Republic elected to UN Security Council
The United Nations reported on Friday, 8 June 2018 that the Dominican Republic was elected to be one of the two non-permanent seats for Latin American states in the 15-member Security Council during a single round of voting by members of the United Nations General Assembly. This is the first time the Dominican Republic will be on the Security Council. It is the third time the country lobbied for a seat on the Council.

Only the vote for the Indonesia seat was contested (between Indonesia and Maldives). The four countries running without opposition – Dominican Republic, Germany, Belgium and South Africa -- all received over 180 votes. The non-permanent members serve two-year terms on the body that sets the UN’s whole peace and security agenda.

The Dominican Republic and the other new members will assume their positions starting on of 1 January 2019.

In addition to the Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium were elected for Western Europe and Other States, Indonesia for Asian and Pacific States and South Africa for African States.

The Council’s ten non-permanent seats, are allocated according to a rotation pattern set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure fair regional representation on the Council: five from African and Asian and Pacific States; one from Eastern Europe; two from Latin American States; and two from Western European and Other States (WEOG).

The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year. The other non-permanent members of the Security Council are Peru, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, and Poland until January 2020.

DR has the highest drug prices in Latin America
Superintendent of Health & Labor Risks (Sisalril) Pedro Luis Castellanos lamented during a TV interview that pharmaceutical prices in the Dominican Republic are the highest in Latin America. Castellanos said he would be meeting with pharmaceutical companies in the near future to find ways to reduce prices. He made his remarks during an interviewed with Hector Herrera Cabral for D’Agenda TV show on Sunday by Telesistema, Channel 11.

In his opinion, speculation and new overhead costs, such as upgraded facilities, may have driven the logal drug prices upwards. "We want to reach a negotioated consensus with the drug companies without running rough shod over anyone, allowing us to craft a formula to ensure that there is no speculation in the price of medicine," said the superintendent of Sisalril.

He added that it is inconceivable that if there has been no increase in production costs, there has been an escalation in drug prices to such an extent that inflation in this sector is three times higher than that reported by the Central Bank authorities.

Fenatrado truckers back to work at Multimodal Caucedo
Truckers were again back at using disruptive tactics last week, causing multimillion dollar losses by blocking entrance to the Multimodal Caucedo Port last week. Nevertheless, by Friday, 8 June 2018, it was announced the blockade had been lifted. Ricardo de los Santos, president of Fenatrado, said that both parties reached an agreement to create a follow up commission to jointly deal with cargo loading problems at the port. On the commission are members of the trucker’s union and executives of DP World Multimodal Caucedo, owners of the port. Morten Johansen, executive director of DP World Multimodal Caucedo, represented the port.

The work stoppage caused major inconveniences to exporters and importers at the port. The truckers say they paralyzed the port to protest the alleged lack of freight cargo loading equipment. He said the truckers have been having to pay for the delays.

Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez files Odebrecht bribes case
Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez announced on Thursday, 7 June 2018, his office has filed with the Supreme Court of Justice the Odebrechts bribes accusations case related to 17 Odebrecht construction contracts signed during the governments of presidents Hipólito Mejía, Leonel Fernández and Danilo Medina. The cases presented were those in which strong evidence was found to build the individual cases.

Upon making the announcement, he said the prosecutors did not find any evidence to include Punta Catalina thermoelectric power central in the case. He said they are waiting to receive the file from the Chamber of Accounts regarding overvaluations at the power plant. Rodríguez said the accusations are submitted as a result of investigations lasting 130,000 work hours by 50 professionals of different fields.

The case began in January 2017, after a New York City court incriminated the company and disclosed company executives admitted to paying US$92 million in bribes to Dominican government officers for the expediting of the public works in the Dominican Republic.

Rodríguez says the Public Ministry formally accuses Odebrecht commercial representative, businessman Ángel Rondón Rijo, former Minister of Public Works Víctor Díaz Rúa, his lawyer Conrado Enrique Pittaluga Arzeno, former president of the Senate Porfirio Andrés Bautista García (PRM), legislator Tommy Alberto Galán Grullón (PLD-San Cristóbal), Juan Roberto Rodríguez Hernández, and former president of the Senate and PRD leader Jesús Antonio Vásquez Martínez.

The Attorney General said that investigators did not find evidence to incriminate César Domingo Sánchez Torres, Bernardo Castellanos de Moya, Juan Temístocles Montás Domínguez, Julio César Valentín Jiminián, Máximo De Oleo, Alfredo Pacheco Osoria, Ramón Radhamés Segura or Ruddy González with the crimes of bribery, asset laundering and ordered the temporary filing of these cases.

In a speech broadcast on radio on Thursday, 7 June 2018, Rodríguez said the accusations were the following:
Ángel Rondón is accused of association of criminals, bribery and money laundering.
Víctor Díaz Rúa is accused of bribery, prevarication, forgery, illicit enrichment and money laundering.
Conrado Enrique Pittaluga Arzeno, is accused as an accomplice in the crime of bribery, and in crimes of illicit enrichment from criminal activity and money laundering.
Andrés Bautista, Tommy Galán Grullón and Roberto Rodríguez are accused of the crimes of bribery, forgery, illicit enrichment and money laundering.
Jesús Antonio Vásquez Martínez, is accused of bribery, illicit enrichment and money laundering.

Jesús Vásquez (Chú) added to filed Odebrecht bribes case
General Secretary of the leading opposition party, the PRM, Jesús Vásquez Martínez (Chu) said that he found it strange that the Attorney General removed three high-ranking members of the ruling PLD party from the case on the Odebrecht bribes, while keeping the leading members of the leading opposition party. Vásquez himself is the new addition to the Brazilian construction company case.

The Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez announced on Thursday, 7 June 2018, that in the case filed with the Supreme Court of Justice on the bribes taken by Dominican government officers and associates for Odebrecht contract work seven persons are being formally incriminated. These included six in the previous accusations and Vásquez.

Vásquez also observed it was strange that one of the members of the Political Committee of the PLD who was removed from the case had publicly admitted receiving funds from Odebrecht for three presidential campaigns. He was referring to former Economy Minister Temístocles Montás, who is now excluded from the case.

Vásquez Martínez pointed out that under PLD governments 95% of the contracts were signed with the Brazilian construction company. He said he is ready to defend his innocence.

He was senator for the province of northeastern María Trinidad Sánchez from 1994 to 2010. He also presided the Senate from 2003 to 2004.

Marcha Verde calls on public not to become fatigued in rejecting impunity
The Marcha Verde civic movement says that the Odebrecht case filed by the Attorney General protects the corrupt elite of the ruling PLD political party. The movement called for a Concert for Dignity (Voces de la Dignidad) on Sunday, 17 June 2018, at 5pm, in front of the Supreme Court of Justice. The concert aims “to express citizens’ rejection of the case filed by the Attorney General and the PLD’s attempt to keep the country under a regime of impunity."

On Friday, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez announced it was filing the Odebrecht case reducing to six from 14 the number of persons accused. A new person was added, former president of the Senate Jesús Vásquez, a high ranking officer of the PRM opposition party.

The Marcha Verde movement said that by excluding the main officers and legislators that were responsible for promoting and approving the Odebrecht contracts in the country the image of “untouchables” of the PLD elite is strengthened. Marcha Verde says this image is used by those who steal the taxpayers’ money to remain in power, as reported by Acento.

Marcha Verde warned on Sunday, that the Odebrecht corruption case file presented by the Public Ministry shields the elite and the corruption apparatus of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) and allows them to continue stealing public resources with impunity and controlling in an undemocratic manner all the powers of the State.

The movement says that by excluding PLD party president and former President Leonel Fernández, President Danilo Medina, Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) executive vice president Rubén Jiménez Bichara, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo, president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Pérez, former president of the Senate Cristina Lizardo, former president of the Chamber of Deputies Abel Martínez, former Minister of Economy Juan Temístocles Montás, former president of the CDEEE, legislator Julio César Valentín, former president of the Chamber of Deputies Lucía Medina, former Minister of Hacienda Vicente Bengoa and other high ranking PLD members from the Odebrecht case is because Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez, member of the Central Committee of the PLD, has designed a case to protect and guarantee the impunity of the ruling party hierarchy.

The movement stated:
"It's not just a court case anymore. It is a struggle for democracy. This is a file that leaves out the elite of the purple quagmire, responsible for approving the vast majority of Odebrecht contracts from 2004 to 2014, including the term of President Danilo Medina, when Ángel Rondón received from the construction company 62% of the funds for the bribes", warns the group. “They are betting that we will tire of protesting, but we will resist. We will never get tired of liberating our country from the regime of corruption and impunity that the PLD has consolidated in the State. It is already a matter of dignity and freedom, of defending our present and our future. We cannot tire. Juan Pablo Duarte never got tired,” says Marcha Verde.

Guillermo Moreno calls Odebrecht file a farce
Former National District prosecutor and presidential candidate, Guillermo Moreno of Alianza Pais said on Friday, 8 June 2018, that the investigation carried out by the Attorney General Office into the Odebrecht case is incomplete. "The investigation is incomplete because it does not include Danilo Medina, Leonel Fernández, Reinaldo Pared, Abel Martínez, Gonzalo Castillo and Rubén Bichara, among others," Moreno said. He called shameful the case submitted by the state prosecutors and says it is another chapter of impunity.

Moreno said that the investigation is a farce because it does not include overvaluations, financing of political candidates, or works built under the government of incumbent Danilo Medina.

"The prosecutor protects the thieves of his government and the PLD so that they continue to govern and enrich themselves," he added.
He said the Dominican people have to "ramp-up the protests, mobilize in the streets and shout loudly against public robbery and impunity.

Cigarette contraband caught at Las Americas
The Customs Agency (DGA) announced the seizing of two million cigarettes at Las Americas International Airport. A million and a half cigarettes were confiscated prior to the cargo leaving the leading Santo Domingo airport. Another half million were seized in a deposit at the airport. The DGA reported the shipment of Capital brand cigarettes arrived on 29 May 2018 from Miami International Airport. The consignment was to Serra Azul Caribe.

Dominicans remember Anthony Bourdain
The 61-year old chef who became a famous critic and food commentator, Anthony Bourdain died on Friday, 8 June 2018. He was in Kaysersberg, small village in the Alsace region of France at the time of his death.

In the Dominican Republic he filmed an eclectic take on Dominican food for his “No Reservations” Travel Channel TV show. He indulged in Presidente beer at colmadones, tostones, Barra Payán smoothies, Boca Chica style fish, sancocho, suckling pig, langostinos, grilled shrimp, moro, roast pig, and more.

The No Reservations series ran for nine seasons from 2005-2012 and won the Emmy for outstanding cinematography for nonfiction programming in 2009 and 2011. In all, Bourdain filmed 142 episodes.

CNN confirmed that Bourdain had been found dead in his hotel room in Kayersberg, France on Friday, 8 June 2018 after an apparent suicide. Hollywood Reporter explained that though Bourdain appeared to have hanged himself, his exact cause of death is still under investigation.

Bourdain became famous after writing a piece that demystified chefs and that was published by The New Yorker. The chef and writer would become a world traveling storyteller best known for his honest reporting on far-flung places.

Bartolo Colón grabs Juan Marichal’s record for most wins
At 45-years, and the oldest active MLB player, Bartolo Colón is making baby boomers proud with his high-80s fastballs, two decades deep into his Major League career. He is playing for the Texas Rangers after grabbing a spot during spring training.

Colón landed a lifetime goal, the Juan Marichal all-time record for wins by a Dominican-born pitcher that stood at 243 until he broke it on Thursday, 7 June 2018 in the 8-2 game against the Oakland A's in Arlington, Texas.

"I feel very happy because I finally got my 243rd win," Colon told reporters (via "I tied this mark with a Hall of Famer, so I feel very proud and honored to do that. It means a lot because Marichal is Dominican and Marichal was the first ball player from the Dominican Republic to become a Hall of Famer."

The next record to beat is that of Nicaragua-born Dennis Martínez, who accumulated 245 career victories, which is currently the most wins by any Latin American pitcher. Colon is also close to joining the prestigious club of MLB pitchers with 2,500 career strikeouts.

Colón has pitched with many Major League teams. He began his career in a game on 4 April 1997 pitching for the Cleveland Indians (1997-2002). Next he moved on to the Montreal Expos (2002), Chicago Sox (2003, 2009), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2004-2007), Boston Red Sox (2008), New York Yankees (2011), Oakland Athletics (2013), New York Mets (2014-2016), Atlanta Braves (2017), Minnesota Twins (2017) and now Texas Rangers (2018).