Expo Mango 2018 this weekend
DR leads in port freight cargo operations
Lawyers dispute new notary fee
Doctors drugged with burundanga
Do not buy green iguanas
Who is telling the truth: prosecutors or Víctor Díaz Rúa?
Complaint about Odebrecht case judge puts on hold case
Man killed trying to stop a crime
Cash in the cornflakes
Pinky Pony Bar shut down
No powder to be carried in hand luggage
New trough to bring more rains
David Ortiz: the new baseball commentator
Jazz nights in Santo Domingo

Expo Mango 2018 this weekend
The Dominican Mango Cluster, the Association of Mango Producers of Baní (Abapromango) and the Ministry of Agriculture announced that the traditional Expo Mango 2018 will take place from 27 June to 1 July 2018 at the Baní city central park. This is a time to taste different varieties of mangos and to buy these cheap right from the farmers.

Upon announcing the event, representatives of the organizations said the sector seeks to export US$40 million in mangos in five years time, of which around 80% would be produced in southern Baní farms. Rafael Leger, president of the Mango Cluster said that this goal would be met when nurseries are certified to meet requirements to export to international markets and access is gained to USA markets.

Leger said that during Expo Mango 2018 an event would mark the formal start of the construction of a hydrothermal mango treatment plant that should be in operation by 2019. The president of Abapromango, Andrés Mejía Báez said that with the plant in operation exports to the US would increase. At present, only 10% of Dominican exports are shipped to the United States. Mejía Báez also announced the construction of a US$30 million packaging plant with dual capacity for preparing produce for the US and Europe markets.

Ministry of Agriculture regional director, José Luis Cruz highlighted how the sector has grown. He said exports in 2005 were 300,000 boxes, and that in 2017 4 million boxes were exported. Most Dominican mangos are shipped to Europe (90%). Netherlands, United States and Canada make up the other 10%. The main varieties that are exported are Keith (65%), mingolo (17%, grano de oro (10%) and banilejo (4%).

Speaking at the event, Agriculture Minister Osmar Benítez said the government sees Expo Mango as a “responsibility” because of the need to back a product that is gaining in exports.


DR leads in port freight cargo operations
Cargo operations increased 24% in the Dominican Republic in 2017. This is highest growth in Latin America. The DR is followed by Colombia (13.3%), Mexico (12.2%), Panama (10.1%), Peru (9.4%), Honduras (9.25), and Brazil 5%. DP World Caucedo Port is now ranked 11th in the Americas in cargo movement of 120 ports. The port operations were up 34.53%, from 918,542 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in 2016 to 1,235,801 in 2017.
Haina Port posted a growth of 9.93%, going from 444,755 TEU in 2016 to 488,963 TEU in 2017. Haina Port is ranked 28th.


Lawyers dispute new notary fee
The Lawyers Guild in the Dominican Republic (CARD) has expressed opposition to a new resolution that would add what they say would be a tax of RD$350.00 to each document that is notarized in the country. CARD president, Miguel Surún Hernández, complained that the resolution is illegal and abusive and had been issued by the Judicial Branch that is unlawfully assuming the role of Congress. Based on this, CARD has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice.

Surún Hernández explained that when this new resolution goes into effect, all of the contracts and documents that are notarized in the country will have to pay a registration fee twice, once to the local City Hall and another to the corresponding Civil and Commercial Court. He says this is a flagrant invasion of the duties that exclusively reside in Congress and the Supreme Court of Justice. He explained that this measure violates the laws for the registration of civil documents and even worse, that it penalizes notaries who are not governed by the judicial power. Surún Hernández explains and that the registration of documents is within the scope of the local authorities, with the exception of powers of attorney and wills that are controlled by the judicial branch, but never all documents.


Doctors drugged with burundanga
Security in the Salvador B. Gautier Hospital in Santo Domingo is being reinforced following the drugging of three of the doctors with the scopolamine, a drug commonly known as “burundanga”. Hospital director, Jorge Chain Herrera, revealed that those affected, a woman and two men, had to be treated in the ER following the drugging by scopolamine.

It is thought the physicians were drugged to enable a robbery as the drug is being used to turn its victims into ‘zombies’ in order to carry out robberies, rape and other crimes.

Do not buy green iguanas
The Ministry of the Environment has warned the population not to buy green iguanas that are currently being sold on the streets as a pet. The Ministry of Environment Biodiversity Director, José Manuel Mateo, said that the reptile has been introduced to different habitats where there are native and endemic species and they are competing for food, threatening populations of endemic and native species. In addition, the iguana can potentially transmit diseases to humans.

If anyone has information about green iguanas or have sited one, they are asked to call 809.567.4300/809.539.6400/809.200.6400 or tweet or message AmbienteRD.

In addition Mateo called on tourists not to take up the offer to be photographed with the iguana and warned that they could transmit bacteria, viruses and fungal infections.

The green iguana was brought to the country a few years ago and is reproducing rapidly. It orginates in Central American countries, such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

The green iguana is also a scourge in Florida. The Sun Sentinel newspaper has reported that the green iguanas have been considered mostly harmless because they eat plants instead of animals. But the newspaper explains that their burrows undermine seawalls, sidewalks and levees, and they eat their way through valuable landscaping as well as native plants. The newspaper reports that the droppings of the iguana can be a significant cleanup problem and a potential source of salmonella bacteria that causes food poisoning.


Who is telling the truth: prosecutors or Víctor Díaz Rúa?
The Public Prosecution Service has assured that of the more than RD$35 billion in the bank accounts of former Public Works Minister Víctor Díaz Rúa, only 0.35% belongs to the campaign fund of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

In the analysis of the financial situation of Víctor Díaz, accused of accepting bribes from Odebrecht and money laundering, it can be shown that he has more than RD$420 million and US$34 million in different bank accounts both checking and savings, financial certificates, loans and credit cards, according to state prosecutors.

In addition, state prosecutors established that Díaz Rúa owns several properties, including a villa in Casa de Campo La Romana; an apartment in Torre Caney, located on Anacaona Avenue, and luxury apartment blocks constructed by the company Constructora Solaris.

Díaz Rúa’s defense had stated that much of the money actually belongs to the Dominican Liberation Party. Díaz Rúa had served as finance secretary for the ruling political party until he was provisionally removed by the party following a request made by former prosecutor Francisco Domínguez Brito, while the case for corruption is heard in the Supreme Court of Justice.


Complaint about Odebrecht case judge puts on hold case
The president of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ), Mariano Germán Mejía, will have to decide whether it is prudent or legal to keep Judge Francisco Ortega Polanco on the Odebrecht case. This is because last week, the lawyers for Víctor Díaz Rúa and Andrés Bautista García filed an objection to the judge on grounds that it was Germán Mejia who heard the initial case and set the coercive measures for the accused.

The motion, filed by attorney Carlos Salcedo, gives the example of the case of Senator Félix Bautista Rosario, when the preparatory stage was heard by Judge Frank Soto Sánchez and the preliminary by Alejandro Moscoso Segarra. The motion goes on to say that there is no doubt that Judge Francisco Ortega Polanco would not be impartial as he must have already formed his opinion during the preliminary hearing.


Man killed trying to stop a crime
The director of the Transportation Department for Santo Domingo West city hall, Carmelo Amaro, was shot and killed yesterday morning, Monday 25 June 2018.
Amaro was trying to stop thieves from stealing a motorcycle from a man in Villa Aura, Santo Domingo West.

Mayor Francisco Peña explained that 67-year old Carmelo Amaro left a sports gym at 7am and came across the robbery on his way home. He intervened to stop the assailants from killing the young man and stealing his motorbike. Instead, the thieves shot and killed Amaro. Amaro was taken to the Jefferson Clinic where he died shortly afterwards. The Mayor went on to say that Amaro was well loved in the community.


Cash in the cornflakes
The Customs’ Agency (DGA) has confiscated US$414,935 at the Cibao International Airport in Santiago from an American woman, Reina Margarita Sánchez, who did not declare the cash when she arrived in the country from New York City.

According to a press release, the Customs’ Agency said that the money was wrapped in aluminum paper inside several cereal boxes, mixed up with the cereal. According to the supervisor, Margarita Sánchez said that she had been paid US$12,000 to transport the money but she did not say who it was who hired her.


Pinky Pony Bar shut down
Six Venezuelan women were rescued and drugs seized in an operation that shutdown the Pinky Pony Bar night club in Los Prados, Santo Domingo. As reported in Diario Libre, the authorities acted after four of the Venezuelan woman filed a complaint in April 2018, saying they were being victimized by employees at the night club. The prosecutors are investigating possible human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

At dawn on Saturday, the club was shut down and its owners accused of being part of a network dedicated to illicit activities. The owner, Dominican-American Jarvis Guerra Rodríguez, 39 years old, was arrested. The manager, Angela Isaura Campusano Santos (La Morena) of 33 years, was arrested at the business.


No powder to be carried in hand luggage
Coffee lovers take note. Ground coffee needs to be in checked luggage.

Travelers to the United States from the Dominican Republic should be aware that as of 30 June 2018, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States will implement new requirements for the carriage of powders in hand luggage on international flights to the United States. The substances need to be placed in checked bags.

The TSA announced that the restrictions are:
1.) Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing or disintegration of a solid substance (i.e. flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk and cosmetics).

2.) Powders are described as fine particles such as coffee, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk and cosmetics.
3.) Certain powders will be exempt from secondary screening, including baby formula, medically necessary powders and human remains.


New trough to bring more rains
The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) had said that the rains will decrease as the tropical wave has now moved over Haiti. The large amount of Saharan dust in the air is another reason for the less rains. But then on Monday, the weather department announced a new trough was moving our way and there would be more rains.
An alert is in place for 10 provinces due the fact that the ground is saturated and there will be localized thunderstorms in the northeast, southeast, central mountain area and the border zone, especially in the afternoons.

Those provinces under a flood alert are El Seibo, Duarte, Hato Mayor, Monte Plata, Monseñor Nouel, San Cristóbal, La Vega, Barahona, Sánchez Ramírez and Santo Domingo.
Another tropical wave, currently located over the Lesser Antilles is also approaching the country.

David Ortiz: the new baseball commentator
Boston Red Sox legendary designated hitter, David Ortiz, will be in the limelight again, this time as a news analyst for the sport. Fox Sports announced the signing of a multi-year deal with the slugger. Ortiz is named studio analyst for the spring training, regular season, All-Star Game, postseason and World Series. He will be making his debut during the network’s coverage of the All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. on 17 July 2018.

"Big Papi brings a level of excitement and knowledge that balances nicely with Alex (Rodriguez), Frank (Thomas) and (host) Kevin (Burkhardt),” said Fox Sports executive producer John Entz said in a release. “David is incredibly likable and has unbelievable postseason experience. And we think we’re set in the hitter department.”

This will not be a first for Ortiz. Prior to his retirement, he made his broadcasting debut during the 2014 World Series, for Games 1 and 2, as a guest studio analyst for FOX Sports.


Jazz in Santo Domingo in July
Summer nights are best with jazz. There is excellent jazz being played for free every Friday evening at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel. The program for July 2018 is:
Fiesta Sunset Jazz at the Dominican Fiesta (8:30pm):
Friday, 6 July: Iván Carbuccia Quartet
Friday, 13 July: UNPHU School of Music Ensembles
Friday, 20 July: MiraTrío - Rafelito Mirabal, Guy Frómeta and Abel González
Friday, 27 July: Diego Ureña Project

And the traditional annual Santo Domingo Jazz Festival at Casa de Teatro (9pm):
Thursday, 5 July: Zack Varner Quartet (USA)
Thursday, 12 July: Zazu Zarzur Trio (Brazil)
Thursday, 19 July: Jordi Masalles & Tiempo Libre
Thursday, 26 July: Juan Francisco Ordóñez Trío with Ernán López-Nussa (RD & Cuba)