DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 20 December 2018


May 3, 2000
DR1 Daily News breaks for the Christmas holidays
30,000 graduate from Armed Forces trade schools
Congress creates a new province: Santiago West
Senate passes bill for RD$190 billion more in borrowing
Exports forecast to grow 9% in 2018
A chamber of commerce for eastern Santo Domingo
Almost 30,000 university graduates in 2018
Grupo Estrella begins construction of a high-rise development in Santiago
Second phase of Parque Eolico Larimar inaugurated
Red alert: Pre-Clearance Agreement could stimulate entry of refugees
Attorney General Office has little to show on Embraer case
Participacion Ciudadana says little progress made on fighting corruption and impunity
Valle Nuevo farmers say they are told to plant avocados in protected area
Ready for the Baseball Championship round robin
Cardi B to spend Christmas holidays in DR
BBC mini series filmed in the Dominican Republic
What’s happening for Christmas?

DR1 Daily News breaks for the Christmas holidays
This is the season to be merry and distribute lots of hugs and good cheer. The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Wednesday, 26 December 2018. Readers will be able to catch up reading DR1’s Wednesday compilation featuring a summary of news from the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday days. Breaking news can always be followed 24/7 in the Forums. Or check out DR1 Calendar for a list of what’s happening in different venues around the country for the Christmas holidays. Have a Merry Christmas!

See the DR1 Forum at https://www.dr1.com
See DR1 Calendar at https://www.dr1.com/calendar

30,000 graduate from Armed Forces trade schools
President Danilo Medina was at the Palacio de los Deportes in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center on Wednesday, 19 December 2018 for the graduation of 30,614 trainees in 88 specialties. The young men and women graduated after completing courses at 24 Armed Forces and National Police vocational schools located nationwide. The courses were in nursing, computer sciences, English, Creole, oratory, accounting, tourism, hostelry, pharmacy, sales, cosmetology, beauty, graphic design, upholstery, car electricity, residential electricity, general mechanics, diesel mechanics, car electronics, carpentry, nursery farming, interior decorating, oriental dances, dental technician, among others.


Congress creates a new province: Santiago West
On Wednesday, 19 December 2018, the Senate passed the bill that divides the province of Santiago into two. There now will be the province of Santiago and the province of Santiago Oeste in the area of Cienfuegos.

This was the third time that legislator Altagracia Mercedes González of the Chamber of Deputies (PLD-Santiago) had presented the bill for the split. On this occasion, after the bill first passed in the Chamber of Deputies, it moved to the Senate, where it received sufficient support from PLD senators that are majority to pass. The ruling PLD party is also majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

Ever since the bill had first been presented by Gonzalez in 2015, it had met with the opposition of the business community and development associations in Santiago. These argued the province has little to gain from the division and lots to loose. The businessmen say the division violates the Santiago Strategic Plan 2020 and observe that the only beneficiaries will be politicians in time for the 2020 general elections.

Among the entities that have opposed the splitting of the province in two are:
the Asociación de Industriales de la Región Norte (AIREN), the Cámara de Comercio y Producción de Santiago, the Corporación de Zona Franca Industrial that operates the largest duty free manufacturing zone, the Consejo para el Desarrollo Estratégico de Santiago, the Asociación para el Desarrollo de la provincia (APEDI), the Asociación de Comerciantes é Industriales de Santiago (ACIS), the Asociación de Empresas de Zonas Francas de Santiago and the Consejo para el Desarrollo Estratégico de Santiago (CDES).

The bill now moves on to the Presidency for signing and enactment into law.


Senate passes bill for RD$190 billion more in borrowing
In its last session before the Christmas holiday break, the ruling PLD majority Senate passed an authorization for the placement of RD$190 billion in loans to meet the deficit of the 2019 National Budget. The request had been received from the Presidency.

In the same session, the senators approved a US$300 million contingency loan from the Inter American Development Bank for emergency situations and disaster mitigation.

The senators also ratified the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) signed with the US government on 15 September 2016.


Exports forecast to grow 9% in 2018
Economist Pavel Isa Contreras says that national exports this year could break the US$11 billion mark, a new record. The total would be 9% above the total for 2017.

Isa reports that the Observatorio Dominicano de Comercio Internacional (ODCI) in its quarterly report dated November 2018 says that the percentage increase is three times the annual average for the years 2012 to 2017. Isa says the growth is most likely stimulated by the recent economic expansion in the United States.

Electric devices manufactured at duty free zones are now the main industrial single export. Exports from January to September 2018 were US$8.27 billion, or 8.7% more than exports for the same period in 2017.


A chamber of commerce for eastern Santo Domingo
Few people realize that two thirds of the population of Greater Santo Domingo lives in the eastern part of the city. Only a third lives in the National District, the real capital city. The good news for Santo Domingo East municipality is the start of operations of the Camara de Comercio y Produccion de la Provincia de Santo Domingo. The business support group is located at the Megacentro mall in eastern Santo Domingo.

The first board of the new chamber of commerce is chaired by Pedro Esteva. Industry and Commerce and Small Business Minister, Nelson Toca Simo, was present for the symbolic cutting of the ribbon that marked the opening of the new office.

The chamber of commerce will be working in coordination with the Camara de Comercio de la Province de Santo Domingo (CCPSD) for the offering of key services required to do business in Greater Santo Domingo.


Almost 30,000 university graduates in 2018
The most popular careers in the Dominican Republic are in education, law, engineering, business administration and accounting. As reported in Listin Diario, in 2018, the country’s universities produced 28,328 new graduates at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Many of these graduates have already been actively seeking employment, a difficult task for graduates without job experience in the Dominican Republic.

The Listin Diario reported on 2018 graduating class totals for local universities:
UASD: 909; PUCMM: 3,128; UNIBE: 1,905; INTEC: 1,184; UFHEC: 2,293; UTE: 492: UCSD: 653; ITLA: 263; ITSC: 493.

https://listindiario.com/la-republica/2018/12/19/546335/se-graduaron-28328-nuevos-profesionales (+)

Grupo Estrella begins construction of a high-rise development in Santiago
President Danilo Medina was in Santiago yesterday for the ground breaking of the construction of the Livera Freemium Spaces high-rise development. The real estate project is located on Avenida Hispanoamericana and calls for a US$36 million investment. The construction is funded by SBC Master Fund, a Cayman Island registered company, and Grupo Estrella, a major Dominican construction firm.

Construction is set to start in February 2019. The builders expect to complete six 10-floor towers in 20 months. The development is on a 15,000 square meter lot. Steve Tiller, co founder and managing partner for the Southern Bridge Capital came for the event.


Second phase of Parque Eolico Larimar inaugurated
President Danilo Medina traveled to Barahona for the inauguration of the second phase of the EgeHaina Parque Eolico Larimar windfarm. The development reportedly called for an investment of US$100 million.

The second phase is located in Enriquillo, Barahona. The second phase adds 14 Vestas V-117 wind turbines, the most powerful in the region, with installed capacity of 48.3MW. These have a height of 150 meters.

Ege Haina already operates the Parque Eolico Los Cocos and the first phase of the Parque Eolico Larimar, for a joint production of 175 megawatts of clean energy generated by 69 wind turbines. The wind farm proposes to annually reduce 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions and means the import of 900,000 less barrels of petroleum.


Red alert: Pre-Clearance Agreement could stimulate entry of refugees
Former director of the Migration Agency (DGM), Jose Ricardo Taveras recommends that the legal advisor of the President, Flavio Dario Espinal, retract the Punta Cana Pre-Clearance Agreement signed by the Ministry of Foreign Relations with the government of the United States. The Presidency had sent the document to the Constitutional Court following the normal procedure for agreements that requires the Constitutional Court decide whether an agreement is in accordance with the Constitution or not prior to sending it to Congress for its ratification, as reported in Diario Libre.

Taveras says the agreement would be lethal for the country, and maintains the same arguments that earlier this month created major national rejection to the signing of two other international agreements that would oblige the Dominican Republic to accept a larger number of refugees from around the world. Just recently, widespread national rejection led the Dominican government to pull out of two United Nations-sponsored migration pacts, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. Both change the paradigm for migration and refugees.

A closer look at the pacts, when the signing was imminent and international press focused on the rejection of other governments, led the government to do an about-face and not sign the pacts. Diario Libre Adriano Miguel Tejada in an editorial forcefully and succinctly explained the opposition to the pact: virtually everyone living in Haiti qualifies as a refugee. And the Dominican Republic and Haiti share a 300+ km border with woefully inadequate migration enforcement efforts in place by authorities on either side of the border.

The Pre-Clearance Air Agreement for the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) allows for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to station their enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers prior to boarding US-bound flights. Through Preclearance, CBP Officers conduct the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air travelers typically performed upon arrival in the United States before departure from foreign airports.

But for the Punta Cana International Airport pre-clearance agreement, the US government added an annex that would oblige the Dominican Republic to non-refoulement. According to the Red Cross website, the principle of non-refoulement applies regardless of whether a person flees from a country that enjoys peace or a country involved in an armed conflict: if there are substantial grounds for believing that the individual in question would be in danger of being subjected to violations of certain fundamental rights, the person cannot be returned.

The Punta Cana airport is the best-connected airport in the Caribbean and Central America. Under the Pre-Clearance Agreement, it would be obliged to give refugee status to persons not accepted for admission to US territory. Under new international human right rulings, refugees are becoming an increasingly costly burden for many governments.

The pre-clearance agreement was signed by the government in 2016, but it was not until recently that the existence of the amendment that obliges to special treatment for refugees was known after Taveras warned of the high cost this would have to the Dominican Republic. Taveras said the annex would oblige the country to comply with international rules for refugees even when this is contrary to national law. He said the country would find itself having to deal with an increasing number of refugees from Haiti and all around the world.

In an opinion piece in Listin Diario, Central Bank economist Ellen Perez asks about “who will pay for the country to fulfill the obligations the new pacts create with the refugees and migrants?”


Attorney General Office has little to show on Embraer case
In the Dominican Republic, new evidence remitted by the Brazilian aviation company, Embraer to the Attorney General Office in accordance to an agreement to share information on the bribes the company admitted to paying to secure a Dominican government aircraft procurement order, has apparently not led to the start of the case against those that were initially accused, reports Diario Libre.

As a follow up to the story, on Tuesday, 18 December 2018, it was reported that a Brazilian court sentenced ten former Embraer executives for having paid US$3.5 million in bribes to Dominican Air Force colonel Carlos Piccini Nuñez. Piccini was the director of special projects for the Dominican Air Force.

The former Embraer executives sentenced in Brazil include vice president Eduardo Muñoz de Campos.

The bribes were to guarantee the sale of eight Super Tucano airplanes to the Dominican Republic for US$92 million during the Leonel Fernandez administration. The case came to the open after the US Department of Justice won a judgement against the company in a US court.

Those initially accused in the case are Air Force Colonel Carlos Piccini Nuñez, Major General Air Force Rafael Peña Antonio, businessmen Daniel Aquino Mendez and Daniel Aquino Hernandez, Ysrael Abreu Rosario, Felix del Orbe Berroa, and the companies Magycorp SRL and 4D Business Group.

A court in the Dominican Republic ordered Embraer to pay a fine of US$7.04 million that is double what the company had admitted in the US court to having paid in 2009 to ensure the Embraer contract.

Nevertheless, on Wednesday, 19 December 2018, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez responded to the criticism saying that the case would be heard in court on 18 January 2019. He said a team of prosecutors is hard at work preparing the case.


Participacion Ciudadana says little progress made on fighting corruption and impunity
The civic society movement, Participación Ciudadana (PC), gave a press conference on Tuesday, 18 December 2018, to complain about the lack of advances in the Dominican Republic in matters of fighting administrative corruption and impunity in 2018. "The latter was demonstrated by the refusal of the Chamber of Deputies to investigate advertising and political advice contracts for more than 1,300 million pesos, granted by the government to the companies of Joao Santana and Monica Moura [in the Odebrecht bribes scandal]."

Participación Ciudadana says that the “presidential re-election ghost” has distracted the people from the pressing issue of corruption and impunity.

Participación Ciudadana is the local chapter of Transparency International.

Presenting balance for the year, PC said that on the contrary, the perception of growing corruption is rising and there has been no significant ruling from the courts to change the perception of inaction and indifference within the government. Furthermore, the organization says that the Dominican Republic continues to be the only country where no one has been jailed for accepting Odebrecht bribes, despite the fact that the Dominican Republic had more bribes paid to officials than any other country caught up in the Odebrecht scandals.

The Attorney General has a case against seven Dominicans for receiving US$92 million in bribes between 2001 and 2014. None of the accused is in jail.

Participación Ciudadana mentioned the controversial overhaul the Public Ministry of the national prosecutor system. Several prosecutors who were in key positions were replaced. PC concludes that several rules for replacing the prosecutors were ignored.

The entity said there has been a strong growth of local distrust in government institutions, politicians and democracy, underscored by several national and international surveys such as the Latinobarómetro that revealed the credibility of politicians was an appalling 14% among voting aged Dominicans; the public’s confidence in the political parties fell to 23% and support for democracy fell to 44%.

PC criticized that the National Congress remains subordinate to the Executive Branch, approving loans and budget without major analysis. According to PC the legislature has surrendered its role as an oversight body of the government.

The entity argued that 2018 did not register any significant improvements in the government's commitment to fight corruption and impunity.

Meanwhile, Colombia recently announced it outlawed Odebrecht from doing business in Colombia for ten years. It is widely observed that degree of corruption exercised by Odebrecht officials in Colombia was less than what Odebrecht admitted to having committed in the Dominican Republic.

PC also criticized citizen insecurity as one of the central issues of concern for Dominican citizens.

The PC said on the bright side, congress passed the Political Parties Bill.


Valle Nuevo farmers say they are told to plant avocados in protected area
The Ministry of Environment now under Minister Angel Estevez would seem to have a love affair with avocados. As reported in Diario Libre, the lucrative business of exporting avocados has the Ministry of Environment looking the other way and not exercising its mandate to preserve Dominican forests and protected areas.

Investigative reporter Tania Molina of Diario Libre reported on 19 December 2018, that despite the order for farming to desist in the Valle Nuevo protected area area that is a vital to the continuing of important rivers, reality is that small farmers say they are encouraged to plant ever since the change of helm at the Ministry of Environment. Estevez was appointed in May 2018. The Ministry’s Plan de Acción para el Rescate del Parque Nacional Valle Nuevo, enacted under his predecessor, Francisco Domínguez Brito, seems to have been filed away.

Molina says farmers have told her that Ministry of Environment rangers that protected the area have been gone for a year. The absence of surveillance has served as a “green light” for farmers to resume the planting of avocados, potatoes, carrots and onions that had been strictly prohibited under Domínguez. Molina says that some farmers admitted to her that they have even received instructions from the minister of environment himself to plant avocados.

In an interview with Diario Libre, Minister Estevez and his deputy minister for protected areas and biodiversity, Daneris Santana, ensured that the plantations are three years old and no more are being planted. But a Diario Libre drone surveyed the area and confirmed the new planting. Evidence of this was presented to the Ministry in November 2018, but there was no response from the Ministry as to the claims.

In addition to his political appointment to the Medina administration cabinet, Estevez is an important agriculture businessman. He has stated: “I will not topple a tree of an edible product, food is not to be destroyed.” Estevez argues that nature is perfect and avocados are mountain fruit. He said Peru, Mexico, Chile and Colombia have avocado and coffee plantations in the mountains.

Government statistics show that the avocado exports increased from US$22.8 million in 2013 to US$48.86 million in 2017. The Ministry of Agriculture says that 7,867 tareas (1 tarea = 629 square meters) planted of avocados was 7,867 in 2012 and this increased to 31,889 in 2017.


Ready for the Baseball Championship round robin
The four teams competing this year in the Dominican Winter Professional Baseball Championship that starts on Thursday, 20 December 2018 fortified their rosters by grabbing the better players from the Aguilas Cibaeñas and the Gigantes del Cibao that did not make the semi-finals.

With these roster additions, the round robin involving the Estrellas Orientales, the Tigres del Licey, Leones del Escogido and Toros del Este is sure to be an exciting affair. Expectations are that the tournament may result in a playoff between the old time rivals from the National District, Licey and Escogido, but that may be merely wishful thinking of the city team fans.

The Estrellas Orientales have high hopes that this may be their year. The team has consistently reached the semi-finals in recent years, but has struggled to win the finals. This year, Robinson Cano, now with the New York Mets, promises to play two games in the round robin to help the Estrellas team win a championship. Fernando Tatis of the San Diego Padres has also announced he would join the team during the round robin.

The series opens with Licey taking on Escogido at the Quisqueya Ball Park and the Toros visiting the Estrellas at the Tetelo Vargas in San Pedro de Macoris. The games continue on Friday, 21 and Saturday, 22 December, and then the Dominican League breaks until games resume on Thursday, 27, Friday, 28 and Saturday, 29 December. The round robin is off for the New Year celebrations. Matches resume on Wednesday, 2 January through 14 January 2019.

The semifinal round is formatted as “all against all,” in which the four teams play a total of 18 games, six against each of the rivals. The two teams with the best record during the round robin face off in the finals. If before the 18 games are completed two teams classify, the round would end at that moment and 48 hours later the final series the tournament would begin.

The winner of the Dominican Professional Baseball Winter Championship then goes on to battle the best teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series scheduled to be played in Venezuela from 2 to 8 February 2019.

See the complete schedule at:

Cardi B to spend Christmas holidays in DR
The 'Bodak Yellow' hitmaker has confirmed she will be spending the holidays together with her estranged husband, Offset, in the Dominican Republic, “for the sake of their daughter Kulture.” E! News says a source told them: "Cardi B wants Offset to be a part of Kulture's life and wants him to spend Christmas with his daughter. It's Kulture's first Christmas and it means a lot to Cardi to have the family together ... She plans to spend time and celebrate the holiday [in the Dominican Republic]." Cardi B’s parents are originally from the Dominican Republic.

She will be in the Dominican Republic for her performance on Saturday, 22 December at the Punta Cana Electric Paradise 2018, electronic music extravaganza at Cap Cana.


BBC mini series filmed in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s tourism campaign slogan is “It Has it all” and in matters of movie locations, this is so true. The BBC series, “The Long Song” was filmed at locations around the Dominican Republic. The mini-series is an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning, best-selling novel of the same name on slavery set in Jamaica. The series was actually shot at different locations in the Dominican Republic. Among the locations: The Peninsula Hotel in Samana, sugar fields of Batey Olivari near San Pedro de Macoris; Altos de Chavon in La Romana. The show was also filmed at the Pinewood Studios in the Juan Dolio area of San Pedro de Macoris.

What’s happening for Christmas?
Check out the following events and more in the DR1 Calendar at https://www.dr1.com/calendar

Amaury Gutierrez at Hard Rock Live
Cuban singer Amaury Gutierrez is booked for a performance at the Hard Rock Live Blue Mall in Santo Domingo as of 9pm on Friday, 21 December 2018. He is known for his best hits: “Se me escapa el alma,” “Nada es para siempre”, “Llueve por dentro”, “Dime corazón,” among others.
Tickets are for sale online at Uepa Tickets and Ticket Express, and also at the box offices at Supermercados Nacional, Centro Cuesta Nacional, Jumbo and Hard Rock Live itself.

Bonye at the Ruinas de San Francisco
One of the best attractions for locals and visitors on Sundays is the live entertainment always ongoing at sunset at the Ruinas de San Francisco in the Colonial City. Starting from around 5pm, the area fills with persons of all walks of life united for their love of good music and brotherhood. The event is organized by Bonyé (Nestor Sanchez) with continuing success over the past 11 years. The shows are free and include many of the best performers in the country and many international guests. Performances on the Sunday 23, 30 December 2018 and 3 January 2019 promise to fill hearts with Christmas spirit. Free admission.

Diomary (La Mala) at Casa de Teatro
Enjoy the sweet, silvery voice of Dominican singer Diomary (La Mala) at the Casa de Teatro auditorium on Thursday, 20 December and 27 December 2018. You will be inspired by her mastery of romantic ballads. 10pm. Café Teatro at the Casa de Teatro at Arzobispo Meriño 110 in the Colonial City. Tickets at the Casa de Teatro box office: RD$800 cash only.

Sandy Gabriel plays Christmas songs
Saxophonist Sandy Gabriel will be giving the jazz slant to Christmas songs when he performs on Friday, 21 December 2018 at the Casa de Teatro auditorium. 10pm. Café Teatro at the Casa de Teatro at Arzobispo Meriño 110 in the Colonial City. Tickets at the Casa de Teatro box office: RD$800 cash only.

Janio Lora in concert at Casa de Teatro
Contemporary singer-composer, Janio Lora will delight his audience with his creative social context and romantic songs at Casa de Teatro on Sunday, 23 December 2018. 10pm. Café Teatro at the Casa de Teatro at Arzobispo Meriño 110 in the Colonial City. Tickets at the Casa de Teatro box office: RD$800 cash only.

Pavel Núñez in concert at Casa de Teatro
Contemporary singer-composer Pavel Núñez presents his concert at Casa de Teatro for Christmas Day, 25 December 2018. 10pm. Café Teatro at the Casa de Teatro at Arzobispo Meriño 110 in the Colonial City. Tickets at the Casa de Teatro box office: RD$1,500 cash only.

Merengue music all night long in San Cristobal
“Reventon Navideño 2018” is the big tropical music show with several leading Dominican tropical music performers, including Los Hermanos Rosario, Toño Rosario, Raulín Rodríguez, Shadow Blow, Yiyo Sarante and Wason Brazobán. From 5pm at the Campo Club de San Cristobal on Tuesday, 25 December.

Tribute to Juan Luis Guerra at Casa de Teatro
If you are a fan of the music of Dominican contemporary music legend, Juan Luis Guerra, head out to Casa de Teatro in the Colonial City to enjoy Grupo Los Frankos presentation of a tribute to Juan Luis Guerra on Friday, 28 December 2018. 10pm. Casa de Teatro at Arzobispo Meriño 110 in the Colonial City. Tickets at the Casa de Teatro box office: RD$800 cash only.

Check out DR1 Calendar for more events and details.


Jan 1, 2002
A note on the division of Santiago de los Caballeros
I believe that it is the CITY of Santiago de los Caballeros--the oldest Santiago in the Americas--that is currently pending presidential approval for a territorial division that, as was well noted, benefits nobody but the d@mned politicians ( of the PLD) who would have more largess to pass around the trough.

The "province of Santiago" will remain intact.

And it is true that there is nothing to be gained, but a lot to "lose"'....

Have a good day.



New member
Apr 23, 2006

Even worse news

The Aguilas got knocked out!

Hope all is well!!!!!

Heading to Punta Cana on 1/12

Anne and David