DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 18 June 2019



Government to fund projects in Saona island
Mark Penn poll shows election is far from decided
PLD Political Committee agrees on repeat candidates
Chinese National People's Congress mission visits
New solar park for Azua
Three aesthetics clinics closed
David Ortiz is still in the intensive care unit in Boston
The United States involved in Ortiz investigation
Authorities now blame Alberto Miguel Rodríguez in David Ortiz murder case
Autopsies of American tourists show natural deaths
El Mundo: Punta Cana is world capital for Venezuelan "maduristas"
Mango fair starts on 19 June in Baní
Cheytan Báez is Bartender of the Year
DR defeats Korea in Volleyball Nations League

Government to fund projects in Saona island
On Sunday, 16 June 2019, President Danilo Medina visited Saona Island in eastern La Altagracia province. The visit to the island is the most popular excursion for tourists staying at resorts in the nearby 50-km long Punta Cana beach strip. An estimated half a million tourists visit every year arriving by boat from Bayahibe Beach. On any given day there can be 3,000 tourists taking the day trip to the island known for its white sand beaches.

Medina announced infrastructure works and actions to improve the living conditions of the residents. He backed the strengthening of tourism to Saona Island. Around 500 persons live on the 22 km-long and 5 km-wide island.

The community presented requests for improvements in the health, school and electricity services, maritime transport, housing and backing of the fisherman association on the island.

President Medina made his first stop at Mano Juan, the main island town, where he listened to the petitions by residents. He then traveled by Navy boat to the nearby Catuano town also on the island to hear resident and tourist operator requests.


Mark Penn poll shows election is far from decided
The June 2019 Mark Penn poll says that if former President Leonel Fernández ran for the PLD against 2016 PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader, he would defeat the later by a 1% of the vote or 28% to 27%, meaning a second-round vote would be necessary. If National District Mayor David Collado were the PRM presidential candidate, Collado would defeat Fernández 31% to 30%, also requiring a second-round vote.

"If Medina assures a change to the Constitution, allowing him to participate in the 2020 race, and he ran against Abinader, he is in the lead. However, the contest is far from decided and among the independent voters, Medina and Abinader are relatively even," the study says. Danilo Medina running for the Dominican Liberation Party would garner 37% of the vote compared to 31% for Luis Abinader; 6% for Guillermo Moreno; 4% for Miguel Vargas Maldonado and 2% for the possible candidates Minou Tavárez Mirabal and Ito Bisonó. A second-round vote would again be necessary.

The poll revealed that voters are less likely to consider voting for former President Leonel Fernandez than for Vice President Margarita Cedeño or Danilo Medina (he is banned by the 2015 Constitution from running for President) for the PLD, or David Collado and Luis Abinader for the PRM.

According to the results of the Mark Penn poll, men tend to be more willing to consider a PRM candidate, while women are more open to PLD candidates. More than half of the independents would consider Cedeño, Collado and Abinader.

According to the results collected by the firm, 55% of those interviewed declared themselves open to considering voting for Margarita Cedeño, while 34% said they would not vote for her. Cedeño is the wife of former President Leonel Fernández, and a two-term Vice President under President Danilo Medina.

As for city mayor David Collado of the PRM, 50% of those consulted were in his favor and 27% said they would not consider voting for him. Luis Abinader, also of the PRM, registered 49% in favor and 39% against.

President Danilo Medina scored 48% in favor while 43% said they would not consider voting for him. The 2015 Constitution would have to be changed to enable Medina to run. The 2015 Constitution allowed him to run in the 2016 general election.

The polling firm Mark Penn surveyed Dominicans from 1 to 5 June 2019. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1%. A total of 1,000 potential voters for the 2020 general election were interviewed.


PLD Political Committee agrees on repeat candidates
Senator Reinaldo Pared Pérez, secretary general for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) shared that the echelons of the ruling political party had agreed on "a good number" of legislative and municipal officers that would be pre-selected to run again, but did not reveal names when reporting on outcome of the PLD Political Committee meeting on Monday, 17 June 2019.

The Political Parties Law enables political parties to choose up to 20% of the candidates for elective posts. Those pre-selected do not have to compete in the 6 October 2019 primary.

Pared Perez said that the Medina re-election issue was not discussed during the meeting.


Chinese National People's Congress mission visits
A high-ranking mission from the People's Republic of China is visiting. The delegation is head by Chen Guormin, vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). With 2,980 members in 2018, the NPC is the largest legislative body in the world.

During the visit, the legislative delegation will meet with the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Radhames Camacho who had met with several legislators during a visit this year to China. The Chinese mission is scheduled to hold a meeting with the foreign affairs commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

This visit by the Chinese NPC delegation aims to strengthen parliamentary ties, improve mutual understanding and promote the comprehensive development of bilateral relations.


New solar park for Azua
The executive director of the National Energy Commission (CNE) announced that Natural World Energy Corporation (NWEC) has been authorized to build a solar-powered energy park in Las Yayas de Viajama in Villarpando, Azua, with an investment of more than US$110 million and an installed capacity for 100 megawatts. The energy park is expected to bring electricity to 195,000 homes.

Angel Canó signed for the CNE, and Carlos Frías and Nelson Ramírez for NWEC.

The project will be developed over two years.


Three aesthetics clinics closed
The Ministry of Public Health has closed three private clinics for alleged malpractice and irregularities in their procedures. The centers closed are Monumental that is located in Bella Vista; Centro Médico Escaño in Gascue, and the Caribbean Plastic Surgery Clinic in Arroyo Hondo II.

The closures were confirmed to Diario Libre by Public Health Minister, Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, who did not provide full details behind the closures.

Previously, the Ministry of Public Health ordered the shut down of the Centro Internacional de Cirugía Plástica Avanzada (Cipla).


David Ortiz is still in the intensive care unit in Boston
The press secretary of David Ortiz, Leo López, has said that Ortiz continues to be stable in the intensive care unit at the Mass General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. López says Ortiz's health is stable, but he is kept in the ICU as medics are monitoring the development of any infection. He said there is no timeframe for him to be transferred to a standard room.

Ortiz was shot last Sunday, 9 June 2019 in a bar in Santo Domingo East, and following an operation in the Dominican Republic, he was transferred by air ambulance to Boston.

Also injured in the incident was communicator Jhoel Lopez.

In a statement on 13 June 2019, David Ortiz's wife, Tiffany thanked the "selfless" man who drove her husband to the hospital (Eliezer Salvador) and the "amazing" medical team who cared for him as he continues to recover from surgery to treat a gunshot wound at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Doctors removed part of Ortiz's gallbladder and part of his intestine. In her statement, Tiffany Ortiz stated: "To the amazing surgeons, medical team, and staff at the Abel González Clinic in the Dominican Republic, there are no words to express our gratitude for the amazing care you provided. Without you, our story could have had a tragic ending. You will forever be our guardian angels."


The United States involved in Ortiz investigation
The DEA, FBI and other law enforcement organizations from the United States are participating in the inquiry regarding the shooting of David Ortiz, according to the New York Daily News. A DEA spokeswoman told the New York media that the DEA could not comment on an ongoing investigation into the motive and identification of the intellectual author of the crime.

The publication states that the theories as to why Ortiz was shot have varied considerably since the shooting, but that the main one is that the Dominican police believe he was attacked by two policemen contracted by a Dominican drug dealer who believed Ortiz was having an affair with his wife.

However, Ortiz' press secretary, Leo Lopez, denies that the shooting had anything to do with a woman, but it was a murder for hire.


Authorities now blame Alberto Miguel Rodríguez in David Ortiz murder case
In a new development in the David Ortiz attempted murder case, Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota, a fugitive from justice, is identified by the authorities as the person who allegedly would pay for committing the hit-and-run crime. The authorities did not say why or have provided more information on the intellectual authors of the crime. Already more than a dozen persons are under arrest or sought for in this case.

The authorities say their investigations show that Gabriel Alexander Pérez Vizcaíno (Hueso), who surrendered last Friday, 15 June 2019, as part of those implicated in the attack on Ortiz, was used by José Eduardo Ciprian (Chuky) to put the group of hitmen in contact with Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota.

National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista reported last week that those who attacked Ortiz were offered RD$400,000.

The document from the Public Ministry explains that Rodriguez Mota discussed the plan and details with Ciprian, who at the time was in the Azua 15 Jail.

Major League former baseball player David Ortiz was attacked on Sunday night, 9 at Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo Este.


Autopsies of American tourists show natural deaths
The autopsies carried out on US tourists David Joseph Harrison and Robert Bell Wallace determined that both died of natural causes. They died in 2018 and 2019 in separate incidents while staying at the Hard Rock resort in Punta Cana.

According to the autopsy carried out on 15 July 2018 on 45-year old Harrison, his cause of death was grade IV atherosclerosis, which led to a heart attack producing pulmonary edema and cessation of breathing.
He was taken to the Hospiten Medical Center in Bavaro on 14 July 2018 having been attended by doctors at the hotel complaining of several hours of chest pain.

The autopsy of 67-year-old Robert Wallace revealed that he died of septic shock, acute pneumonia and multi-organ failure. According to his wife, he began to have breathing difficulty, accompanied by severe lower back pain, having carried out physical activities some two days previously.

The Ministry of Public Health says that 53-year old Leyla Cox who was staying at the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana also died of a heart attack. Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cardenas said that the deceased suffered from high blood pressure and cardiomegaly. She had suffered a heart attack in the past. Sánchez said the patient died when she was being taken by ambulance to a hospital in Punta Cana.

Sánchez Cardenas says that local medical records show there are fewer deaths of visitors this year than in 2018. So far this year there have been six deaths, while in 2018 there were 24.

An editorial in El Dia criticizes the Dominican authorities for being slow in releasing factual information that would put an end to the string of rumors circulating in social media and the media abroad.


El Mundo: Punta Cana is world capital for Venezuelan "maduristas"
According to the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, the Punta Cana beach area, together with Miami and Madrid, attract the most of the Venezuelan elite (boliburgueses) that are backers of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. El Mundo explains that the areas are operation centers for the network of business and financial channels created by the Venezuelans to elude international sanctions.

In contrast, El Mundo says the country is also hosting thousands of Venezuelans who have migrated to the Dominican Republic after the Venezuelan economy collapsed, together with the Venezuelan high-level government officials and business people. El Mundo estimates that the so-called "desesperados" that numbered 3,400 in 2012 have increased to around 40,000.

The paper states that the numbers include businessmen who help the Maduro government to avoid international sanctions and to become more prosperous, in addition to Venezuelans who fled from the hunger in their own country and are surviving as illegal immigrants, many on the streets.


Mango fair starts on 19 June in Baní
Mangos are of the most important export products of the Dominican Republic. Every year in June, just before the boom of the mango summer season, Expo Mango is held in Baní. A mango-tasting event treats participants to t at least a dozen mango varieties. There is also farm to customer sales of mangos at bargain prices. It is an event well worth a day trip to Baní. The event this year will place mainly at the Baní Central Park from 19 to 23 June 2019.

The Dominican Republic exports more than four mango varieties to the United Kingdom (41%), the Netherlands (33%), France (8%), Germany (6%), and the United States of America (4%). The varieties exported are the Keitt (66%), Mingolo (18%), Grano de Oro (9%), Banilejo (6%), and other varieties (1%).

The event is also a trade show. Keynote speakers will focus on providing attendees a better understanding of the mango supply chain and how to handle the main factors that affect quality and safety. Participants will gain knowledge to improve their competitiveness and the quality and consistency of fresh mangos available to consumers in the United States.


Cheytan Báez is Bartender of the Year
Bartender Cheytan Báez was voted Bartender of the Year and the Dominican Republic's representative to the World Class Competition. He defeated finalists Jhonatan Villamizar, Elio Junio Sánchez, Lixander Lara and José Torres in the Speed Round held at the Lulú Tasting Bar in the Colonial City. The bartenders were asked to prepare six cocktails in sis minutes.

On the jury this year were Arturo Savage, who is the regional whiskey ambassador for Diageo, a leading whiskey distributor; and Carlos Mejía, winner of the World Class Competition RD 2018 and semi-finalist of the Top 20 of the World Class Competition held in Germany in 2018, among others.

The World Class Bartender Competition will take place in Scotland in September 2019.


DR defeats Korea in Volleyball Nations League
The Dominican Republic women's volleyball team defeated host team Korea 1-3 on 18 June 2019 in Boryeong, Korea. The game scores were: 19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 28-30.

This is the final round of the FIVB Nations League competition. Then on 19 June, the DR will play Poland, and later on 20 June, Japan. The Dominican Republic is in 8th place with a record of 13 games played, 7 won and 6 lost.

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