Radio Habana on the New Government

Apr 26, 2002
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I think Radio Habana got it largely right in this uncopyrighted commentary (but for that the Zona Francas do in fact add wealth to the country - just not as much as other industries would - and that there are plenty of less governable places than the DR). It is also deliciously short of rhetoric:

"August 11, 2004


On August 16 Leonel Fernandez will once again occupy the Dominican Republic's presidential palace, though this time the situation is substantially worse, as the nation's problems continue to multiply. According to press reports, the youth vote was what put Fernandez over the top, defeating president Hipolito Mejia, who failed to stem growing unemployment and was unable to improve public services or make a better future for the younger generations, who removed him from office.

In a population of nearly nine million inhabitants, a third, or three million people, live in grinding poverty and that is a conservative estimate since many experts believe the situation is even worse.

Like many Latin American countries, in the l980s the Dominican Republic transformed its economy leaving behind agricultural exports as its principal activity due to the plummeting prices of most of its traditional products in particular sugar, citrus, bananas and coffee. As a consequence the country step by step became a free industrial area, a favorite for the maquiladora, or assembly industry. The industry fiercely exploits local labor since both the raw materials and the finished products come from and go back overseas without benefiting local populations, but making high profits for the their owners.

With the enormous change in its economy, the Dominican Republic experienced a sharp decline in public services like education and healthcare, in which the government invests five percent less each year, while energy shortages have become chronic and are getting worse. According to local analysts blackouts are no longer measured by hours but by days. And the lack of oil casts a pall on the future, since only a privileged few can afford private generators to light their homes.

Perhaps two details will give an idea of the situation. The first happened on August 4th when president Hip?lito Mej?a was run out of Santo Domingo's Autonomous University by enraged students as he attempted to inaugurate a library that had no books, furniture or equipment. The other incident was an announcement made by the Central Bank stating that starting August 10th, no state entity could write checks in order to guarantee that the new government will fund funds in the public treasury when it takes over next Monday.

Added to all this is the fact that the Dominican Republic's main cities are gripped by street violence and crime and the government is unable to control it. It is a difficult situation and it won't be easy for the government of Leonel Fern?ndez to provide hope for positive change in one of the continent's poorest countries. And many changes must be made in a nation where only a few control the wealth and the great majority are abandoned to their fates in what is fast becoming an ungovernable society, but one which an honest, hardworking and efficient government could turn around."
 

Texas Bill

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Feb 11, 2003
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The commentary may be deliciously short of retoric, but

I think it does skew some of the facts about the labor issue and about the "violence" and crime in the streets...Or, am I wrong??

Do the Fre Zone industries really "fiercely exploit" the labor market? Is there, in fact, an overwhelming wave of crime in the cities coupled with the violence inferred??

Since the commentary comes from a nation such as Cuba, with it's controlled media, and it's dictatorial system, I seriously question the full accuracy of such a report.

Yes, I know, one might expect such comments from a dyed-in-the-wool Capitalist such as myself, but my eyes aren't blind to the underlying inferences of the commentary. They wish to cast doubt on the government system of the DR because they foster one which is diametrically opposed.

The commentary is very well presented, I will give them credit forathat. It has just enough factual information to lend credence to the commentary, but those fact are obviously skewed, if you read between he lines.

Texas Bill
 

mondongo

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Jan 1, 2002
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Porfio_Rubirosa said:
I think Radio Habana got it largely right in this uncopyrighted commentary (but for that the Zona Francas do in fact add wealth to the country - just not as much as other industries would - and that there are plenty of less governable places than the DR). It is also deliciously short of rhetoric:

"August 11, 2004

.....both the raw materials and the finished products come from and go back overseas without benefiting local populations, but making high profits for the their owners.

......

"

This is exactly correct. I know because I actually have read the financial reports on the DR Central Bank website.

Nearly all of those that live/care about the DR are under the mistaken impression that Free Zone revenue actually makes much of a difference to DR GDP. It does not, and the reason is as stated above in the article Porfio posted.

If my memory serves me correctly ( maybe I'll check the website later), the Free Zones account for less than 5% of DR GDP.

That is not to say, however, that 0% is better than 5%. Let's just put in perspective.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Ask the 50,000 people

That work in the Free Zones in and around Santiago...


HB
 

Pib

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Jan 1, 2002
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I noticed the same things you did Texas Bill, and agree with you. The word "fiercely" is misplaced. It conveys a situation of near slavery and shady sweatshops. About violence, not true. Crime would be a better word, but they make it seem worse than it is. If you stretch the truth it becomes a lie; that's what happened in this case.
 
Apr 26, 2002
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I don't get it. If "The Economist" had written the same thing, there would be tremendous deference. "Read between the lines" to find the communist conspiracy? Where is it? No reference to radical political solutions to be found anywhere in the commentary. In fact, it's fascinating that Radio Habana slams the ostensibly left wing President Mejia while finding hope in the incomming centrist President Fernandez.

Exhaggerated the crime problem and turned it into a lie? Not from where I'm standing. A good friend was robbed and shot to death in Barahona a few weeks ago. And in Jarabacoa, people don't walk around even the good neighborhoods late at night anymore.

Radio Habana deserves some credit for not showing too much bias (everyone has some bias, after all). Radio Habana's conclusion seems to be that the country has not fallen off a cliff, that a moderate, hard working and less corrupt government will indeed succeed. Do you really disagree with this?
 

Texas Bill

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Feb 11, 2003
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Porfi-- I wasn't trying to find

A "Communist Conspiracy" for crying out loud. I was , in fact, point out some, which were to me, obvious inferences that were underlying in the commentary and not REALLY accurately reported!
Don't get all bent out of shape just because I interpreted some of the article differently than you did. That's my prerrogative.

I realize your rebuttal is couched in an image that I have fostered through many of my previous posts, but I'm not without the understanding of the English language that revealed what my commentary referred to.

You know yourself that the use of certain words within the context of an article can change it's entire impact on the reader and the Communists are past masters at that plan of attack. It's part and parcel in Marx's "Communist Manifesto". Maybe not specifically in that document, but in subsequent writings.

As to the "violence" part, one can hardly support a generalization such as you did with a couple of isolated incidents. The article would have us believe that "violence" referred to was rampant and uncontrollable. And the use of the word "fiercely" is a little far-fetched, don't you thinK??

Just pointing out a couple of things you forgot to mention in your overwhelming support of the commentary.

I am aware of your left-leaning ideas, and I respect that while asserting my own extreme right-leaning preceptions of government, economics and society.
That we march to different drummers is very evident in our preceptions of the world around us. So far, that hasn't prevented us from hammering each other over the head in a friendly manner. I sincerely hope we can keep our individual perspectives and continue in the same manner.

Personally, as I stated, I think the article was very well presented, with the exceptions noted. I might add, however, that I had the impression that they were kissing the DR on the cheek while stabbing them in the back. Just an observation.

Texas Bill
 

Pib

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Jan 1, 2002
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Look Porfi, I am a self-confessed leftie. I lean so bad to the left that on ocassions I look like the Tower of Pisa, but they are showing a bit of their undies on this one.

I am impressed that Radio Habana wrote an article that is more informed, and detailed, than most of what I've seen in the American and European press, but let's be fair, those two points were exagerated.
 

cr8tions

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May 20, 2004
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Porfio_Rubirosa said:
The other incident was an announcement made by the Central Bank stating that starting August 10th, no state entity could write checks in order to guarantee that the new government will fund funds in the public treasury when it takes over next Monday.
"
This really isn't making any difference because all the checks are still being written with dates prior to August 10th but, if it'll make the international community think differently I guess it does make a difference... It pisses me off that those slimmy **ckers are getting away with it. I also hear that computer disks in government offices are "accidentally" disappearing.
 
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