The National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) and the Dominican Armada confirmed speculations that a capsized fiberglass boat recovered drifting at Km 13 of Las Americas Expressway, along the Caribbean Sea had been used for drug trafficking. On Friday, 15 February 2019, the Armada units recovered the boat, without crew. It was taken to the Sansouci Naval Base and is now under the responsibility of the intelligence division (M2). The operation caused traffic congestion on the highway as dozens of onlookers stopped to watch what was going on.
The DNCD reports that the 27-foot boat with three 85 hp motors had delivered 707 kilos of cocaine that reached shore at dawn on Monday, 11 February 2019.
The DNCD reported that once the shipment was detected, the crew attempted to sink the boat that had drifted from the waters of Bayahibe, La Altagracia province. The drugs would float to shore. Two Colombians and three Dominicans are under arrest as the case continues to be investigated.
Media reports that the eldest son of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and his daughter, are now in the Dominican Republic while violent protests continue in Haiti. The protestors want Moise to resign.
Reportedly, son Joverlein Moise, 27, crossed the border with Jimaní at around 9am on Saturday, 16 February 2019 with his personal security. At the border he received Dominican military protection from the Specialized Land Border Security Corps (Cesfront) as he passed through the military checkpoints in the border area. He was headed for Santo Domingo.
Listin Diario reported that a daughter of President Moise had previously flown to Santo Domingo entering by way of the La Isabela International Airport.
The press reports that after more than a week of violent clashes in most parts of Haiti, President Jovenel Moise called for a dialogue. The violence has claimed at least nine lives. In a message broadcast to the nation, Moise, who has just finished two years of his term, said that he was going to reestablish peace and stability.
At the same time the United States announced that it was withdrawing all “non-essential” personnel and warned US citizens not to travel to Haiti. A US State Department note refers to widespread demonstrations that are violent and unpredictable in Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti. Due to these demonstrations, on 14 February the US State Department ordered the exit of all non-essential personnel and their families.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government has closed their embassy in the Haitian capital at a time when some 100 Canadian tourists from Quebec are stranded and cannot get out of the country. The Foreign Ministry said in a press communiqué: “We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days in order to guarantee the safety of our diplomats and their families.” Transat, the tour company that is responsible for the tourists from Quebec, said that it was not safe enough to transfer the nearly 100 tourists to the airport in Port Au Prince.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations reported that the Dominican Embassy in Haiti is open. Ambassador Alberto Despradel continues to monitor the situation for the Dominican government. Additional army patrols have been sent to the border.
Listín Diario reports that the Maria Montez International Airport in Barahona has been readied to receive emergency flights from Haiti at any time. Air travel distance to the airport from Port-au-Prince is around 84 miles, around 150 km by road. Border provinces fuel stations have been militarized.
The National Police is accusing several Venezuelans of stealing expensive watches. On Sunday, 17 February 2019, spokesman for the Police, Frank Félix Durán Mejía accused Venezuelans of stealing a Richard Miller Rafael Nadal watch, valued at US$150,000 from a La Dolcerie customer in Piantini, National District. The Police announced it recovered the watch and two 9mm pistols.
The main suspect is 29-year old Venezuelan Lenin Amado Zambrano Lorenzo. The authorities say he also has Dominican nationality. Zambrano was arrested when driving a motorcycle along Av. Mirador del Este in Santo Domingo East. At the moment of the arrest he had on him Pietro Beretta and Armscor pistols.
In the same case, the Police seek Venezuelans Lugo Andrés Santiago, Ramón Velásquez Blanquez and José Nestor Díaz.
The Police say the gang would choose their victims by the watches and then set up the robbery primarily in public places.
The Police urge the owner of the stolen watch, Maskim Vangeli, to file a legal complaint in order to prepare a strong case against the accused.
Despite being blessed by Mother Nature and having some of the friendliest people in the world, the Dominican Republic is not paradise. After years of increased drug trafficking, a justice system that is often seen to protect the criminals and not necessarily the victims, and the abundance and constraints of a growing economy have resulted in the perfect conditions leading to an increase in overall crime in the Dominican Republic.
Recent travel advisory revisions by the US and UK governments now reflect what has long been known locally. This country can no longer be considered a carefree vacation destination.
The United States State Department travel advisory for the Dominican Republic calls for travelers to “exercise increased caution due to crime.” Its citizens need to be alert because “violent crime, such as robbery, murder, and sexual assault, is common.“
The advisory states that the wide availability of weapons, the use of and the trade of illicit drugs, coupled with a weak criminal justice system all contribute to a high level of ongoing criminality.
Recommendations are for tourists to be aware of their surroundings and not physically resist any robbery attempt. Tourists are also advised to not openly display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
The Dominican Republic is now currently at level 2 of the US travel advisory system that has 4 levels of increasing severity. Level 1 being for people travelling in the United States; Level 2 contains warnings to strengthen awareness of security measures; Level 3 asks travelers to reconsider their need to travel to a destination and Level 4 is a warning for people to not travel to that particular country.
The Dominican Republic is the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean region and last year received over 5.9 million visitors. .
88-year old Maestro Rafael Solano is suing radio host Álvaro Arvelo and Z-101 radio station owned by Willy Rodríguez for RD$100 million. The lawsuit stems from for Arvelo’s remarks on the morning talk show “El gobierno de la mañana” stating that Solano is not the author of the Dominican classic love song, “Por Amor.” “Por Amor” is probably the best known of Dominican songs, a popular musical selection at Dominican weddings. Arvelo says the real songwriter is composer and lawyer Manuel Troncoso, who died in 2012.
A hearing for the case was held on Friday, 15 February 2019 at the 8th Penal Hall of First Instance of the National District. The case will continue on 19, 21 and 28 February. Solano is represented by lawyers Laura Acosta and Nassef Perdomo who accuse Arvelo and the radio station of defamation and violation of the high technology crime law.
Arvelo made his remarks on 7 and 8 May 2015. The commentaries were later shared on the website of the radio station and social media.
Police reported that at least 49 persons were injured on 17 February 2019 when the driver of a bus serving the San José de las Matas-Santiago route lost control of the bus. He skid on a curve and the bus turned over in Hoya Bellaca, Guajaca. Passengers that were interviewed say the unnamed driver was speeding and did not heed to passenger requests to slow down.
The accident occurred at 6pm. The bus was carrying residents who had been their Sunday in San José de las Matas river recreation centers. The injured were assisted by the Police, the Red Cross and the 911 System and the San José de las Matas firemen and were taken to the José María Cabral y Báez public hospital in Santiago.
The Embassy of Canada announced on Friday, 15 February 2019, a new program to back young businessmen interested in exporting to Canada. Ambassador Shauna Hemingway said that the government seeks to encourage the export of farmed and manufactured products to Canada.
The embassy is working with the Dominican-Canadian Chamber of Commerce on an online export platform.
In a visit to El Dia newspaper, she explained that trade between both countries is US$1.4 billion annually. Merchandise exports to the Dominican Republic from Canada were $200 million in 2018, while imports from the Dominican Republic to Canada totaled over $1.2 billion.
Canadian investment in the Dominican Republic is around US$7 billion, in companies such as Barrick Pueblo Viejo, The Bank of Novia Scotia, among others. Around 900,000 Canadians visit the country every year. She estimated there are 30,000 to 40,000 Dominicans living in Canada. Ambassador Hemingway also spoke of work programs available to skilled Dominicans in Canada.
Education Minister Andrés Navarro announced by Twitter that he is resigning to seek the PLD presidential candidacy in the May 2020 general election. Other Medina administration ministers to resign for the same purpose are Francisco Domínguez Brito in April 2018 from his position as Minister of Environment, and Carlos Amarante Baret in May 2018 from his position as Minister of Interior and Police.
Navarro’s announcement was followed up with an event at the PLD Casa Nacional, the ruling political party’s headquarters on the Av. Independencia in Santo Domingo.
In an apparent effort to reach out to young voters, former President Leonel Fernandez has revamped his political self. Listin Diario highlights today how the usually very formal politician has recently frequently been seen dancing a good merengue or bachata with ease, singing melodies from different times, playing a little domino attired with a baseball cap and tennis shoes, or even dressing as an explorer, with backpack and boots, in one of his new campaign spots.
Fernandez is a ruling party presidential pre-candidate. He aspires to be the PLD candidate in the 2020 general elections and add a fourth presidency to his previous three terms from 1996-2000, 2004-2008 and 2008-2012.
The newspaper reports points out that in his normal life, as the president of a foundation of higher education and university (Funglode), Fernández’s style is classic suit-and-tie, more in tune with that of former presidents who attend international conferences, seminars, talks or society affairs.
The deans of many of the nation’s medical schools together with the Dominican Medical Guild (CMD) have met to make recommendations to improve the delivery of medicine in this country, as well as review the legal requirements for foreigners and those who do their medical residencies overseas to practice medicine in the country.
Taking part in the meeting were the president of the CMD, Wilson Roa, together with the president of the National Council of Medical Specialties, the head of the Dominican Association of Medical Schools, the dean of the UASD medical school and the head of the National Council of Medical Residencies. Third year residents also presented their views on the subject of medical practice by foreigners and graduates of foreign residency programs.
The meeting took a detailed look at the legal framework needed to practice medicine in the Dominican Republic by foreigners. A meeting with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESyCT) was proposed to be followed by a meeting with medical schools to discuss their residency programs.