Danilo Medina, secretary of the presidency as well as the key man in the political strategy of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, the government party, announced that he favors an electoral alliance with the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano. The PLD is in power thanks to an alliance with the PRSC signed prior to the 1996 election. He said that the party favors taking common congressional and municipal candidates to the May 1998 elections. There have been versions that Jacinto Peynado might run for mayor of Santo Domingo with the support of the PLD.
The three pre-candidates for the position of mayor of Santo Domingo for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, Luis Mariñez (who has the support of present Mayor Rafael Suberví), Eligio Jáquez (who has the support of presidential candidate hopeful Hipólito Mejía) and Miguel Vargas (who has the support of the secretary general of the PRD, Hatuey de Camps) agreed to work for the celebration of a successful party convention on Sunday, 14 December. The threesome said the convention should become a benchmark in the democratic history of the party. The convention has been postponed five times due to "technical problems" and discrepancies among the contenders for the PRD nomination for the city of Santo Domingo.
The principal maternity hospital in the country, the Maternidad Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, will be temporary closed to the public to complete remodelling plans. Patients are being referred to the Hospital Materno-Infantil San Lorenzo de los Minas, the new El Almirante hospital, the Francisco Moscoso Puello, and the Engombe hospital.
The board of the Colonial City, through its Oficina de Educación, Turismo y Relaciones con la Comuidad, has organized a contest of Dominican Christmas punch. Nestle is sponsoring the contest. The jury is made up by Ernesto Ugona, a specialist in beverages; Simon Romero, director of promotion, events and folklore of the Ministry of Tourism; and Sonia Cepeda, businessmawoman and resident in the colonial city.
Department of Customs Director Miguel Cocco forecast that collections will increase 18-20% next year. He said that this year they have grown more than 30% over last year’s, due to the increase in imports and better fiscal control.
The National Council of Free Zones approved the installation of five new industrial parks in the province of Santiago. These require an investment of over US$31 million. The new free zones will be built in Pontezuela, Tamboril, Villa González, Laguna Prieta and Caribbean Industrial Park. The Laguna Prieta and Pontezuela parks will specialize in the processing of tobacco. Some 19,861 persons will be employed by the zones that are expected to generate upwards of US$76 million in foreign currency a year. Minister of Industry and Commerce Luis Manuel Bonetti signed the authorization agreements at an act held at the Hotel Lina in the presence of Fernando Capellán, Salvador Gómez, Henry Kelner, Soto Bermúdez and Larisa Díaz, who represented the park developers. Speaking at the event, Minister Bonetti said that some 182,000 Dominicans are employed in free zones, and foreign exchange receipts are over US$700 million, or 28% more than last year. Exports are expected to reach US$2,300 million, for a growth of 21%.
Sol Meliá, the Spanish hotel chain, announced it will be investing US$5 million in the remodelling of the former Santo Domingo Sheraton, a Hoteles Nacionales property, today known as Meliá Santo Domingo. The chain also will be operating the Meliá Juan Dolio, located on the beach of the same name, another Hoteles Nacionales property. Meliá owns two hotels in the Bavaro area, the Meliá Bávaro Resort and the Paradisus Punta Cana. Andre Gerondeau is the general manager of the Meliá Santo Domingo. Juergen Stuetz is the general manager of the Meliá Juan Dolio, which opens this December, adding 270 hotel rooms, 39 suites and a meeting facility with capacity for 700 rooms to the southeastern beach’s hotel facilities.
The most popular Christmas carol of all times is "Salsa pa’ tu lechón" according to a poll during the TV program, El Reto Semanal. The carol was written by journalist Mundito Espinal and sung originally by Johnny Ventura in 1971. Next in line in popularity are Aguinaldo Dominicano by composer Julio Alberto Hernández, "Venid los pastorcitos," by Luis Alberti; "Llega la Navidad," by Ramón Díaz; and "El Martiriqueño" by Emilio Súarez and Luís Alberti.
President Leonel Fernandez and Vice President Jaime David Fernandez honored outstanding Dominican baseball players during a dinner at the National Palace Tuesday evening. The dinner was televised on the Punto Final show produced by Freddy Beras Goico. Among guests invited were Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, Moisés Alou, Henry Rodríguez, Ramón Martínez, Jose Rijo, Pedro Julio Astacio, Neifi Pérez, Tony Batista, José Lima, Hector Carrasco, José Offerman, Félix Heredia, Winston Llenas, Rafael Landestoy, Tony Peña, Angelo Encarnación and Miguel Batista, past and present Major League baseball stars. At the dinner, Ramón Martinez and Pedro Martínez (winner of the Cy Young award this year) donated 300 computers to the President; Sammy Sosa donated 250; and catcher Tony Peña, another 100, of over 1,000 computers donated that evening by the ball players. The computers will be installed in public high schools throughout the country.
The city government is looking the other way, allowing the installation of hundreds of street vendors all along Avenida Duarte, the downtown commercial venue. The municipality has said that the vendors can remain there through 7 January, 1998, when the holiday season ends in the Dominican Republic. The merchants mainly sell clothing and footwear, and fruits and vegetables, including the traditional apples and grapes.