Bimonthly newsletter published by the Ministry of Tourism of The Dominican Republic
VOLUME II, NUMBER 4
On Guzman's 2nd Anniversary...
Dominicans Proudly Hail Accomplishments of Democracy
by Guarionex Rosa
THROUGHOUT THE DOMINICAN Republic
and most other Caribbean nations-in
fact, wherever free people are struggling to
establish permanent democratic processes
-August 16, 1978 is a date of some historic
On that day Antonio Guzman became :
president of the Dominican Republic.
The simple inauguration ceremony in
Santo Domingo took on significance in the
western world because while affirming the
sovereignty of Dominicans, it dramatically
underscored a fragile democratic principle
-namely, the peaceful transfer of political
power from a defeated incumbent to a vic-
Two months previous, on May 16, over Antonio Guzmdn Photo/Jacques Lowe
1 million Dominicans went to the polls to had campaigned vigorously for political
choose between Guzman, candidate of the changes which would allow democracy to
Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), flourish in order to open the way for
and President Joaquin Balaguer of the Re- needed social and economic reforms. An
formist Party (PR). Guzman and his party overwhelming majority of Dominican vot-
DR Acclaimed by Latin Leaders
ers chose Guzman as their next consti-
After two years in office, Guzmin and
the PRD can point to several rather signifi-
cant economic achievements, but their
most outstanding accomplishment, and al-
ready the hallmark of the administration,
is the dramatic strengthening of demo-
cratic institutions throughout Dominican
society. Thanks to Guzmin, Dominicans
of every persuasion can boast that theirs is
a nation without political prisoners or poli-
tical exiles, a country where every citizen
enjoys civil rights and political freedom re-
gardless of party or ideology.
Other institutional accomplishments
over the past two years include:
-Depoliticalization of the Armed Forces
and the National Police by limiting their
spheres of action to those required or pro-
tected by the Constitution and the laws of
DURING RECENT VISITS to the Dominican
Republic, Alfonso L6pez Michelsen, for-
mer President of Colombia, Rafael Cal-
dera, former President of Venezuela, Car-
los Romero Barcelo, Governor of Puerto
Rico, and Huber Matos, a leader of the
anti-Castro community in exile, had words
of high praise for Dominican democracy
and the government of Antonio Guzman.
Dr. L6pez Michelsen, a lawyer by
profession, stated that "in a troubled world
the Dominican Republic is an oasis of
peace... where democracy is under con-
Caldera, who was in Santo Domingo to
preside over the Iberian-America Right to
Work Congress, also voiced considerable
praise for Dominican democracy.
The distinguished statesman the first
Christian Democrat to ever govern Vene-
zuela-declared that "it is most encourag-
ing to witness the freedom and stability en-
joyed here... this is a land of people who
love democracy and progress.
Governor Romero Barcelo, who met
July 7 with President Guzman to discuss
new exchange programs between Puerto
Rico and the Dominican Republic, also
commented on "the extraordinary climate
of peace and democracy in the country."
Hubert Matos, one of the four original
leaders of the Cuban nationalist revolu-
tion, said that the best message he could
give to all Dominicans was "to safeguard
Matos, who was released from Cuban
jails in 1979 after 20 years imprisonment
under Castro in Cuba, visited the Domini-
can Republic July 17-22 and marvelled at
the "progress, peace and social justice that
The Cuban exile leader, as a guest of the
Dominican Association of Journalists and
Writers, met privately with President
Guzmin for more than one hour. D
Huber Matos, former comrade of Castro,
spent 20 years in Cuban prisons. (UPI)
Guzman's 2nd Anniversary
(Continued from pg. 61)
-Affirmation of the basic right of every
Dominican to live in the Dominican Re-
public as well as to travel abroad, while
prohibiting the deportation and physical
abuse of any Dominican.
-Guaranteeing freedom of the press to all
print and electronic media, while eschew-
ing government interference, intimidation
-Upholding as equal but complementary
the powers of the Executive, Legislative
and Judicial branches of government and
discouraging any attempt by the Executive
branch to dominate the government.
-Elimination of large-scale administrative
corruption, which characterized previous
administrations, and the guaranteeing of
job security for all public employees re-
gardless of age, sex, political philosophy,
or party affiliation.
-Restructuring of government agencies to
curb administrative abuses and reduce
rampant absenteeism, while introducing
modern management techniques.
On the economic front, Guzmdn and his
administration have had to tackle three
major problems, the causes of which were
almost totally beyond anyone's control.
First, almost from the beginning of his
presidency, Guzman has been plagued by
continual petroleum price increases. (Dur-
ing 1980, for instance, the Dominican Re-
public expects to spend approximately
$600 million for imported oil to fuel its in-
dustries, almost double the amount spent
in 1976.) Secondly, mounting oil prices
have accelerated the rate of inflation and
increased the cost of living which in turn
have forced the government to increase
taxes. Thirdly, since the devastating
storms of last August, the government has
had to expend enormous funds, time and
energies in hurricane recovery programs.
Nevertheless despite these factors, dur-
ing 1979 some 30,000 new jobs were cre-
ated in high unemployment sectors and
during the same period the government
was able to increase the budgets of the De-
partment of Agriculture by $75 million, of
the Department of Public Health by $42
million, and of the Department of Educa-
tion by $40 million.
Looking to the final two years of his
term, Guzman continues to emphasize
that his programs, while clearly aimed at
distributing the nation's wealth more
equitably, will also guarantee the
permanency of the political freedoms
which the entire nation now enjoys. O
Guarionex Rosa, Dominican consul general in
Washington, D.C. is a former Editor of Ultima
President Guzmdn with U.S. Ambassador Robert Yost signing an agreement earlier this
summer which facilitated a $5 million AID grant for hurricane reconstruction programs.
Alfonso L6pez Michelsen,
former President of Co-
lombia and a close friend of
Guzmdn, during a recent
visit to Santo Domingo.
U.S. exchange students from Georgia's Morehouse University
meeting with President Guzmdn.
The Dominican head of
state, himself a successful
cattle rancher, discussing
irrigation problems with
farmers and agro-business-
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
"An Island of success..."
by Georgie Anne Geyer
IT WAS A SCENE that was so filled with
pathos-and even with a strange beauty-
that, if one cared about democracy in this
hemisphere, one caught one's breath. One
could, quite simply, never have believed
something so sheerly and simply "good"
could happen here, in Santo Domingo.
Now the three Dominican men were all
chatting and laughing animatedly in the
VIP room of the lovely new airport-but it
had not always been this way.
These three had been "constitutionalista"
officers during the 1965 revolution. They
had fought against the old Trujilloites,
been defeated by the American interven-
tion and, finally, secreted out to the United
States for several years so they would not
But this long-tormented land is, today,
one of the happiest places in the Caribbean
- or, for that matter, anywhere. And it
was hard for me, who had spent months
here during the revolution as a journalist,
not to feel a great, great deal when one of
them looked at me and said with deep emo-
tion: "Isn't this the most lovely country
today? Isn't this just paradise on earth?"
It is certainly not only a lovely country,
it is simply amazing. Josd Pefia Gomez, the
brilliant young black leader of the Domini-
can Revolutionary Party (PRD), who was
hounded for years and nearly killed re-
peatedly under the corrupt and brutal
"ancient regime," today runs the party
from a neat suburban ranch house. And it
is the party in power.
Moreover, the grip of the old Trujilloite
military was finally broken, for good,
when the PRD President, Antonio Guz-
min, took over in August 1978. The very
day of his inauguration, while former U.S.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and former
U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young waited
to have lunch with him, President Guzmin
demanded and got the resignations of the
old generals who were still trying to over-
throw his election.
And, after our unfortunate role over the
decades in supporting the old Trujilloite
dictatorship and after our unfortunate in-
tervention, the U.S. helped a great deal.
The Carter Administration does indeed de-
serve substantial plaudits in the case of the
DR, because it, with an excellent embassy
here, made it clear to the old generals that
the democratic election of GuzmAn was
going to stand, period.
Even Pefia Gomez says, "Yes, the United
States has changed. In the last days of the
election, there was a great change in
American policy here. If only it were also
true in other places. The level of anti-
Americanism is very low here.
'The Caribbean is where the great em-
pires clashed in the past and it continues to
be a zone where the Great Powers are in
conflict. But one must not forget that it is
also a zone where great democratic ad-
vances have been made. It is a democratic
Now why, you might ask, am I writing
this column about the Dominican Repub-
lic, a place where things are going well?
Well, the answer is very simple. We de-
serve to know, as Americans, the outcome
of our actions-and not only the bad ones.
We need to have a balance in our percep-
tions of the world, and if people like me
write only about the oh-so-popular "trou-
ble spots", we can help fill people with a
sense of dread that can then lead to totally
unrealistic and inappropriate reactions.
And we need to appreciate what other peo-
ples and leaders-courageous ones-are
doing for themselves.
The Dominican Republic unquestion-
ably has problems. The Guzmin govern-
ment, while good on many levels, needs to
build more (people here are beginning to
say, "Well, at least the dictators built
The DR, as well as any place, exemplifies
the problem of the developing world -
how to pay for oil that has gone up, here:
2,000 percent in 15 years with a sugar crop
whose earnings are going down? The only
real answer is probably the nuclear one.
Yet, despite these problems, this country
is relatively an island of success in the Car-
ibbean. We in the press don't write
enough, I think, about successes, so here
you have one. O
Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 5/29/80
UPI Survey Highlights
IN A RECENT study of democratic and con-
stitutional governments in Latin America,
United Press International reports that the
Dominican Republic has enjoyed unusual
peace and democracy during the first two
years of President Antonio GuzmAn's
The agency stated in its analysis that
"there is freedom of the press and there are
no political prisoners" in the Dominican
UPI also stated that the economic prob-
lems faced by the Dominican government
are due to increases in the price of oil and
damages caused by Hurricane David in
UPI called Guzman a "conservative
politician" who came to power August 16,
1978 with the help of the United States,
when some members of the Dominican
military establishment tried to ignore the
results of the free elections held on May 16.
UPI considers the President more con-
servative than his Dominican Revolution-
ary Party (PRD), which is aligned interna-
tionally with the Social Democrats.
Guzman defeated among other candidates
former President Joaquin Balaguer (who
governed the country for 12 years, from
1966 to 1978) and Juan Bosch. Balaguer
and Bosch are now the leaders of the two
main opposition parties. O
DR Recovery: "Amazing"
DR. JORGE GONZALEZ DE VALLE, Director of
the Center for Latinamerican Studies, be-
lieves that the economic recovery of the
Dominican Republic following Hurricanes
David and Frederick has been "simply
Gonzalez del Valle, international mone-
tary expert, explained that the Center had
believed that the nation would not be able
to achieve full economic recovery after the
hurricanes which produced property losses
in the hundreds of millions of dollars and
over a thousand deaths in August 1979.
"But this hasn't been the case at all; the
economic recovery process continues to be
strong, particularly regarding the control
on inflation and maintaining a sound bal-
ance of payments," he stated.
He added that "there are very few Latin-
american countries achieving what the
Dominican Republic is achieving, particu-
larly in recovering from so awesome a na-
Gonzalez del Valle presided at a seminar
on inflation rates in Latin America, or-
ganized by the Center for Monetary
Studies and held at the offices of the Cen-
tral Bank in Santo Domingo, July 25-28. O
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
Quotations for the 80's/Edmund S. Muskie
For the fact is that we have a deep and growing stake in developing countries. We
cannot get along without them as trading partners and markets; as sources of essen-
tial materials; as necessary partners in efforts to address pollution and population,
the proliferation of nuclear weapons and countless other issues touching all of our
-Speech to the Foreign Policy Association, NYC, July 7, 1980
G.&W. Agrees to Pay $39 Million to End Dominican Claim
By Jeff Gerth
GULF AND WESTERN INDUSTRIES has agreed
to spend $39 million to end a dispute with
the Dominican Republic over profits from
a joint sugar trading arrangement five
years ago, according to the company and
President Antonio Guzmdn of the Domini-
The dispute arose after the Securities and
Exchange Commission uncovered the
speculative joint venture and alleged that
Gulf and Western had withheld $38.7 mil-
lion in profits owed to the Dominican Gov-
Last year the S.E.C. sued Gulf and West-
ern, accusing it of violations of Federal
securities laws and including in its com-
plaint details of the sugar trading arrange-
ment. That case is still pending in United
States District Court here, with the com-
pany vigorously denying any wrongdoing.
The agreement was announced last night
(September 4) by President Guzmdn in a
nationally televised address. Mr. Guzman
took office in 1978 after personally pledg-
ing to dissociate the Government from
Gulf and Western. The S.E.C. has charged
that G.&W.'s president, Charles G. Bluh-
dorn, made a secret agreement with high
officials of the previous government to
speculate in sugar futures in 1975.
President GuzmAn then ordered his
comptroller general to conduct a separate
investigation of the sugar deal.
Under the agreement, a G.&W. subsid-
iary and the Dominican Government will
establish a nonprofit corporation for the
economic and social development of the
eastern region of the Dominican Republic,
with funds totalling $39 million provided
by the company over a period of seven
The nonprofit corporation will be
headed by Bishop Eduardo Polanco Brito
of Higuey, a city in the Eastern region. The
remaining four members of the board will
be made up of two representatives chosen
by G.&W. and two chosen by the Domini-
Gulf and Western, a widely diversified
conglomerate whose holdings include ex-
tensive sugar operations in the Dominican
Republic and elsewhere, said the $39 mil-
lion payment would not have a material ef-
fect on its earnings. In its prepared state-
ment, the company said, "The present
value of the net charge arising from the
payments to be made under the agreement
over a seven-year period will be reflected in
Gulf and Western's 1980 fiscal year which
ended on July 31."
President Guzman said the agreement
with the company was reached last Friday
after discussions with several Gulf and
Western representatives, including former
Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Mr.
Vance's law firm, Simpson, Thacher &
Bartlett, is attorney for the company.
In August 1979, shortly after news of the
sugar deal was made public in the Domini-
can Republic, Donald Oresman, a partner
in the law firm and a company director,
wrote a letter to Mr. Vance, then Secretary
of State, on behalf of the company,
according to documents on file in United
States District Court here. The contents of
the letter have not been made public, al-
though the S.E.C. has requested that the
letter be produced by G.&W. during pre-
Mr. Oresman said in a telephone inter-
view that he would have no comment on
the contents of the August 1979 letter. Mr.
Oresman also said he had talked to Mr.
Vance about the letter and that Mr. Vance
had no recollection of receiving a letter
from Mr. Oresman and "if he received"
any such letter "he did not function on it."
In its statement, Gulf and Western re-
peated its denial that it owed any money to
the country and said that the agreement
contained a preamble that says Gulf and
Western "maintains there is no debt or legal
obligation to the Dominican Government
with respect to any part of the profits of the
sugar futures trading operations conducted
in 1974-75, and therefore no legal basis for
any claim of any nature by the Dominican
-The New York Times, 9/6/80
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
"Common sense, moderation and firmness..."
There follows the text of the televised address by President Antonio Guzmdn in
which he announced the settlement agreed to by Gulf & Western Industries.
CIVIL AND MILITARY OFFICIALS, FELLOW DOMINICANS: When I addressed the nation last
August 16th, I discussed a problem that existed between Gulf and Western and the
Dominican Government concerning sugar operations in the futures market that had
been carried out during the previous administration, in 1974 and 1975.
After my speech, representatives from Gulf and Western informed me that they
wished to settle this matter amicably and asked me to meet with a commission
headed by Mr. Cyrus Vance. I agreed to meet with the commission and the meeting
took place last Friday in the National Palace. During the course of the meeting I
realized that the members of the commission were anxious to reach an agreement
with the Dominican Government, but once again I told them that my Government
could not accept a net sum under 38.7 million pesos.
It is a great pleasure to inform you that as a result of these negotiations the Domini-
can Government and Gulf and Western have reached an agreement and that this
problem, which had been on the minds of all Dominicans, has been settled.
The agreement was signed this morning and basically it establishes the following:
A non-profit organization will be created, with the official name Fund for the Devel-
opment of the Eastern Region, to be administered by 5 members. The Bishop of
Higuey will be one of the members and will also be chairman of the group. Gulf and
Western will finance the work undertaken by this organization in the Eastern
provinces and the Technical Secretary of the Presidency will submit the projects, in
accordance with the development plans that have been established.
During the first two years, the Fund will receive 16 million pesos; during the
following 5 years it will receive 4.6 million pesos per year. In other words, during this
period the Dominican people will receive a net sum of 39 million pesos.
Finally, the agreement clearly stipulates that the payments to be made under the
conditions of this agreement will not be considered as partial payments of taxes,
appraisements, tax burdens, contributions or levies, in accordance with the laws of
the Dominican Republic, and while this agreement is in effect.
My fellow Dominicans: I am very happy with the settlement of this claim of 38.7
million pesos. Once again we have seen the benefits of using common sense, modera-
tion and firmness. It is my duty to thank all sectors of the country for the solidarity
and support they gave to the position taken by the Dominican Government in these
The agreement that was signed is concrete evidence that the Government respects
private enterprise and foreign investments and that above all else it will defend the
dignity and interests of our nation and our national sovereignty. I thank you. D
National Palace, September 4, 1980
Legislative Update ...
From Congress: New Incentives for Exports and Agriculture
By Richard Barovick
The Dominican Republic's economic policy is being directed in-
creasingly toward the diversification of production and exports,
in order to strengthen the balance of payments and lessen depend-
ence on a few products that have traditionally dominated the
nation's sales abroad.
Closely allied with this policy have been intensified efforts to
accelerate development of the country's industrial base, expand
the use of its natural resources, and spread the location of indus-
try more widely.
The pursuit of these national objectives has recently focused on
the adoption of one important law that is now being implemented
and the enactment of a second one that is still moving through the
legislative process. The first is the Export Promotion Law, the
second a proposed agro-industry promotion statute.
Regulations have recently been adopted to implement the
export promotion law (which was passed in November 1979).
That measure has been designed to stimulate expanded sales
abroad of products other than the traditional agricultural and
mineral items that have made up the bulk of Dominican exports.
The latter are excluded from its benefits.
The export law provides a variety of incentives, including
duty-free entry for articles that will be re-exported as more
finished products, tax certificates that can be credited against cor-
porate income taxes, special treatment of foreign exchange earn-
ings, and encouragement for Dominican producers to form ex-
port consortium. (These benefits are not available to companies
already participating in the Industrial Incentive and Protection
Law, No. 299.)
Under the temporary import provision goods such as raw ma-
terials and semi-manufactured products are granted a 12-month
period during which they are exempt from duties and taxes pro-
vided that they are transformed or processed and then exported.
Products that command priority national interest may receive
the benefit of a Tax Payment Certificate up to 15 percent of the
value of the exports. In the case of articles that contain high agri-
cultural content this incentive may be increased up to 25 percent.
The certificates can be used by exporters to pay Dominican
income taxes, a substantial incentive.
The new law also provides authority to exempt export income,
on a selective basis, from the requirement of turning over foreign
exchange receipts to the Central Bank. This would give eligible
Dominican exporters a more favorable rate and diminish some-
what the role of the parallel market, the unofficial foreign
Finally, the export incentive statute encourages the formation
of export consortium, particularly among small- and medium-
sized producers, in order to strengthen their capacity to market in
foreign countries. One of the ways in which these groups will be
supported is through the granting of additional Tax Payment Cer-
Administration of the new law has been placed primarily in the
hands of the Dominican Center for Export Promotion
(CEDOPEX). CEDOPEX, for example, determines which prod-
ucts qualify for the special incentives, administers the standards
Richard Barovick, journalist and public affairs consultant specializing in
international business/economic policy, heads the Washington-based
International Business Affairs Corporation.
for offering the various incentives on a case by case basis, and
works with producers to establish consortium. The Dominican
Monetary Board also participates in the law, mostly in deciding
the extent to which an export is eligible for foreign exchange in-
As many as 14 different industries have already begun to make
use of the new program, including such products as varied as
mushrooms and paper.
The proposed agro-business incentive law, now mid-way
through the legislative process, reflects the Dominican govern-
ment's policy of accelerating the development of the agricultural
sector and linking it more closely with industrial activities. Speci-
fically, the measure would stimulate the development of indus-
trial enterprises that utilize the nation's farm, forestry, maritime
and river resources.
A variety of incentives are offered in the most recent draft of
the proposed law. For example, eligible companies would receive
exemption from income taxes for a period of time, and this would
also apply to reinvested earnings. To encourage the financing of
these organizations, income tax exemptions would be offered as
well to dividend and interest income earned on their stocks and
bonds. Investments in fixed assets would enjoy accelerated depre-
Other incentives would be offered too. For example, eligible
companies would be exempt from import duties on materials,
machinery and equipment used in producing the final product. In
the case of high priority projects, the Dominican government
would also offer extra assistance such as land grants, labor train-
ing, market research, and the construction of infrastructure
facilities such as electricity, water and roads.
The Dominican government will also make available financial
resources through the Central Bank, especially its Fund for Eco-
nomic Development, and the Industrial Corporation, to support
the establishment and growth of the enterprises covered.
The draft law includes a set of criteria to establish the eligibility
of industries covered. These include the extent to which the enter-
prise utilizes national raw materials, the degree of industrial inte-
gration (the relationship between the production of raw materials
and the industrial process), the intensity of capital, and the decen-
tralization of industrial activity.
A new institutional structure would be created to administer
the proposed law. A Directorate of National Production would
be established under the chairmanship of the Secretary of State
for Industry and Commerce. Other participants would include
the Secretary of State for Agriculture, the Technical Secretary of
the President, the Secretary of State for Finance, the Central Bank
Governor, and representatives from the Dominican Association
of Industry, the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture and In-
dustry of the National District, the National Council of
Businessmen, and the Dominican Association of Cattlemen and
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
Making It: Dominicans in the Big Apple
By Reginaldo Atanay
ONLY A FEW DECADES AGO, Dominicans residing in New York
were, in the main, a community of factory workers and unskilled
But times and people have changed-radically: today New
York Dominicans are doctors, engineers, nurses, lawyers, profes-
sors, sociologists and active members of the business and
While there are no exact figures on the number of Dominicans
living in the Big Apple, conservative estimates place the figure at
around 450,000. Those who are here as illegal aliens prefer to keep
a low profile while they concentrate their efforts on obtaining
legal resident status.
The Hope of Going Home
Actually, many Dominicans residing in New York plan to return
to the Dominican Republic as soon as they have saved a bit of
money; and many hope to use the skills acquired in the United
States once they're back home.
But most people who live here hoping to go back home never
do, mainly because they grow accustomed to and dependent
upon their new environment.
The Santo Domingo Connection
Dominicans have been an active element in the life of New
York for a very long time. However, until the massive im-
migration to the City that took place in the 60s and 70s
from the Dominican Republic's countryside and poor
urban neighborhoods, most Dominican residents of New
York were members of the more privileged classes. Some
were entrepreneurs and professionals medical doctors
particularly; others were political activists in exile. Still
others came as transients from medical services or to pro-
vide an education for their children.
Take, for example, don Juan Julia y Julia, who had been
prominent in Dominican politics during the late 19th Cen-
tury and for personal reasons, and possibly political ones
as well, took up residence in New York around 1900. He set
up a prosperous export-import business and purchased a
splendid apartment at 108th Street and Riverside Drive,
where he lived until his death in the 1920s. His daughter,
dofia Matilda Julia Shaeffer, married a U.S. citizen and
lived in the apartment until her death in 1965.
Without doubt, the Dominican community in New York
from 1850 until 1960 was very small, probably never num-
bering more than a couple of thousand at the most. It also
was very closely knit: everyone literally knew everybody.
After Trujillo's death in 1961, the very strict control on
travel and emigration applied by the dictator was re-
moved. The gates were thrown open and Dominicans of
every social class rushed out to search for better opportuni-
ties in a metropolis which remains for most of them the in-
carnation of all the U.S. has to offer -New York City.
Thus the two or three thousand Dominicans have now
become almost a half million. O
Reginaldo Atanay, reporter for El Diario-La Prensa, of New York, writes
the highly popular Bohro Dominicano column for the same paper.
Some who want to go back to the
Dominican Republic never become
truly assimilated or established in
the United States. They end up
S"half here and half there", feeling
that they really don't belong in
either place. Then too, many
Dominicans who have decided to
settle permanently in the United
States lead prosperous lives here
Carlos Tolentino but they avoid any participation in
the social or cultural activities of their American neighbors.
Although New York is the state with the largest concentration
of Dominicans, there are also significant numbers of Dominicans
living in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
Illinois and Florida.
The Dominican Market
Eight years ago the number of Dominican products marketed in
New York was limited. Today a wide variety of agricultural and
processed products can be found here, including rum and beer.
A few years ago Dominicans in New York found it very hard to
pay S1.90 for an avocado, knowing they could buy one in Santo
Domingo for about $.25, but they're learning to live with infla-
tion and right now New York Dominicans are willing to pay high
prices for Dominican products.
Hence, New York imports large
amounts of fresh Dominican prod-
uce such as plantain, sweet pota-
toes, yucca, beans and greens used
for seasoning. Many canned and
frozen products are also imported
tamarind, papaw, custard-
Sapple, sapodilla and frozen vege-
tables, especially yucca and sweet
potatoes. The demand keeps grow-
ing because the market keeps
Rev. Milton Ruiz growing
The surprising cultural impact of Dominicans in New York over
the last several years is due to a large extent to the participation of
such international personalities as designer Oscar de la Renta.
De la Renta, who has conquered
American and European markets
with his highly popular designs,
has a showroom in mid-Manhat-
tan. And although he remains a
very private person his interna-
tional connections and reputation
have helped the image of his native
country. A few years ago, for
example, de la Renta played a key
Felix Disla part in the debut of Dominican
violinist Carlos Piantini a member of the New York
Philharmonic who joined the ranks of world artists by conduct-
ing Verdi's "Requiem" at Lincoln Center. Piantini became an in-
ternational figure after that performance-but the public went to
his debut largely because de la Renta was there.
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
Last February, to celebrate the an-
niversary of Dominican Independ-
ence, the Dominican Civic and
Cultural Center sponsored a
poetry recital by Carlos Tolentino,
at Alice Tunny Hall. (Tolentino
doesn't make frequent appear-
ances, but when he does his shows
are memorable.) The Center,
A# founded over 15 years ago, is one
Enrique Onesimo Guerrero of the outstanding cultural organi-
zations of the New York Dominican community. Enrique
Onesimo Guerrero, a lawyer from the province of Peravia, is a
major supporter of the center. He is also the founder of the New
York Association of Dominican Professionals, currently headed
by Dr. Marcos A. Cabral.
To celebrate the Independence of the Dominican Republic,
each year the Center organizes and promotes a carnival which has
become a "must event" for Dominicans. It also helps sponsor the
annual Hispanic Parade held in Queens.
Felix Disla, a painter from Santiago de los Caballeros, is also
the founder of the Association of Hispanic Painters and
This association with over 70 members from different Latin
American countries has presented many significant exhibits, par-
ticularly at the Bronx Museum and at the Center for Inter-
It is hard to determine exactly how many Dominican organiza-
tions there are in New York, but there are at least 70. Whether
civic, cultural, social, religious or athletic, most have a small
membership. But there are associations that include most Domin-
icans, such as the La Altagracia Celebration.
In 1970 Father Milton Ruiz, a Dominican priest who did post-
graduate work in Rome, started to celebrate the Feast of Our
Lady of La Altagracia in New York. For the past ten years, over
10,000 Dominicans have gathered annually at St. Patrick's on a
Sunday in January to honor the Virgin. Impressed by the devo-
tion of Dominicans, Terence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of
New York, has presided each year at the celebration and many
Dominican clerics have officiated, among them Octavio Antonio
Cardinal Beras Rojas, Archbishop of Santo Domingo.
The progress made by Dominicans in the United States and in
New York in particular has been enormous. The Dominican
population of New York, in size and potential, constitutes an
authentic urban community, second only in importance to the
capital of Santo Domingo. O
Dancing to the Fashions of Dominican Designers
ON A WARM SUMMER DAY in New York recently, at 5:30 in the
afternoon, the Dominican Center for the Promotion of Ex-
ports (CEDOPEX) hosted a rather unusual event: beautiful
models wearing haute couture designs danced for a select
group of clothing manufacturers in garments designed by
The fashions by Francisca Henriquez, Mercy Jaquez and
Pedro Voight were designed for summer wear in linen, cotton
and silk. Most were solid color or a combination of bright
colors, allowing the wearer to create a suitable outfit for
casual or formal affairs.
Two Dominican models, Carolina Beaumont and Melania
Garcia, used the contagious rhythm of the merengue to show
the audience that traditional Dominican music and sophisti-
cated modeling techniques are wonderfully compatible.
According to Mauricio Gonzalez, head of CEDOPEX in
New York, the market is changing radically because famous
Melania Garcia danc-
ing to merengue rhy-
thm while modeling
fashions designed by
designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Gloria Van-
derbilt, and Jordache formerly associated with haute cou-
ture and patronized by a very select group are now acces-
sible to almost everyone.
-1 j 11m-am m 1i llii
At the fashion show, left to right, Model Carolina Beaumont,
New York Tourism Director Ellis Perez, CEDOPEX New York
Director Mauricio Gonzales, Model Melania Garcia, and
Dominican Airlines Manager Rafael Guzmdn.
The CEDOPEX office also used the event to promote three
other national products: Presidente Beer, Bermudez Rum and
Bermudez Pink Cocktail. In addition, guests were able to view
the CEDOPEX permanent exhibition of export products and
become acquainted with the many services offered by the
office, ranging from the promotion of exports to assisting for-
eign investors wishing to establish factories in the Dominican
Republic. Rafael Guzmin, Manager of Dominicana de Avia-
cion in New York and Ellis Perez, newly appointed director of
Tourism in New York, also attended the event.
The cocktail was hosted by the firm of Ramirez and Zayas,
New York representatives of Presidente Beer; Casa Bermudez
y Cia., C. por A.; World Wide Consolidated, Inc.; and
Capitol Distributors Corp. eO
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
Top Priority for PRD ...
Improving Rural Health Conditions in DR
by Isabel Cintr6n
ONE OF THE TOP priorities of the Dominican
Revolutionary Party (PRD) is to offer basic
health services to the 3.3 million people,
out of a population of 5 million, who live in
rural areas of the Dominican Republic, ac-
cording to Jos4 Rodriguez Soldevilla, Min-
ister of Public Health.
Dr. Rodr'guez Soldevilla explained that
before the Administration of President An-
tonio GuzmAn, the PRD candidate who
succeeded President Joaquin Balaguer,
there simply were no doctors in rural areas.
"Now, two years later, we have 400 doc-
tors and 260 clinics in rural areas," he said,
adding that construction has begun on 135
additional clinics, to be located in the most
critical areas of the country the south-
west, northwest and south.
"When we took over this Ministry," he
said, we had a budget of 60 million pesos;
now it has been increased to 100 million."
(The Dominican peso has par value with
the US dollar.)
According to Dr. Rodriguez Soldevilla
gastroenteritis represents one of the most
critical health problems and he said that
while the number of cases was "alarming",
statistics indicate that the number has been
reduced during the last five years.
"In 1975 the Panamerican Health Orga-
nization reported 103 deaths before age 1
for each 1,000 births. Now we have 45
deaths for each 1,000 births, which shows
that our rural health systems are improv-
ing," he stated.
Incentives are also being offered by the
government to the professional medical
community. For instance, doctors who
have just graduated from medical schools
are dedicating one full year to social serv-
ices. "Doctors working in rural areas are
paid 300 pesos a month plus 75 pesos for
expenses. Those who choose to work in the
capital or the suburbs of the capital are
only paid 200 pesos," he said.
Dr. Rodriguez Soldevilla indicated that
community leaders in rural towns are also
receiving official support. "We have 5,000
leaders who promote vaccines and preven-
tive medicine," he said.
Isabel Cintr6n, reporter for El Mundo of San
Juan, writes frequently on Caribbean affairs.
Rafael de Lancer, Assistant Secretary for
Planning and Development for the Minis-
try of Public Health, explained that infant
mortality is due mainly to stomach dis-
orders, malnutrition and contagious dis-
eases and he believes that this is a result of
"the social situation, the distribution of in-
come, unemployment, and lack of infor-
mation concerning the nutritional value of
The Dominican Republic has this prob-
lem due to a high, 30 percent illiteracy rate,
according to de Lancer. "To further com-
plicate matters, the low educational level
of the literate population contributes to the
lack of orientation received by the general
population," he said.
De Lancer reported that the Ministry
hopes to achieve two major goals during
1980: to raise to 5 the ratio of doctors per
10,000 people, from the 1977 ratio of 3.9
doctors per 10,000; and secondly, to have
400 clinics in operation by 1982, as com-
pared to 286 in 1979.
Other goals are: to increase the number
of public health counselors to 7,000 in 1982
from 4,000 in 1979; to increase the number
of doctors engaged in social service from
187 in 1978 to 1,000 in 1980; to increase the
number of licensed nurses and achieve a
ratio of one nurse per 10,000 people; and to
increase the number of nurses engaged in
social service from 21 in 1979 to 78 in
DATELINE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC July/August 1980
Tourism Editor's Choice/dominicans to remember
In Santo Domingo, the beginning of another school year -Photo/Jacques Lowe
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