Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Renaming DR "Drama Island"

Here's the latest news from HispaƱola...

Blackouts affect competitiveness
The recent wave of rolling blackouts makes life difficult for citizens, but also places an additional burden on small and medium sized businesses, which are already struggling with high fuel and production costs. In some cases blackouts have caused business overheads to double because they need to buy more fuel to keep their generators going. In Haina businesses are complaining of blackouts of up to 14 hours, mostly during the morning and afternoons, when they are open.

Bakers are also feeling the pinch, saying that they have to spend an average of RD$2,000 per day to fuel their generators. According to State-run Electricity Companies vice president Radhames Segura, the energy grid should be back on track this week. Segura said that yesterday the energy deficit was only 35% and but gave no word on when AES, which supplies 20% of national demand, would be back on the grid. But this contradicts reports by Listin Diario saying that only 1,092MW of energy were produced for a deficit of 902MW. According to Listin, AES is only producing 20MW of energy from a total capacity of 300MW. The distributors claim that deficiencies in the system are the result of the government's lack of payment.

Segura said that before the end of the month the CDEEE would pay RD$64 million towards a debt of more than US$300 million, but now the Hacienda Ministry says it can only provide US$10 million. El Caribe reports that failure to pay less than 20% of the amount promised means that the blackouts will continue indefinitely.

In related news, the president of the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) Pablo Piantini Hazoury has voiced concerns about the gradual deterioration of the electricity sector, to the point where floating generators have to be rented. He added that if the problem is the payment of debt the solution is not to rent out floating generators, but to pay off the remaining debt.

Murder sparks deportations
The murder of motor-taxi driver Julio Cesar Diaz Perez has caused uproar in Neiba and police have deported 470 Haitians as a result. According to reports, a Haitian national murdered Diaz with a machete on Monday, while trying to steal his motorcycle.

The event provoked indignation from Neiba residents, including violent acts. Hoy reports that residents took to the streets, indiscriminately attacking Haitians. Two men, Solano Mendez Perez and Manuel Yen were killed in the violence.

In all, 11 Haitians have been hurt during the disturbances. Police officials in Neiba explain that the decision to deport the Haitians was partly due to the high tensions in the area and was coordinated with the Haitian embassy. Officials feared that tensions could unleash more violence and social unrest.

Cacao takes a hit
The National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers (CONACADO) says that cacao prices have fallen by 35% on the international markets and that 25% of processed cacao has yet to find a buyer due to a decrease in demand. According to CONACADO this could amount to a RD$500 million loss in revenue for the sector.

CONACADO leader Isidoro de la Rosa says that the recent international financial crisis is partly to blame. De la Rosa says that on 1 October 2008 the price of cacao was US$2,523 per ton on the NYSE, but the price fell to US$1,966 yesterday.

According to de la Rosa, the cacao sector in the DR is extremely important as it generates US$100 million in yearly revenues, as well as creating a large number of jobs. CONACADO members called on the government to provide financial help in order to stabilize the sector during the Confederation's 20th anniversary celebrations.

*smooches...trying to get myself together here so I can make a difference over there*
this might just be bigger than my brain had anticipated... DR is a hot ghetto mess and I can't even begin to think how to deal with it...