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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04SANTODOMINGO5856
2004-10-25 20:00:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Santo Domingo
Cable title:  

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: OAS AMB. MAISTO ADDRESSES FREE

Tags:   PREL  KSUM  KCOR  KHIV  ETRD  SCUL  XL  XM  DR 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANTO DOMINGO 005856 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR WHA/CAR, WHA/OAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KSUM KCOR KHIV ETRD SCUL XL XM DR
SUBJECT: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: OAS AMB. MAISTO ADDRESSES FREE
TRADE, ANTI-CORRUPTION, EDUCATION, HIV/AIDS, DEMOCRACY

REF: A. SANTO DOMINGO 5468


B. SANTO DOMINGO 5242

C. SANTO DOMINGO 5156



1. (U) U.S. PermRep to the OAS Ambassador John Maisto,
emphasized goals of the OAS Monterrey and Quebec Summits of
the Americas in discussions with government, private sector,
and NGO leaders and the media during his September 16-18
visit to Santo Domingo. He was accompanied by Ambassador
Hertell, DCM Kubiske, USAID Director Brineman, and other
Embassy staff.

Free Trade


--------------------------





2. (SBU) At a dinner with business leaders and a breakfast
with American Chamber of Commerce members, Ambassador Maisto
stressed the importance of achieving legislative ratification
of the regional free trade agreement signed August 5. In
this regard he outlined potential negative consequences of an
anti-trade protectionist tax on fructose beverages which the
Dominican Republic subsequently enacted (Ref A). He and the
Ambassador stressed that this tax, if not removed, would
kill chances for U.S. ratification and that the FTA
negotiations could not be reopened. Most of the business
leaders acknowledged this reality but still were looking for
a way outside of the agreement to satisfy interests of the
local sugar industry. The ambassadors also discussed this
topic in a meeting with President Fernandez and Foreign
Secretary Carlos Morales Troncoso (reported Ref B).

SIPDIS

Anti-Corruption


--------------------------





3. (U) Ambassador Maisto emphasized anti-corruption in an
address at the Global Foundation for Democracy and
Development (www.funglode.org), attended by President
Fernandez and Foreign Secretary Morales Troncoso and featured
on national television news broadcasts; at a panel discussion
at the MFA's Diplomatic School with Deputy Foreign Secretary
Alejandra Liriano, other senior officials, and civil society
leaders; at the AmCham breakfast; and in an exclusive
full-page interview in leading circulation national daily
"Listin Diario." Maisto noted that an OAS committee of
experts next March will evaluate the Dominican Republic's
progress in implementing the Inter-American Convention
against Corruption and thanked the country for its active
participation in this process. He stressed the corrosive
effects of corruption on democratic institutions and on
business confidence, citing the financial strains provoked by
major bank fraud that was revealed here last year. He
reiterated the Monterrey Summit commitments to deny refuge to
perpetrators of corruption from any country and bring such
persons to justice. The other leading dailies "El Caribe"
and "Hoy" ran detailed stories on Maisto's anti-corruption
message.

Education


--------------------------





4. (U) At a lunch at Ambassador Hertell's residence, with
Sub-Secretary of Higher Education Victor Hugo de Lancer,
Secretariat of Education curriculum director Dinorah de Lima,

SIPDIS
university administrators, and an advisor to the Centers for
Education in Teacher Training (CETT) Presidential Initiative,
the guests emphasized teacher training and improved
educational quality and equity as goals. They cited
particular needs such as English instruction at the
elementary school level and training of math and science
teachers. Ambassador Maisto urged them to place their
educational priorities on the Dominican agenda for the next
summit of the Americas.

HIV/AIDS


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Ambassador Maisto visited the Luis Eduardo Aybar
Public Hospital, accompanied by Secretary of Health Dr.
Sabino Baez Reyna, Presidential Commission for AIDS
(COPRESIDA) executive director Dr. Alberto Fiallo, and
hospital staff. He visited the integrated care unit and
talked with outpatients who are living with AIDS. The visit
left Embassy participants with the impression that this was a
first contact with AIDS realities for many of the senior
officials who met care providers and patients on the ward.

Democracy


--------------------------





6. (U) In the panel discussion at the Diplomatic School and
in the press interview, Ambassador Maisto referred to the
requirements for democracy laid out in the Inter-American
Democratic Charter, going beyond free and fair elections to
respect for human rights, combating poverty, strengthening
democratic institutions, and promoting a democratic culture.
At the dinner, he addressed the broad problems facing the
countr and how to strengthen democratic institutions.
Business and AmCham leaders raised issues of rising crime
(Ref C), social problems, justice system deficiences, and
civil society development.
HERTELL