Clave newspaper closes
DR1.com - A week after it published a cover story with statements by a witness in the Arturo del Tiempo drug trafficking case linking Police chief Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin and his family to Del Tiempo, the newspaper says goodbye to its readers in this week's issue cover story. The director of the online and weekly news service, Fausto Rosario Adames, announced the closure of both its outlets. "This week both media close until new times, when there is a less sinister atmosphere and economic crisis than at present," said Rosario. "We always resisted the pressure, and with the support of the Grupo Abrisa we forged ahead. With ups and downs, we carried out serious and responsible journalism, interested in contributing to the democratic system". Clave has published 230 print editions every Thursday since 2006, with its digital service dating to March 2004.
"The official and factual powers are tough, they act and seek to remove the media that make them uncomfortable. In our case, we have given a great battle. We have proved that more in-depth journalism is possible," said Rosario. "We risked going beyond what the traditional media have done," he said.
"Why did Clave close?"
Hoy newspaper's lead story today reports that Dr. Sergio Rafael Rojas Soriano's murder was a case of mistaken identity. The doctor was murdered while exercising near the Botanical Gardens and the UNPHU University. Only his gun was stolen from him. The killers are reported to have been targeting a newspaper editor who exercised along that route. The report says that shortly after the killing, a police officer called the newspaper executive for a meeting.
Clave newspaper, in the page 2 commentary of its last printed edition, writes:
"Citizen insecurity is a distinctive sign of the current police administration. A citizen who was exercising on Tuesday was killed by eight bullet wounds. It was not a robbery, because his belongings were left beside the body. He was victim of a criminal intelligence job and professionally killed. The doctor, who worked at the UCE private clinic, Sergio Rafael Rojas Soriano, 52, met his death opposite one of the most beautiful and healthy spots of the country, the Botanical Gardens".
Clave claims to have information that the murder was a mistake and that the order was to target a newspaper executive whose age and physical appearance is similar to the doctor, who exercised early that morning.
"The data are being confirmed and that is why we cannot share more details. Nevertheless, 10 minutes after the crime against Rojas Soriano, a high-ranking officer of the National Police called the newspaper executive "to coordinate a meeting." Because of the time, it was an unusual call.
"Without fear and with serenity the precautions have been taken and we are thus informing the political, military and police and the general police that we are aware where the aggression plans are coming from," writes the newspaper.
The Atiemar Tower case
Clave newspaper, in its last issue, publishes new details on the investigation into the Atiemar Tower money laundering case against Spanish businessman Arturo del Tiempo Marques. Del Tiempo Marques, who was arrested in Spain, has been accused of smuggling 1,211 kilos of cocaine in shipments of construction materials from the DR. The case against Del Tiempo includes investigations into the finances of the purchasers of 15 of the luxury apartments at the Atiemar Tower. The tower was confiscated after Del Tiempo was arrested.
According to Clave's sources, the list of apartments being investigated by the authorities includes 19E purchased by Ada Rivera, 13W and 13E in the name of Macao Investments Corp represented by Francisco Saez, 21W, 22W and 11E in the names of Hector Cabral and Estela Milagros Cabral, and 10E by Jean Mellik Issa represented by lawyer Mayra Tavarez.
They go on to list 19W in the name of Zeobeida Rodriguez Bautista, 17E of Itzhak Peschach, 16E in the name of Jangle Marco Antonio Vasquez Rodriguez, 20E purchased by Macedonia Business Corp represented by General Rafael Guillermo Guzman Acosta, 12E of Luis Martinez Toro, 21E of Bidgood Development S.A., 15W of Juan Rafael Peralta Arias, 14E, Promax Financial Corp, represented by Aura Peralta Arias.
In March, District prosecutor Alejandro Mosco promised the press he would reveal the names of the people who had bought apartments in the tower located on Mexico Avenue. He has yet to do so.
Recently, Colombian German Eduardo Duque Garcia was released on bail. According to accusations made by the District prosecutors he was "openly" dedicated to drug trafficking and money laundering in the DR. The district prosecutors had said he was a partner of Del Tiempo. His ID 7900704 identified him as a member of the Colombian military reserves. The high-rise luxury apartment building was financed with a US$13 million loan from the governmental Banco de Reservas.
Clave says the authorities have questioned engineer Christian Michael Bonnet Pichardo, owner of the lot at Km 15 on Duarte Highway where container GSTU9464219 was stored. It was loaded with marble when it was confiscated in the Spanish port of Valencia on 25 February 2010.
The Ageport shipping agency told investigators that Del Tiempo had exported freight containers on ten occasions, seven of them through Prado Universal Corp and three through Star Marble. They said that Del Tiempo had paid in cash and said they should not worry about the receipts.
Last week Clave published the transcripts of an interview with Ruth Sanchez Vargas, Arturo del Tiempo's son's girlfriend, who assured that the chief of the Police General Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin had a close relationship with Del Tiempo. In a statement from his spokesman Nelson Rosario, Guzman Fermin denied having ties with Del Tiempo. Also present at the questioning was Army Major Roberto Soto of the DNCD Information and Joint Coordination Center. Clave reveals that he has since been dismissed. Clave also reports that a news source said that the dismissal took place days after the authorities completed an investigation into 52 kilos of cocaine confiscated on a Jetairfly plane that was due to travel to Europe from Punta Cana.
Read all about this case: Real estate boom or money laundering in Dominican Republic
Read more about problems with the Police chief Guzman Fermin
Read about another Dominican Police general who shot businessman in Tony Roma's Restaurant trying to prevent him from collecting money from the generals friend.
Don't forget to read about all the tourists who are getting killed in the Dominican Republic
Drugs, corruption and cash is controling the Dominican Republic, Lifes are worth nothing in this part of the world!
News update August 14th 2010
US Embassy reveals it funded Clave Digital
DomincanToday.com – The United States Government on Friday revealed that the recently shuttered publications Clave and Clave Digital were provided economic support since they opened in 2004, and expressed its regret for what it considers a setback to freedom of the press.
But despite noting its history of stimulating media freedom, in a statement issued today the US Embassy in Santo Domingo also acknowledges “phantom” programs to support the press worldwide.
“This support of the media is carried out through a wide range of phantom programs and initiatives aimed at the community, including training for press professionals, interchange of journalists, international book donations, exhibitors, reform of the media law, law on access to information and the vigilance of freedom of he press by means of the Report on Human Rights published annually as the United States Congress stipulates,” said the statement emailed to DT.
The revelation comes one year after the convictions in the cases of fraudulent collapse of three major banks which sent the Dominican Republic economy into a tailspin in 2003, and one year later Clave Digital was the outlet that led in reporting the events and subsequent criminal proceedings against the presidents of the collapsed banks Baninter, Bancredito and Mercantil.
The US Embassy had clearly its position on the bank frauds with constant statements, the declarations of its senior diplomats, and its acknowledged economic support of the civic group Participacion Ciudadana (Citizen Participation), locally the most vocal in calling for convictions of the indicted executives, whos dmbezzled the Dominican taxpayers out of at least US$3.0 billion.
It adds that Washington’s support for the media worldwide also seeks to support governance and because “it’s an important characteristic of American democracy.
Clave and Clave Digital Editor in chief Fausto Rosario had “hinted” and pressure from the National Police as the main reason for closing the outlets, which spurred president Leonel Fernandez to instruct Police chief Rafael Guzman to guarantee the journalist’s safety.
UPDATE: In a subsequent emailed statement from the US Embassy Press Section changes the term “phantom” for “spectrum.” The Press Section called DT o confirm that the correct word is spectrum.
”THE FULL STATEMENT TRANSLATED BY DT:
The United States Embassy regrets the simultaneous closing of the weekly Clave and Clave Digital on August 5.
The United States Government has a long history of support of the mass media worldwide through direct and indirect assistance.
This support of the media is carried out through a wide range of phantom programs and initiatives aimed at the community, including training for press professionals, interchange of journalists, international book donations, exhibitors, reform of the media law, law on access to information and the vigilance of freedom of he press by means of the Report on Human Rights published annually as the United States Congress stipulates.
The support of the media is an important characteristic of American democracy and a support of governance. It is based on the belief that a democracy can be judged by the strength of its media.
The beginnings of Clave Digital is an example of the direct assistance originating from the United States Government, because in 2004 that outlet received initial funds on the part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which contributed to its opening.
From their beginnings to their last publication on August 5, these twin publications have contributed significantly to the multiple media of the Dominican Republic.
The Government of the United States remains firm in its commitment to a free press, the fourth pillar of democracy, and to the wide field of appropriate perspectives that characterizes a dynamic news medium.