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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hotel

The new J.W. Marriott is open and taking guests. Another luxury hotel option for Santo Domingo.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 03:49 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New

Here is a great new service that allows you to pay your bills (in the Dominican Republic) on the internet. No muss. No fuss. Even better. Say you got a frantic call from a 'significant other,' telling you how the electricitiy is going to be cut off. You have gotten so many phone calls, you don't know what to believe. Well, this is the service for you. You can get the account number from them and pay it online. Yourself. You can also load minutes onto phones in the D.R. Such a smart idea.

https://www.regalii.com/en/about

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/dominican-immigrant-creates-tech-startup-send-money-home-aunt-article-1.1797573

http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/09/regalii-is-changing-the-way-people-send-money-to-family-abroad-using-mobile-and-gift-cards/
 

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 12:19 AM

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Photos

Haitian personal trainer, Fabrice Auguste.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 04:15 AM

Friday, September 05, 2014

Photos

Here are some great photos of the photographer Kobi Israel. He has a book out with his photos of the people and places in Cuba.
Click here for more images.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 03:07 PM

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Dead

Another one bites the dust. KFC has closed on El Conde and is moving to Máximo Gómez. The colonial zone is dying and no one is doing anything about it. Shame.
Last night at 10:26 P.M. on El Conde. Seemed like it was 4 A.M.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 01:35 AM

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Happy Hump Day!

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 04:03 PM

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Excercise

Excercising on Playa Guibia, Santo Domingo.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 02:37 PM

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Television

There are several apps for your smart phones that allow you to live-stream Dominican television. I have tried many, but this particular one is my favorite. Below is a screenshot from a partial listing. There are dozens of channels from all over the country.

Android Link

Couldn't find a link for Apple.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 08:45 AM

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ice-bucket Challenge


Dominican style.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 07:24 PM

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It's been raining for the last three days straight. There have been lulls here and there, but it has been raining a lot. God knows we need it. But enough already!

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 06:31 PM

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Outrage


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.

The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him “the Italian” because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.

It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

“He definitely seduced me with money,” said Francis Aquino Aneury, who says he was 14 when the man he met shining shoes began offering him increasingly larger sums for sexual acts. “I felt very bad. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I needed the money.”

The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. It has sent shock waves through the Vatican and two predominantly Catholic countries that have only begun to grapple with clergy sexual abuse: the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Mr. Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II.

It has also created a test for Pope Francis, who has called child sexual abuse “such an ugly crime” and pledged to move the Roman Catholic Church into an era of “zero tolerance.” For priests and bishops who have violated children, he told reporters in May, “There are no privileges.”

Mr. Wesolowski has already faced the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law, short of excommunication: on June 27, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system, has also said it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.

But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.

The Vatican’s handling of the case shows both the changes the church has made in dealing with sexual abuse, and what many critics call its failures. When it comes to removing pedophiles from the priesthood, the Vatican is moving more assertively and swiftly than before. But as Mr. Wesolowski’s case suggests, the church continues to be reluctant to report people suspected of abuse to the local authorities and allow them to face justice in secular courts.

The Vatican says that because Mr. Wesolowski was a member of its diplomatic corps and a citizen of the Holy See, the case would be handled in Rome. But even many faithful Catholics in this nation, home to the oldest Catholic cathedral in the Americas, say they are unsettled that a Vatican official could have been using children for sex, yet was not arrested and tried in their own country.

“From the pure standpoint of justice, he should be tried in the country where the acts took place because the conditions for trying him will not be the same elsewhere,” said Antonio Medina Calcaño, dean of the faculty of law and political science of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. “But all we can do is hope that the courts in the Vatican will treat this with the severity that it really deserves.”

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, did not say when the Wesolowski trial will start, who is representing the former nuncio, or whether he is at liberty while he awaits trial. Under Vatican law, sexual abuse charges can bring a maximum of 12 years in prison and a fine of nearly $200,000.

A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in a Twitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”

A Man Known as ‘The Italian’

The waterfront promenade in the Dominican capital is dominated by a 50-foot monument to the 16th-century Spanish friar Antonio de Montesinos, dressed in robes and preaching the fiery sermon that made him famous: denouncing the slavery and abuse of the indigenous people by their Spanish colonists.

It was at the heel of this colossus, on the deserted upper plaza in the shadow of the friar’s robes, Mr. Aquino said, that he was often molested by the man he knew as “the Italian.” The man always chose a bench that would allow him to see the rare visitor coming up the staircase, and would watch the boy masturbate, would touch him or would touch himself, said Mr. Aquino, now 17. Other times, they went to the rocky beach below the statue.

Mr. Aquino, whose family is originally from Haiti, left school in the eighth grade, earning $1.50 on a typical weekday by shining shoes. But he said that the man gave him more than $10 the first time they met, in 2010, to shine his shoes and to swim naked in the ocean while Mr. Wesolowski watched.

The man returned often over the next six weeks, Mr. Aquino said. But gradually the man wanted more, giving him from about $25 to as much as $135, as well as sneakers and a watch, for sexual acts. They met on and off over three years, Mr. Aquino said, but the man revealed little more than his first name, which he gave as “Josie.”

There is a mix of shame and anger among the shoeshine boys who say they knew the man. Darwin Quervedo, who is 14, said haltingly, with eyes downcast, that when he was 11, the man gave him more than $25 to watch him masturbate down by the beach. He said he felt scared, and never did it again.

When he learned much later of the man’s identity, Darwin said he thought to himself, “What kind of a man who is a priest does things like this?”

The promenade is a popular stretch for tourists and joggers. But it is also frequented by those seeking children and young men for sex. With all this activity, Mr. Wesolowski, in his track suit and running shoes, did not at first attract inordinate attention. He also chose his victims carefully, the shoe shiners said.

“He wasn’t interested in me,” said Robin Quello Cintrón, 23. “He said I was too old, that he liked the younger ones.”

“I warned the younger kids, ‘Don’t go with him,’ ” said Mr. Cintrón, adding, “But the money tempted them.”

Curbing child sexual exploitation is a pressing issue in the Dominican Republic and many countries, and the Catholic Church is among the many religious institutions that have taken up the cause.

In March, Pope Francis signed onto a campaign with other global religious leaders to fight all forms of human slavery, including child prostitution. This month, he sent a message for the opening of a refuge in Argentina for young victims of sexual exploitation.

Still, two United Nations panels in Geneva examining the church’s record on child sexual abuse questioned the Vatican this year about its handling of the Wesolowski case.

Mr. Wesolowski, 66, was ordained at 23 in Krakow by Archbishop Karol Józef Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1999, he was appointed papal nuncio to Bolivia, and in 2002, he was reassigned to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

In 2008, he was sent to the Dominican Republic. Mr. Wesolowski served as a ceremonial dean of the international diplomatic corps here, convening an annual party in honor of the country’s president. The posting came with a stately residence and access to a beach house.

On the waterfront, Mr. Wesolowski attempted to disguise his rank, the boys say. He drove a small gray-green Suzuki sport utility vehicle with rosary beads hanging from the rearview mirror, they recalled, and parked it near the monument in the colonial zone, where several streets are named for archbishops.

One day last year, Nuria Piera, a prominent television journalist, received a tip that the papal nuncio drank beer many afternoons at a waterfront restaurant, then went off with young boys.

Ms. Piera sent a video crew to surreptitiously film the nuncio, she said in an interview at CDN, where she is general director. The crew shot some video of Mr. Wesolowski drinking alone and walking the promenade, Ms. Piera said, but he noticed their presence (though not the camera), walked over, smacked his hand against their car and asked why they were following him.

After that, Ms. Piera said, he disappeared from the waterfront. Her tipster never saw him there again.

“I suspected that there may have been a leak from our own office,” Ms. Piera said.

Mr. Wesolowski began sending a young Dominican church deacon to procure children for him, law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic say.

The deacon, Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, was arrested by the police on June 24, 2013, accused of solicitation of minors and taken to jail. But no one came to bail him out, and the deacon sent an anguished letter dated July 2 to Mr. Wesolowski, to be delivered to him by hand at his office.

“We have offended God” and the church, the letter said, by sexually abusing children and adolescents “for crumbs of money.” The deacon wrote that he had agreed to find child victims for the nuncio so that “your sexual appetite can be satiated,” but that he was now asking God for forgiveness.

“Hopefully you will consider asking for God to help you to walk away from this evil disease of continuing to sexually abuse innocent children,” the letter said, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times from a Dominican Justice Ministry official.

The deacon sent copies of the letter to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, the head of the church in the Dominican Republic, and to a Dominican bishop, Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez. The cardinal then carried the evidence to the Vatican, where he met directly with Pope Francis, according to interviews with the Dominican authorities. On Aug. 21 last year, Mr. Wesolowski was secretly recalled to Rome.

Six days later, the cardinal called the papal nuncio “a great friend and promoter of peace.”

Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say. Vatican guidelines say that criminal sexual abuse accusations should be reported in countries where reporting is required.

The country’s attorney general, Francisco Domínguez Brito, and the district attorney of Santo Domingo, Yeni Berenice Reynoso Gómez, both said in interviews that they first learned about the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski from Ms. Piera’s television reports, which were broadcast in early September and included a child asserting that he had been abused.

Soon after, church officials here told local news media that Mr. Wesolowski had been recalled because of the allegations against him, prompting Cardinal Rodriguez to confirm that he had gone to the Vatican to address the matter. He and other church officials denied requests for an interview.

‘The Most Terrible Case’

The district attorney, Ms. Reynoso, said her investigators had identified four children aged 12 to 17 with whom the nuncio had sexual contact, but that there were likely others.

The 17-year-old had epilepsy, and the nuncio gave him medicine for his condition in exchange for sexual acts, starting from when the boy was 13, the district attorney said. She said she had “no doubt” about the credibility of the youths’ testimony, because it was corroborated by other evidence.

“This is the most terrible case that I have ever seen,” said Ms. Reynoso. “He was abusing kids who were living in extreme poverty, in exchange for pills for a boy’s illness. It’s very perverse.”

The Vatican sent someone to the Dominican Republic last October to look into the case, but they made no contact with the district attorney or anyone in her office, Ms. Reynoso said. She forwarded her report to the country’s attorney general, who forwarded it to the Vatican.

Ms. Reynoso said the case should have been prosecuted in the Dominican Republic. “These children who were abused, and their families, and the Dominican society, have a legitimate right to see Jozef Wesolowski judged by a jury — not as a diplomat, but for what he really is,” she said. “A child abuser.”

Mr. Brito, the attorney general, said he trusted that the Vatican would apply the “appropriate discipline.” He said he did not seek to have Mr. Wesolowski extradited because he has diplomatic immunity, and “the law would not allow it.”

According to experts in international law, the Vatican could have waived diplomatic immunity. In Santo Domingo, there have been small protests and petitions signed by more than a thousand people calling on the Vatican to extradite Mr. Wesolowski to the Dominican Republic. Advocates have accused the government of acquiescing to the church. “We think there has been a lot of impunity in this case, and no transparency,” said Sergia Galván, executive director of the Women and Health Collective, which represents abuse victims. “If he’s no longer a diplomat, if he was stripped of that title, he no longer has immunity.”

The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship. Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house.

There are indications from Rome that the pope himself is concerned about the Wesolowski case. A Dominican bishop, Fausto Ramón Mejía, said in an interview that when he was part of a delegation visiting the Vatican late last year, Pope Francis’ smile vanished on hearing what country he was from.

“He became very serious,” said Bishop Mejía. “He stopped and he said to me, very sincerely, ‘I feel as though my heart was crossed by a dagger from what took place in the Dominican Republic.’ ”

The case has shaken this stalwart Catholic nation, but the church has said little. In one group photograph released by the Dominican bishops, Mr. Wesolowski’s face appeared to have been removed from the picture.

“The people used to say, ‘I want my child to go to a Catholic church,’ ” said the Rev. Rogelio Cruz, a Catholic priest here. “Now they say, ‘No child of mine is ever going to a Catholic church.’ ”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/americas/whisked-away-vatican-ambassador-accused-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad#

UPDATE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/26/us-pope-abuse-diplomat-idUSKBN0GQ0CJ20140826

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 02:32 PM

Friday, August 22, 2014

Panorama

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 11:45 AM

Friday, August 22, 2014

Banned

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic government commission that oversees public performances is banning a Sept. 13 concert by Miley Cyrus on morality grounds.

The commission said in a statement Thursday that it took the action because Cyrus often "undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law."

Tickets ranging from $27 to $370 for the concert in the capital have been on sale since July.

Some critics have declared Cyrus' onstage antics, including twerking and crotch-grabbing, as vulgar.

A representative for Cyrus did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Concert organizers in the Dominican Republic did not comment on the ban.

The commission in the past has banned songs it considers vulgar from the airwaves, including some by Calle 13 of Puerto Rico.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Dominican-Republic-bans-Miley-Cyrus-concert-5704375.php

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 08:55 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bohemia


A little bohemian oasis located on a side-street in the colonial that makes shoes. But just as known for the best Margarita's I've had in a long time. This is the kind of place where creative people (namely artists) get together. The kind of place we need more of in the zone.
La Alpargatería
Salomé Ureña #59
Zona Colonial
https://www.facebook.com/lalpargateria

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 11:53 PM

Monday, August 18, 2014

North

These shots are from Paul Culver. Taken in Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic. Rio San Juan is a sleepy little town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Known for beautiful secluded beaches, along with beautiful homes to rent on the ocean. And, if you should find yourself in Rio San Juan. A nice place to stay is a house that has been turned into a bed & breakfast: Villa Le Cap.

On Playa Preciosa, near Playa Grande resort.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 01:54 AM

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Hostel

A new business has opened in the colonial zone. Nothing unusual about that. What is unusual is that he has a blog where he documents the journey. And boy, what a journey it was. To see what it looks like now, and to compare it to the before photos. All I can say is, wow. One of the best parts of the blog are the sections where he talks about the approvals process with the local goverment agency that handles any changes you want to make to buildings in the colonial zone. It took eight months to get approval for his plans, on something that should've taken two weeks, at the most. And it ONLY took eight months because of his persistence. Go to the website to get more information about the new business: http://www.islandlifebackpackershostel.com. And share the journey on his blog: http://anewadventuredr.blogspot.com.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 10:57 AM

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Storm

Tropical Strom Bertha is making its way through the Mona Passage (between D.R. & P.R.). The sun is still shining, but the satellite doesn't lie. A storm is a comin'. I just hope the lights don't go out. The lights in the colonial zone used to be great, and not go out often. And now, a few days ago, the lights went out for 36 hours. The Hotel Frances didn't have lights for 8 hours yesterday. And everyone is complaining. In any case, I have a Golden Girls marathon to keep me busy.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 03:17 PM

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weather

A potential storm is brewing off the coast of Africa. It has been a quiet hurricane season, thus far. But this is usually the time when things pick up a bit. Usually, I am not interested in storms coming close. But honestly, we need one desperately. There is a severe drought in the country. And, there are some worrying wildfires in the mountains because of the dry conditions. A nice storm with not too much wind would solve those problems. We'll know in a couple of days.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 03:21 AM

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday, Sunday

Guayacanes

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 07:27 PM

Friday, July 25, 2014

Party

The summer doldrums are here. And I have been here, there, and everywhere. If you are in NYC on Sunday, Ernest Montgomery, is having a book-signing for his new masterpiece, Dominicanos by Ernest Montgomery.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 07:42 PM

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dominicanos by Ernest Montgomery

Great spread in today's Hoy newspaper. All about Dominicanos by Ernest Montgomery. It is selling very well. Have you gotten your copy? I can get it signed with a personal message for you! A big shoutout to the writer, C. Reyes (such a sweet guy)!!!

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 10:21 AM

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Bodybuilding

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 08:20 PM

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Hump Day

Hump Day.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 11:51 AM

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Immigrants

rSomeone sent me this post from Facebook. It is from a Dominican immigrant talking about her experience living in the U.S.A., as opposed to the D.R. And of course, you can only imagine the negative "go back to your country" comments. She was just giving her opinion. What got me thinking about this, is that I know many good people here who would gladly trade places with her.

Source

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 10:22 PM

Monday, July 07, 2014

Hard Rock Cafe

It seems I'm late to this news. But I was passing by the Hard Rock Cafe the other day, and noticed it looked different. Then I read the notices on the door. It has closed and is moving (or has moved) to the Blue Mall. I think this is another nail in the coffin to the colonial zone.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 01:33 PM

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Day @ the Beach

Had a nice enjoyable day in Boca Chica. Well, except for saying hundred of times, no. At lease the weather was beautiful. 

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 06:15 PM

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Protests

The Evangelicals are protesting in front of congress today. Too much gayness for their nerves. Specifically, they don't think gay pride celebrations should be allowed. And don't get them started on the U.S. Ambassador.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 01:25 PM

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Hot

Last winter, the weather was so beautiful I knew we would pay for it with a hot summer. It is just sooo damn humid. And several months to go.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 11:50 AM

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beach

Sunday is a big beach day in the D.R. So, it was nice to be able to spend a beautiful Sunday, away from the maddeining crowd. I just LOVE Guayacanes.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 09:20 PM

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hotels


I was passing the Ocean Breeze Hotel, and saw that it was freshly painted. And they were installing lights outside the building. Upon further digging, I found out that the old owners sold the place. And the new owners are now fixing up all the rooms. Will find out more information, but can't find any website information online. I spoke with someone who told me the prices are $35/$40 - $55 per night. I will stop by and see what more I can find out.

There are two other hotels that are open and opening. The J.W. Marriott & the Embassy Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 04:21 PM

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mr. Dominican Republic 2014

Last week, the finals of the Mr. Dominican Republic Pageant was held. Below is the representative from San Cristobal. He should have been the winner, in my opinion. Click here to see more photos from the competition.

POSTED BY MONAGA AT 05:46 PM

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About Me

Monaga

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Former New Yorker (Harlem!) living in Santo Domingo since January 2004. The person I was when I arrived is a totally different person today. I still love living in the D.R. Even with all its obvious contradictions. This blog is where I write about things I find interesting with the gay community, news, gossip, culture, and of course, men. Strictly from my point-of-view.


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