George, who ran Bar Friends, has died. There are many rumors swirling, but nothing definitive as yet. I'm trying to get in touch with Joe Green to get some confirmed information. Will the bar continue? Who will run it? When is the funeral? Etc. That's all I know right now. As I get more information I will pass it on.
Is this a video of a thwarted robbery in progress? The driver of this S.U.V. was "being arrested" by these gentleman, who supposedly had a warrant for his arrest. Fortunately, it was caught on tape and police officers called. Then it was reveleaed that the men trying to "arrest" the driver are actually members of the national police. A full investigation has been promised. Uh huh. Very scary.
Recently, I have been hearing about people who visit that are getting great deals by purchasing the hotel and airfare together. Many of the hotels I had not visited in years. One such place is the Palacio. Someone I know wanted to come down for a quick jaunt, and purchased the package, which included the Palacio. I thought he had made a mistake, until I went to visit. The hotel has been freshened up nicely. They allow guests, as long as they have valid i.d., with no problem. And the room was very nice and comfortable. My friend was very happy. Below, is a video of the luxury hotel in the colonial zone, Billini Hotel.
Went this morning to La Casa Rosada, the AIDS orphanage. There is a rep. from an organization visiting from the U.S. who wanted to find out what type of donations they needed. This is a great organization and they encourage visitors to come and see their facilities. I have seen how they have greatly expanded over the years. They now have 29 kids, and have the capacity for 50. They don't need any medicines. Their greatest needs are food, pampers and clothes. I am enclosing their information. You can contact them directly, if you like. They also graciously accept donations of food and money. If you ever visit Santo Domingo, and have the time, stop by and see what these amazing people are doing for vulnerable children.
La Casa Rosada Av. Prol. Venezuela, C/ Isabel Aguero "Loly" #1 Los Tres Brazos, Domingo Este, República Dominicana 809-388-2250
If you like to make a monetary donation: Banco Popular en Dominican pesos: #700-502842-5 (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) Banco Popular in U.S. dollars: #455-17461-5 Código: SWIFT BPDODOSXXX (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) Banco Popular in euros: #712382696 Código: SWIFT BPDODOSXXX (name: Sister Maria Carmen Veiga) And they also accept donations by PayPal. Click here and scroll to the bottom and click on the PayPal link.
Lulu's Tasting Bar, located in the colonial zone that has specials on Tuesday. Actuall, they have specials everyday (pay with American Express and get 50% off from 6 - 8 p.m.). On Tuesday's, they have a all-you-can-eat special for RD$800 pesos (about $18 dollars). Very good food and service. And great cocktails, along with a wine store next door.
The gay U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic has sharply criticized comments the country’s tourism minister made against LGBT tourists.
El Caribe, a Dominican newspaper, reported James “Wally” Brewster during an interview on Tuesday “deplored” what the publication described as Tourism Minister Francisco García’s assertion that the country “is not interested in exploiting the potential of the said market.”
“When the official that is the head, the boss of the Dominican government, says that he does not want a certain group of people, it puts us in a difficult situation in terms of supporting tourist activity in this country,” Brewster told El Caribe.
A source in the Dominican Republic told the Washington Blade that García made them on Tuesday in a statement he released.
EFE, a Spanish news agency, on Wednesday reported that García criticized Brewster’s comments.
“We very much regret these declarations of Ambassador Brewster, someone who we respect,” said García, according to EFE. “Nobody can accuse us of discriminating against any tourist group.”
The Dominican Ministry of Tourism did not immediately return the Blade’s request for comment.
García’s comments come less than a month after the Blade reported that a Dominican advocacy group is working with government officials and travel industry representatives on a campaign designed to promote LGBT tourism and gay rights in the Caribbean country.
Last Saturday, I noticed a lot of people gathered on the street. Didn't know what all the commotion was, until this morning. An American, 67 years of age, was caught with a 17-year old in his apartment. Seems his neighbors had been suspicious for some time with all the underage visitors he was having. His apartment was raided and his computer seized, and allegedly it was found to contain many images of underage boys. Lived a block away from me and I don't think I have ever seen him before. You never know what your neighbors are doing behind closed doors.
The president, Danilo Medina, toured the colonial zone yesterday. He came to check on the progress of the work, and meet with leaders about the problems plaguing this area. I like him. He has made some great strides. I hope he can do something to get things together here. Please.
EXCLUSIVE: Dominican advocates, officials to launch LGBT tourism campaign
A Dominican advocacy group is working with government officials and travel industry representatives on a campaign designed to promote LGBT tourism and gay rights in the Caribbean country.
Members of the Center for Integrated Training and Research, a Dominican advocacy group known by the Spanish acronym COIN that has fought the AIDS epidemic in the country and throughout the Caribbean for more than two decades, on Monday will meet with representatives of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Police at the JW Marriott Hotel in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital. Representatives from the country’s travel industry and a staffer from Human Rights First, a Washington-based human rights advocacy group, have also been invited alongside members of the media.
Bob Satawake, the husband of gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the meeting.
Charlie Rounds of Out Think Partners, a California-based group that seeks to promote LGBT tourism by working with corporations and non-profit advocacy groups, met with representatives of the Dominican tourism sector in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Samaná in the days leading up to the meeting.
John Waters, medical director of the Center for Integrated Training and Research, told the Washington Blade last week during a Skype interview from the Jamaican capital of Kingston that the official launch of the campaign will take place in May.
“One of the purposes of this project is to see the value added that community groups can bring to the tourism project,” he said. “[It] also [seeks] to explore ways in which the tourism and travel sector can actually support the work of civil society and the LGBT community more specifically.”
Was in the park on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And saw all of these people changing into white t-shirts. They were there to help a friend to propose. And just as their friend proposes, a militray band starts playing. I don't know if they were a part of the surprise. They could've been there because tomorrow is Juan Pablo Duarte Day, another holiday.
I got an email saying that people were making reservations at the Hotel Roma II, and when they arrived they were charged 18% tax. I sent an email to the hotel and received a reply stating yes, they now charge the 18% tax. Make sure to add 18% tax to the advertised prices. And check with other hotels when making reservations to confirm whether the tax is added into the price quote.
President Obama's administration said this morning that the new set of U.S.-Cuba travel regulations, first announced last month as part of a return to normal diplomatic relations with the island nation, will take effect on Friday. As part of those changes, it will be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba than is has been for more than 50 years. But it won't be as simple as booking a flight. Here's a quick rundown of who exactly will be able to visit Cuba, and under what circumstances:
For starters, these changes will not allow official tourist travel to Cuba. Senior administration officials clarified in a conference call this morning that the new regulations "are not meant to facilitate tourist travel to Cuba, as tourist travel remains prohibited by statute." In other words, headlines that have run rampant in recent weeks telling Americans that they can now travel to Cuba are overstated, or, at the very least, misleading.
But the changes set to take effect tomorrow will make it easier for those hoping to visit Cuba to do so. Americans who wish to travel to Cuba will have to meet one of 12 different criteria for authorized travel, as they have in the past. Those categories include family visits, official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions.
"It's a violation of U.S. law to disregard travel categories," a senior administration official said. "Penalties can be imposed for violations of any of the terms. This is something that we will continue to highlight as part of the process."
But—and this is a huge but—prospective travelers will no longer have to obtain a specialized license from the government, which seems to pave the way for a future in which leisure travel is more common, if not completely legal. As part of the updated regulations, those hoping to travel to Havana will only need a general license, which they can declare as individuals. In practice, this will effectively mean that people can claim they are traveling under one of the dozen approved categories, and then book a flight. Airlines and travel agents will no longer need specialized licenses to provide service to Cuba.
"A general license is not a physical piece of paper, like the specialized license is—it's basically a presumption that you fit one of those categories," said Julia Sweig, a longtime expert and author on Cuba. "It's like the government is giving citizens the benefit of the doubt from now on."
Senior administration officials admitted that a future in which Americans can purchase tickets to Cuba online is approaching. "I can foresee that over time it is possible under these changes that we could have regularly scheduled air travel and then you as a traveler could get online to buy a ticket," a senior administration official said. People will still need to fall within one of the twelve existing categories, but they might be able to do so simply by checking a box while booking a ticket.
In the past, Americans have circumvented travel bans by traveling through third party countries, like Canada and Mexico. In 2012, an estimated 98,000 people visited Cuba, a number which doesn't include the roughly 35,000 Cuban Americans who also made the trip that year. In the future, circumvented travel restrictions might not require such involved maneuvers—especially if those travel restrictions continue to soften, or even fade away entirely, as some experts predict.
"In my view, this is pretty much the end of the travel ban as much as they can make at the moment," said Sweig. "The next thing they're going to do is negotiate a civil aviation agreement so charters can carry more people. And once you have more Americans going to Cuba without the sort of bureaucratic hassle there has been in the past, that's going to create a real impetus for officially lifting the travel ban once and for all."
Friday will mark the third time the Obama administration has loosened U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. In 2009, the president made it easier to Cuban Americans to visit family. In 2011, the administration made it easier for Americans to travel to the island country for educational, religious, and cultural purposes.
Yesterday was a holiday, Three Kings Day. It is actually today. But the government changes the dates for holiday's if they are close to the weekend to give everyone a long weekend. It was breezy and beautiful. Went to Plaza Espana last night and the place was packed.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Same-sex marriage is banned in the Dominican Republic, but a man and his partner have exchanged vows in the first ceremony of its kind performed at the British embassy in the conservative Caribbean country.
The embassy tweeted on Tuesday that the Dominican government respected its right to perform the ceremony under the Vienna Convention and that the British government has recognized the marriage.
Embassy officials said they have advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that additional ceremonies would be performed.
The couple was not identified, with the embassy saying only that it is a Dominican and a British man. Embassy officials tweeted a picture of the ceremony that showed only the hands of one man placing a wedding ring on the other.
The United Kingdom announced in June that same-sex couple could marry at British consulates in 25 countries, including the Dominican Republic. It is the only Caribbean country on that list.
The U.K. parliament approved same-sex marriages in July 2013, and the law went into effect March of this year.
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.