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Dominican Republic: Solving the Issue of Power Outages

Every August 16 in the Dominican Republic, as is customary on the date when a government completes another year in power, President Leonel Fernández introduces changes in his cabinet. The majority of these changes were not major this year, but one exception brought about varied reactions. The executive vice-president of the Dominican Corporation of State Electric Companies [es] (CDEEE for its initials in Spanish), Engineer Radhamés Segura was replaced by a well-known figure in the private sector, businessman Celso Marranzini. In the blog Duarte 101 [es], Joan Guerrero writes about the new member:

Celso llegó. Como un invitado inesperado, dejó reacciones en todos los medios con su nueva posición, adjudicada por el presidente Fernández.

Celso has arrived. Like an unexpected guest, he caused reactions in all of the media about his new position, placed there by President Fernández.

Power outages are a daily reality across the Dominican Republic, and is often said to be one of the main obstacles in its development plans. In addition, the government has also been providing large subsidies in the energy sector. These blackouts have been occurring for more than 40 years, and there have been all kinds of attempts to resolve the situation. To date, none of these attempts have been successful. Many people are left wondering whether the naming of Marranzini will change things for the better.

Photo by Señor Adventure and used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Señor Adventure and used under a Creative Commons license.

Many believe that there was little doubt that Segura would be out when the time came for Fernández to announce the changes in his cabinet. Based on the fact that the rate per kilowatt for electric power remains one of the highest in the region and the allegations of corruption and nepotism, Segura's days were numbered. When the change did happen, few expected for Segura to be substituted by one of his biggest critics, Marranzini, who in recent weeks made a series of statements on behalf of the private sector that blamed the poor administration and incapacity by Segura's team in solving the blackouts once and for all.

For some, this move from the President had a double purpose: 1.) increase the credibility of the government, who was seriously affected by the accusations towards Segura and 2) silence the criticism from the private sector to the government, especially in regards to energy. Luis José of Ahí e’ que Prende [es] take a look at the naming:

¿Qué significa que Leonel haya puesto a Celso Marranzini en la CDEEE? Esa fue una jugada con mala fe, con la que se lava las manos y le echa el muerto de la energía a quien más la ha criticado: al sector privado.

Colocar a un empresario famoso, que tiene la buena fe de la mayoría de los sectores, obliga al sector privado a calmarse y a callarse la boca, porque ahora cuando critiquen los apagones no están criticando exclusivamente un funcionario cualquiera, sino que están criticando a don Celso Marranzini, una persona con una trayectoria envidiable que le hace merecer el respeto de muchos.

El lío lo va a tener ahora Celso Marranzini, quien después de criticar tanto a Segura y haberle tirado tan duro al Gobierno, va a tener que hacer una buena gestión si no quiere que lo crucifiquen.

What does it mean to place Celso Marranzini as the head of the CDEEE? It was a play in bad faith, with one where (the government) washes its hands and gives the dead issue of energy to the one that criticized it the most: the private sector.

Placing a famous businessman, who has the good faith from the majority of the sectors, forces the private sector to calm down and shut its mouth, because now, when they criticize the blackouts they are not exclusively criticizing any public official, but they are now criticizing Don Celso Marranzin, a person with a enviable career who receives the respect from many.

The tough part is now Celso Marranzini, who after criticizing Segura so much and was very harsh against the government, will now need to have a good administration so that they do not crucify him.

Marranzini's reputation among the general public is mixed yet some are hoping that he can solve the energy issue. However, others are skeptical and criticize how he took over the position. Rafael Pérez of Duarte 101 [es], introduces the “Celso Method” on how to hold a public position: intensely criticize a public official – preferably with reason – until the President grows tired of it, removes the criticized official, and places the critic in his place. Marino, a reader of Ahí e’ que Prende [es] goes a step further:

Ahora, Una sola pregunta, supuestamente ya sabemos quien es el Ing. Radhames Segura, ahora… quien Conoce al LADRONAZO de Celso Marranzini, que vendia energia con su distribuidora ILEGAL, a una suma de 200% mas cara que lo que el la Compraba… y ahora es el Titular de la institucion que el y su grupo de empresarios tiene QUEBRADO… que carajazo va resolver ese tigre.

Now, just one question, supposedly we already know who is the Engineer Radhames Segura, now, who knows the THIEF, Celso Marranzini, who sold energy with his ILLEGAL distribution company at a price of 200% more expensive than at which he bought it… and now is the Head of the institution that he and his business group have BANKRUPTED … what will able to solve that tiger (Marranzini.)

Upon being removed from the CDEEE, President Fernández named Segura as an governmental adviser in the field of energy. However, he declined the position and publicly announced that he will dedicate himself to cleaning up his public image.

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