Dominican environmentalists battle Spanish mogul
A previous clearing at Cotubanama'
Santo Domingo.- This week Juan José Hidalgo (Pepe Hidalgo), president of Globalia and owner of the Leaf Bayahibe hotel project, began clearing the forest in plot 24-A within the Guaraguao-Punta Catuano protected area, classified as Recreation Area, according to the Sectoral Law of Protected Areas of 2004.
The protected area borders Cotubanamá National Park and both were part of the former Parque del Este.
Hidalgo in an audio published by a national media on January 22, attacks Dominican environmentalists for denouncing the alleged illegality of the project they claim violates Law 64-00 on Environment and Natural Resources.
Hidalgo says he has an Environment Ministry certificate that his property is outside the protected area and a decree from president Hipólito Mejía authorizing his hotel project, despite the land’s status as an impact zone.
Newspaper Hoy on February 11, 2004, reported that the missive sent to Hidalgo was published on January 14, 2004, by the then president Hipólito Mejía, granted permission for the construction of the Grand Palace Bayahibe Beach Resort.
A few days later, on January 23, through official letter number 61, addressed to Gen. Luis Rodriguez Florimón, who was ordered to protect the Spanish mogul to take possession of plot 24-A.