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Daily News - 23 March 1998

Cristina show is a farce
Her mentor was Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary publisher of Cosmopolitan magazine. After migrating to the United States at the age of 12, Cristina Saralegui went on to a career in publishing as the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine's Spanish language version. After 10 years as editor of the magazine, Cristina Saralegui was ready to create her own talk show. Her program, "El Show de Cristina" is transmitted by Univisión to an audience estimated at 100 million all around the world. She is the Spanish language TV Oprah Winfrey.
Recently, her show, which is very popular in the Dominican Republic, has been the center of controversy for the continuous presenting of entertaining albeit demeaning Dominican characters as talk show guests. The programs have been said to denigrate Dominicans. The Dominican community in New York protested, and the Dominican press has given ample coverage to the controversy.
On Saturday, 21 March, whom could be Cristina's Dominican counterpart, blond and lovely Nuria Piera, best known for her incisive interviews and investigative reporting on "Nuria en el 9", disclosed that the Cristina show is a farce. Apparently the producers of the show have discovered in the Dominican people great stage talent and have been recruiting normal Dominican people for the shows.
On her Saturday evening show, Nuria presented four cases where the talk show guests were not whom they said they were on the show. One talk show guest who had complained of his wife's infidelity was in real life not married. Another who had protested that his daughter was marrying a black man was not really the father of the girl nor was he even married. Another young girl who is black played the character of a Dominican who said that blacks should marry blacks and whites should marry whites. In real life she told Nuria she would prefer to marry someone who is lighter skinned than she is. Nuria also revealed that the woman who said that her daughter was making love to her husband was in real life the mother of the man who was supposedly her husband.
The talk show guests said that they accepted to do the fake dramas because they were paid all expenses at deluxe hotels in Miami and chauffeured around in limousines for a weekend. One woman who went with her entire family of eight said that it was an opportunity they never could have had to travel as a family and vacation in Miami.
Several of those interviewed said they followed scripts and then added some spice, as per instructions, which made for the programs that have high ratings.
The Cristina show is shown here at 5 pm on Channel 5, a station that was supposedly "given" to its owner after the later was very supportive of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) in the past presidential campaign. Channel 5 was frequently operated by the state television station in the past. The governments television regulating organization has requested that the station change the time the show is televised to a later evening slot. The station has not complied.
Yaqui Núñez del Risco, president of the leading local TV producers association, called the producers of the show "unethical" for capitalizing on the morbidness of the audience.
It is yet to be seen if it is legal in the United States to present on television theater acts as real cases. Last week, Cristina's husband, Marcos Avila told the Listín Diario that the stories were real and that the persons approached the station with their stories. "If we paid for invented stories and this was proven then we could be penalized by the regulating organization of the United States," Avila told the Listín Diario.
Cristina Saralegui is about to launch her autobiography on Tuesday, 24 March in New York.

Tragic end to trip to Puerto Rico
A ship with 65 boat people on board capsized on Sunday, and the Navy says they have not been able to rescue more than 40 people. Of the 65 on board, 25 people were rescued near Saona Island along the East Coast of the Dominican Republic. Rescuers said 12 corpses, including 11 women, were recovered from the turbulent Caribbean Sea on Sunday.

German couple drowns in excursion
A German couple drowned in East Coast waters when their boat capsized. The tragedy occurred around noon time yesterday. The Germans were on an excursion with 19 other tourists. The corpses of Alfonzo Muller, 48 years, and Eliselot Muller, 44 years, were recovered by a fisherman who happened to be in the area, according to the Listín Diario. The newspaper reported that the group was on board a fragile 32-foot fiberglass boat that capsized near Bayahibe beach when turning. The group of tourists were staying at a resort in Puerto Plata.

Famous authors and editors coming for book fair
Renown Spanish-language book authors, Antonio Gala (La Pasión Turca), Abel Posse (Los Perros del Paraiso); Almudena Grandes (Las Edades de Lulú), Jorge Castaneda (La Utopia Desarmada), Augusto Roa Bastos (El Fiscal); Sergio Ramírez (Alfaguara) among others, have confirmed their participation in the International Book Fair that is being organized as part of the Dominican Book Fair that will open in Santo Domingo on 23 April. Some 80 publishing houses from 20 countries have also confirmed their participation.

Cuban ballplayers alive in Bahamas
The Cuban ballplayers that the press had falsely reported were in the Dominican Republic are safe in the Bahamas. Bahamian immigration officials confirmed that a fishing crew rescued the four baseball players and their coach in Bahamas waters, along with five other Cubans. The players had fled Cuba on March 10. If the Cubans had landed in the Dominican Republic, the Dominican government would be in a predicament as it has an agreement with the Cuban government to repatriate all illegal immigrants.

Corporán to produce city government positions for PRSC
According to political news radio commentators Alfredo Freites and Ramón Colombo, the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) chose well known TV producer Rafael Corporán de los Santos, a former mayor, as candidate to mayor for the PRSC not because of his chance of winning the election, but because the party feels he can reap in sufficient votes to ensure the PRSC many aldermen seats in the municipality. Party leader and former long-time President of the Republic, Dr. Joaquín Balaguer in a public presentation at the party seat on Av. Tiradentes on Sunday urged party members to offer full support to the candidacy of Corporán de los Santos, his choice for candidate to mayor for Santo Domingo.

Balaguer is left alone with his men
Key party members, including Jacinto Peynado, Carlos Morales Troncoso and Federico Antún Batlle did not accompany former President Joaquín Balaguer, the undisputed leader of the PRSC at the presentation of party candidates Rafael Corporán de los Santos (running for mayor of Santo Domingo) and Alexis Joaquín Castillo (candidate to senator of Santo Domingo) held on Sunday 22 March at the Partido Reformista Av. Tiradentes headquarters.
Only shortly before the event took place, a large crowd of party members protested at the Casa de Teatro's auditorium that Balaguer had overridden the results of the primaries organized by the party. Several disgusted party leaders said they would not support another party, but neither would they vote for the candidates chosen by Balaguer. The long-time politician, nonagenarian Balaguer defended his choice saying that the primaries were the most democratic way of choosing the candidates. He said that the other option was to do as the statutes of the party provide: that the bases choose 40% and the leadership of the party the remaining 60%. Miguel Sanz Jiminián, who won the primary to elect the mayor of Santo Domingo, was chosen as first selection for deputy of the party.

Vice President says Peña is running for President
Vice President Jaime David Fernández criticized the political campaign carried out by Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, candidate for mayor of Santo Domingo on the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) ticket. He said that instead of focusing on national issues, as if he were running for president, Peña should concentrate on telling Santo Domingo city voters what he will do for the city if he is elected mayor. "He is speaking as if he were running for president, not as a candidate to mayor of the capital city," said Vice President Fernández. Peña Gómez, a former mayor of Santo Domingo, was presidential candidate for the PRD in the 1996 presidential election. He was the candidate who won the most votes in the first round. He lost the election when the PRSC allied with the PLD in the second round. At the present time, the Gallup poll shows he is the most likely to become the next mayor of Santo Domingo. Against him is that he suffers from cancer.

Dominican consul leaves for Cuba
The new Dominican Republic consul for Cuba left on Sunday, 22 March for Cuba. Deputy Minister Minou Tavárez Mirabal, in charge of Cuban affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, said that the Dominican consulate in Cuba will open early in April. Grecia Fiordaliza Pichardo is the appointed consul. She is recognized for her successful work as consul in Montreal, Canada. After 38 years of interrupted diplomatic relations, Cuba opened its consulate in Santo Domingo this year. The Dominican Republic is reciprocating with the opening of the Dominican consulate in La Havana. Trade is increasing between both countries.

State university to reopen on Monday, 23 March
The office employees of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) accepted an offer for an 8% salary increase, and returned to work after 42 days of strike. The strike is estimated to have cost the state university upwards of RD$80 million. The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) mediated to end the strike. The union has many members that are PRD militants. The union aspired to a 20% increase in salary. The strike impeded the start of classes at the university. The state university spends RD$44.1 million on salaries. This sum will now increase to RD$47.6 million, or 83.22% of the RD$57.2 million monthly government assignation to the state university.

New non-stop air connection to Cuba
TACA, the El Salvador airline, announced the start of its direct flight from Santo Domingo to La Havana on 1 April. TACA will fly non-stop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday using modern Boeing 737s and promises first class service. The airline is strong competition to Cubana de Aviación, which flies to Cuba twice a week using Russian-made airplanes and making stopovers in Santiago de Cuba. TACA's offices are at Calle José Amado Soler corner Avenida Abraham Lincoln, Edificio Progressus, Apt. 3C, Tel. 566-6065. Their web site is http://www.grupotaca.com
The TACA flight will depart from Santo Domingo at 11 pm, arriving to La Havana at 1:10 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It will depart La Havana at 7 am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Santo Domingo at 9 am.

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