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Daily News - 08 May 1998

Revolution in wireless communications here
Codetel, the Dominican Republic's largest telephone company, announced plans to invest approximately $40 million over the next five years in new digital Personal Communication Services (PCS), strengthening its existing Latin American market presence and revolutionizing the Dominican Republic's wireless communications industry. Codetel (Compañía Dominicana de Teléfonos) is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.-based GTE Corporation.
As part of its far-reaching plan, Codetel selected Lucent Technologies to build its PCS network based on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology. "This investment confirms GTE's commitment to the Latin American telecommunications marketplace and secures our place as the Dominican Republic's leading PCS provider," said Carlos Espinal, president of CODETEL. "We are well-established in Latin America, and this investment strengthens our position." Codetel has the broadest geographical coverage as well as the most extensive portfolio in the Dominican Republic's telecommunications market, providing local, long distance, cellular, paging, data services, off-shore data entry and Internet access. Lucent will design and provide Codetel's PCS network based on CDMA technology, which enables a wireless PCS phone to become a virtual moving office by allowing Internet access, as well as fax and data applications.
"Lucent is happy to continue working with Codetel as it offers advanced wireless services to the citizens of the Dominican Republic,'' said Tom Mader, Lucent vice president. "Our integrated solution - being able to use existing Lucent 5ESS switches - allows Codetel to enter the PCS market with the lowest costs, greatest capability and fastest deployment.'' The use of digital technology enhances the reliability of the wireless network and provides the capability to add new features, satisfying the most diverse customer needs. Among the value-added features are caller ID, call-blocking, Internet access, data transmission, sending and receiving faxes, voice mail service, answering service and other well-known features such as call-waiting, call-transfer, call-forward and call-conference. "Digital PCS will usher in a new era of wireless communications,'' Espinal said. "The CDMA technology allows us to build upon the high-quality, clear wireless communications our customers have come to expect from CODETEL." The first phase of CODETEL's network build-out will include the capital city of Santo Domingo, Santiago and the corridor linking these two metropolitan areas. Service is expected to begin this summer.
The second phase is scheduled to be completed by year's end when service will extend along the southern coastal highway to the resort city of La Romana/Casa de Campo. Over the next five years, Codetel will expand the Lucent-supplied PCS network to provide coverage in all the country's major commercial and tourism markets, as well as the main highways.
Codetel is a wholly owned subsidiary of GTE Corp.

Balaguer urges party members to take action
A day after the leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) called out to militants of the PRD and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) to join forces to confront the establishment of a dictatorship by the governing party and by the later's "improvising, inmature and violent persons," Dr. Joaquín Balaguer, leader of the PRSC, sent a message to his followers.
In a letter to party militants, the nongenarian politician wrote:
"Reformistas, say present with your traditional bravery and patriotism. It is time that we enter the battle, without looking back, and commit ourselves to defend the destiny of the nation, casting aside our personal interests to decidedly support the Reformista candidates that were chosen for the Senate, Chamber of Deputies, city governments and city councils for the period 1998-2002.
"It is time the militancy of the PRSC decides to contribute the entire quota of sacrifice to achieve a new victory, cooperating in this way so that the work of the government carried out by the Reformismo does not perish in uncertain hands."
The Comando Nacional de Campaña, that less than a month ago assumed the organization of the PRSC electoral campaigns, said that Dr. Balaguer would campaign in San Cristóbal to support the party's candidate for senator, José Osvaldo Leger; in Peravia (Baní), in favor of Roberto Santana; and to promote its PRSC candidates in Monseñor Nouel (Bonao), La Vega and Santiago as well.
Hoy newspaper political analyst Ivonne Ferreras said that the return of Dr. Balaguer to the political forefront could put an end to the confrontations between the PRD and the PLD.

Jacinto Peynado stays out of PRSC campaign
The presidential candidate of the PRSC in the 1996 elections, Jacinto Peynado, forecast a "poor showing" for the party in the upcoming congressional and municipal elections. Peynado, who did not receive the support of the party in those elections, has not integrated into this year's electoral campaign. Peynado said that the alliance with the PLD in the past elections has been fatal for the party's standing today. Furthermore, he criticized the way the party chose its candidates for the congressional and municipal elections. "All they did was take out and put in at whim. Let me repeat that the Reformistas who do not feel tainted by the primaries and its irregularities will have to wait to act in the future, in order to make the PRSC the force it was in the past, because right now it can only arouse pity.

President Fernández explains why he is on the campaign trail
President Leonel Fernández denied that his government is attempting to install a dictatorship, as opposition party Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez said yesterday. "I have never known that the legitimate popular will of a people, expressed with their vote in the polls, can be turned into a dictatorship," said the President who is on the campaign trail in support of PLD contenders in the congressional and municipal elections.
President Fernández defended his administration saying that he promised to confront the electricity problem, and has been installing power plants. He said his government would find solutions to the public transport problem, and is modernizing the service. He promised to strengthen the democratic institutions and this is apparent all over. But, he said, "There are things that the President cannot do by himself which require the collaboration of Congress and that is why I am involved in this electoral campaign to see if we can increase the PLD's participation in Congress. With this increase, we hope that in coordination with the legislators from other parties, we can establish a consensus to pass the long-awaited and necessary reforms.
"Dominican society is not a poor society, but it is a society with many injustices. Social injustice can only begin to be resolved by introducing a package of reform bills to the National Congress."

Peña Gómez requests post of mayor as epilogue of his life
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez told Hoy newspaper journalist Asela Maria Lamarche that he would seek international counsel to be able to carry out a better administration of the city of Santo Domingo should he win the 1998 election. Peña leads in the polls. Furthermore, he explained that he would designate several persons to be his assistants that will dispatch the administrative affairs daily with the deputy mayor. (Johnny Ventura is the candidate for deputy mayor.) He said he would invite the PRD aspirants for mayor who did not win their posts and other party members that have had experience managing city affairs to participate in the city government. He said that his wife, Doña Peggy, would be in charge of all social services of the municipality.
"The problem of being mayor is not in the time one spends within the city hall, but rather in the time one gives to the position and I will give it time. ....I will be mayor, but my main role will be leader of the PRD," he said, explaining that he would handle affairs in order to exercise his leadership to fulfill the needs of the city.
"It is logical that I win the elections, because I have spent my entire life fighting for this country, without requesting anything in return. Now I am trying to write my epilogue with the position of mayor. I believe this country cannot deny me that possibility."
62-year old Peña Gómez is terminally ill with cancer of the pancreas.

New taxis
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez presided over an event in which 1,000 members of the Confederación Dominicana de Taxistas Turísticos (Codotatur) received brand new vans for the transport of tourists. The Ministry reached an agreement with the taxi union providing advantageous financial conditions and tax exemptions. Every five years the taxi drivers will be able to purchase new vehicles under similar conditions.

French Minister signs agreements
Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cooperaction and the Promotion of the French Language, Charles Josselin signed an agreement whereby two Dominican commercial banks, the Banco Hipotecario Dominicano (BHD) and the Banco Intercontinental (Baninter) will provide long-term financing for small and medium-size business. The agreement has the support of the French Development Agency and the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency in the Dominican Republic. The French government has contributed US$20 million to the fund.
During his visit to Santo Domingo, the French minister inaugurated the Lycee Française, a school for French-speaking children. He also decorated Professor Juan Bosch, founder of the government Partido de la Liberación Dominicana with the order of Grand Official of the Legion of Honor, in recognition for his literary and government activities. The honor was conferred by President Jacquez Chirac of France.

Brutal killing of pilot goes to court
The District Attorney of Santo Domingo, Francisco Domínguez Brito sent to justice the case against Partido de la Liberación Dominicana activists that are accused of having brutally murdered Air Force reserve general Luís Santiago Pérez in a yet confusing incident. The family of Domínguez Brito complained that another PLD activist who was the leader of the PLD activists that were pegging posters in the Urbanización Tropical when the incident happened was not included in the case.
The family says the case was submitted so as to facilitate that the accused be let free on bail. They said they would take the PLD party to court for the death of the pilot.
The family is assisted by Marino Mendoza, who is a personal assistant of Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, among other lawyers.
Upon submitting the case, DA Domínguez pointed out that it was the first time that the DA's office submitted political activists for crimes committed during a political campaign, and much less being of the same party as the government. "The country has changed, the DR is not the same..." said the DA.

Michael Jordan to visit Puerto Plata this year
President Fernández says he has invited Michael Jordan to Puerto Plata during the later's end of June beginning of July visit to the Dominican Republic. President Fernández was in Puerto Plata on 8 May to inaugurate the new multi-sport facility and the Gregorio Luperon Sports complex. The new sport facility has capacity for 5,000 fans and was constructed as a mini "Madison Square Garden Puerto Plata," as President Fernández himself said, that is the court is equipped with all requirements for NBA league games.
During his visit to Puerto Plata, the President also inaugurated a computer lab at the Gregorio Urbano Gilbert public school. He promised students that the government would comply with the request for the opening of a branch of the state Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in Puerto Plata. The President had plans to caravan through the streets of Puerto Plata but interrupted these at the start when his driving through the city was met with a cool shoulder. The PRD candidates to mayor and senator have the strongest support in Puerto Plata.

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