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Daily News - 12 May 1998

Johnny Ventura is official candidate to mayor
The Partido Revolucionario Dominicano chose merengue orchestra director, lawyer and former congressman Johnny Ventura to be the party's candidate to mayor, replacing deceased Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez. Party leader and city government candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez passed away on the evening of Sunday, 10 May. Peña Gómez's wife, Peggy Cabral was chosen as deputy mayor.

Peña Gómez: part of Dominican history
President Leonel Fernández said upon attending the wake of Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Stadium, that the deceased politician has a place of honor and distinction reserved in Dominican history. He said that the untimely death of Peña Gómez should serve as motive for reflection among the Dominican family to preserve the democracy Peña Gómez sought to build.
Upon attending the wake, the President was verbally assaulted by grieving PRD followers, who seemingly blamed the President and the PLD for the death of their leader.
The President attended the funerals with Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal. Earlier, he spoke to the nation declaring 11, 12 and 13 of May days of mourning.
Thousands of followers of Dr. Peña Gómez, leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, attended the funeral ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium. Several were seen with attacks of hysteria.
Former President Joaquín Balaguer also attended the funerals at the Olympic Stadium, accompanied by a high-ranking committee of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano. The former statesman also highlighted the contributions of Peña Gómez to democracy in the Dominican Republic.
PRD leaders have exhorted the following of the party to vote for the party in homage to Peña Gómez.
The last poll carried out six days before Peña Gómez's death by Sigma Dos, a Spanish polling company commissioned by the Listín Diario, the leading Dominican daily, gave the PRD ample victory over the closest runner-up, the government Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. The poll showed that the PRD had at the time 50.5% of the vote for the mayor of Santo Domingo, versus 40.7% of the PLD and 7.6% of the PRSC. Furthermore, senator for Santo Domingo Milagros Ortiz Bosch would obtain 53.8%, Franklin Almeyda of the PLD 35.6%, and Alexis Joaquín Castillo of the PRSC, 9%. Of the 44 deputy congressmen positions for Santo Domingo, the PRD would win 25, the PLD 15 and the PRSC, 4.
Peña Gómez's body spent the evening at the Funeraria Blandino after being shown for nine hours at the Olympic Stadium. He was again to be shown at the Olympic Stadium during as of 10 am on Tuesday, 12 May, and in the afternoon his body would be taken to the headquarters of the PRD in Gazcue, and then to the Municipality of Santo Domingo. Peña will be buried on Wednesday.

Who will be the PRD presidential candidate in year 2000?
The death of Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez before he had been able to choose his party's candidate to the presidency in the year 2000 elections, presents a difficult challenge for the party's board members. Party board members will now have to organize the primaries to choose the presidential candidate. Many of the board members themselves aspire to be chosen the presidential candidate.
Board members are Vicente Sánchez Baret, Hugo Tolentino Dipp, secretary general Hatuey de Camps, Winston Arnaud and Rafael Gamundi Cordero. Also Hipólito Mejía, Rafael Suberví Bonilla, senator Milagros Ortiz Bosch, Emmanuel Esquea Guerrero and Tony Raful in addition to Milagros Ortiz Bosch. It is said that the three strongest aspirants to be chosen the presidential candidate are:
Hatuey de Camps, a student leader, who was secretary of the Presidency in the government of Salvador Jorge Blanco, and has been congressman.
Hipólito Mejia, an agribusinessman who was minister of agriculture in the PRD government of President Antonio Guzmán Fernández and vice presidential candidate to Peña Gómez in the 1990 elections.
Rafael Subervi, former minister of tourism, and mayor of Santo Domingo, congressman, present time candidate to deputy for Barahona.
The PRD needs to renew leadership, following the deaths of party leaders Peña Gómez, Antonio Guzmán and Jacobo Majluta.

Ports Authority announces ferry to Samana
The director of the National Ports Authority, José Antonio Fernández said that starting mid-August there will be new ferry service between Sabana de la Mar and Samana. This service is especially attractive to tourists choosing to visit the lovely beaches of Samana. The Agencia Naviera del Caribe has purchased a ship for the crossings.
Moreover, Fernández Collado told the press that the Port Authority has invested over RD$81 million to repair Dominican ports since the start of the Fernández government.
He said the government will soon issue the decree whereby the government will hold a tender to choose the private companies that will be given concessions to operate Dominican ports for 15-20 years. Ports that will be first modernized under this concept are those in San Pedro de Macorís, Puerto Plata and Haina in the National District.

Trade with Haiti
Trade with Haiti has increased in the past six years, according to a report from the Dominican Center for the Promotion of Exports (Cedopex). Despite the obstacles, Dominican trade with Haiti grew 133% from 1991 to 1997. Sarah Burgos, of Cedopex, said that exporters are preferring to use ships to get around the ground mafia that controls ground transport to Haiti. Trade with Haiti is approximately US$25 million a year, and at the present time is stagnant. The bulk of the trade is chemical fertilizers, zinc roofing, crackers, food for poultry, carton boxes, batteries and ceramics.

Volleyball Federation receives international award
The International Volleyball Federation chose the Dominican Republic Volleyball Federation as the "Federation of the Year." During a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Federation recognized the efforts of the Dominican sports federation. The International Federation groups 214 federations from all around the world. This is only the second time a Latin American country wins the distinction. Only Brazil had won in the past, in 1993.
The Dominican delegation traveled to Switzerland to petition for the site of the World Femenine Juvenile Volleyball Games for September. Alexis García, president, and Cristóbal Marte, vice president of the Dominican Federation received in Lausanne the US$2,500 award together with Jay Payano, Deputy Minister of Sports.
The next important matches of the Dominican national volleyball team will be during the World Women's Volleyball Championship that open in November in Japan.

Miss Universe pageant televised today
Miss Selinee Mendez, who won the Miss Top Model of the World pageant in 1996 in Germany, is representing the Dominican Republic in the Miss Universe Pageant, the most prestigious beauty contest held annually. The pageant will be able to be seen in the DR on Channel 5, Telemicro at 10 pm.
The women representatives of 81 countries will vie for the title at the finals held at the University of Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
Miss Selinee Mendez is a 5'8 inches, brown-eyed and brown-haired beauty born in San Juan de la Maguana some 23 years ago.
Interestingly, in the 1997 Miss Universe two Dominican beauties coincided, Cesarina Mejía, representing the Dominican Republic and Denny Mendez, representing Italy. Denny Mendez placed among the top six.
American beauties have won 15 titles, including seven of the United States, three of Puerto Rico and four of Venezuela.

Israeli virtuoso to conduct National Symphony
Yeruham Scharovsky, one of the most outstanding orchestra directors of Israel, will direct the National Symphony Orchestra at the National Theater on Wednesday, 13 May. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Scharovsky has performed with the most important orchestras in Israel, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Argentina and Brazil. In 1990, Maestro Zubin Mehta chose him as the young artist of the year, inviting him to direct the Annual Gala Concert of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Thereafter, he was invited to direct the National Symphony Orchestra of Israel, and has subsequently performed for more than 70 recordings.
Scharovsky was recently chosen by the Kurt Weill Organization of New York City to direct the world premier of the mega opera production, The Eternal Road, to premier in Kremnitz, Germany. The opera will later be staged in Toronto, New York City, Venice, Krakov, Sidney, Paris, Berlin and Tel Aviv.

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