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Daily News - 10 August 1998

PRD conflict continues in Congress
The president of the Chamber of Deputies Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez saids that he suggested a third candidate, Hugo Tolentino Dipp as a solution to the political crisis within the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano regarding who will preside the Chamber of Deputies when the new four-year term of the deputies opens on 16 August.
Peguero Méndez feels slighted by the PRD, that has expelled him from the party, for opposing what he calls the choice to preside the Chamber of one faction within the party. He said that the party's official choice, Winston Arnaud has no experience in congressional matters and that traditionally, the Chamber has chosen a deputy with several years of experience. Peguero Méndez has caused a crisis within the party, threatening to divide the PRD's strength in Congress by posting his candidacy to preside the Chamber of Deputies with the support of the PLD deputies, the PRSC deputies and other dissident PRD members. In addition to Peguero Méndez, six other PRD deputies have been expelled for ignoring party orders.
Peguero Méndez said that other possible candidates would have been Rafael Suberví Bonilla, Ivelisse Prats de Pérez, Eligio Jáquez, Pedro Franco Badía, or Sofía Leonor Sánchez Baret, all candidates that have had congressional experience. The PRD is majority in Congress.

DR will not mediate for democracy in Cuba
President Leonel Fernández said yesterday in a press conference that he will not intervene in the internal politics of Cuba nor become a mediator for the advent of democracy in Cuba. He responded to a press question as to whether he would accept to mediate between the US and Cuba in pro of increased democracy. "We have not been asked by the United States government nor can be asked because this is a sovereign and independent state," said the President. Recently the US criticized the American nations that maintain diplomatic relations with Havana and considered prudent that the chiefs of state of the Americas intervene before Castro to demand democratic changes in Cuba.
Fernández emphasized, nevertheless, that the DR intends to serve as a link in the strategic alliance the Caribbean and Central America are building that will represent 60 million consumers and 20 votes in international organizations.
President Fernández commented that five days after the visit of Fidel Castro, he (Fernández) would travel to Puerto Rico to attend a meeting of the governors of southern states of the US, at the invitation of Governor Roselló.

Speculations abound on second year mark of government
The talk of the day are the speculations on who will be the new members of the cabinet of President Leonel Fernández at the second year mark. The President is expected to make changes. The rumors are that the President will appoint more long time members of the government party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana to his cabinet.

Balaguer favors leaving Constitution as is
Former President Joaquín Balaguer does not favor the reforming of the Constitution to include the possibility of calling a referendum to decide key issues.
On the other hand, President Leonel Fernández, in a meeting with the political committee of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, said his party will promote, as of 16 August, the reform of the Constitution to make possible the holding of a plebiscite.
The acting president of the PRD, deputy Tony Raful said that that organization will oppose a constitutional reform to make possible consecutive presidential re-election, but that the party may approve other reforms to the Constitution. The PRD will be majority in both congressional houses as of 16 August 1998.

A plan to murder Castro?
The Miami Herald reported that Cuban exiles had planned to kill Fidel Castro during his visit to the Dominican Republic (20-25 August). Reportedly, an informant tipped off the FBI. The newspaper does not name its law enforcement sources. It states that the Cuban exiles were preparing to house and transport the "hit team" to the DR shortly before the murder. Luis Posada Carriles, an exile accused of masterminding a dozen bombings in Havana last summer, is signaled out as the coordinator of the plan. The Herald said that Posada met with three men last month in Guatemala to discuss the smuggling of the guns and explosives into Santo Domingo.
The U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a public warning last month on about possible terrorist threats against airliners flying between Santo Domingo and Cuba. Castro's visit to the DR is part of a Caribbean tour that has taken him to Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados and the DR. He will be in Santo Domingo during the Caribbean Community (Caricom) meetings.

Data bank open to general public
Those seeking statistics on the DR are welcome to visit the Data Bank of the National Statistics Office (ONE). The Oficina Nacional de Estadística has open to the general public a bookstore with statistical publications and maps on the Dominican Republic. Those interested in accessing this information may find a selection posted on the Internet web site of the department. The URLs are:
http://www.estadistica.gov.do
http://www.poblacion.gov.do
http://www.censo.gov.do
Their email is [email protected]

NBA players in Santo Domingo
NBA players Chris Webber and Jerry Stackhouse visited the DR invited by the Fila sports shoes distributor and the Club San Lázaro. Webber, 6'10 feet tall, plays with the Sacramento Kings. Stackhouse, 6'6, plays with the Detroit Pistons. On Tuesday, 11 August they will hold an early morning practice session at the Club San Lázaro. At 11:30 am they will hold a press conference at the Hotel Jaragua, while at 4 pm they will sign autographs at Casa Ivelisse department store. On Wednesday, after a practice session at 7 am, they will offer basketball clinics at 11 am, and an exhibition game at 4 pm. On Thursday 13 August, after practice in the early morning at 7 am at the Club San Lázaro, they will again offer an exhibition game at 4 pm at the Club San Lázaro. On Thursday, early morning practice, a 10:30 am basketball clinics at Club San Lázaro, and signing of autographs this time at Plaza Lama. On Friday, 14 August at 7 am basketball practice, with signing of autographs at the Mundo del Tenis of Plaza Naco.

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