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Daily News - 13 August 1998

Venezuelan presidential hopeful visits
Hugo Chavez, the presidential candidate most likely to win the elections in Venezuela, is visiting. The 44 year old former military made a name for himself when on 4 February 1992 lead a 10,000-men strong failed military coup trying to overturn the Venezuelan government. Chávez said in an interview with the Listín Diario newspaper said he is convinced that the democratic system of Venezuela has collapsed. He proposes to bring democracy back to Venezuela if he is elected. He said that Venezuela right now is in a state of chaos and uncertainty. During his visit to the DR, he was received by President Leonel Fernández. He has the support of the Polo Patriótico. Chavez is in the DR to attend the "Asamblea Constituyente en la América Latina de Hoy" workshop, organized by the Presidential Commission for the Reform and Modernization of the State.

Senate passes international loans
The Senate approved 14 loans for US$250 million signed between the state and the Inter American Development and the World Bank. The loans will be used for health, education, environmental protection and energy improvement programs. The passing of the loans was opposed by members of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano and affiliate Union Democrática.

Obstacles to electricity privatization
Hoy newspaper reports that contradictions within the Commission of Reform of Public Enterprise (CREP), debts of more than RD$1,500 million of the CDE, accounts receivable amounting to RD$3,700 million and the privileges awarded to the independent generators of electricity are major obstacles to the privatization of the state electricity utility, the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad. Meanwhile the government has chosen to install 1,400 megawatts mostly in turbogas units of less than 60 megawatts, seeking a short term solution to the deficit in production.

Peguero Méndez vs. PRD
Political analyst Gustavo Olivo Peña explains that for Chamber of Deputies president Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez to repeat as president of the Chamber, he and his supporters need to convince four additional PRD deputies to vote for him. This is in the case that all deputies attend on the day of the inaugural of the new session of the Chamber of Deputies on 16 August. Peguero is acting contrary to wishes of the board of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, which recently expelled him for his disobedience to party guidelines.
The PRD deputies add up to 76 votes, while the PLD has 49 and the PRSC has 17. Peguero has six followers in the Chamber of Deputies for a possible 73 votes in his favor.
Journalist Olivo Peña writes that while Peguero Méndez's win in the Chamber of Deputies could be seen as a victory of the PLD, there is uncertainty of how things will eventually work out. It is possible Peguero Méndez will return to the PRD, or he will not be an easy collaborator of the PLD. He comments that the government's decision to possibly support Peguero Mendez can be compared to a U.S. President seeking a "fast track" to avoid lengthy congressional negotiations. The PRD won majority in both congressional houses in the 16 May congressional elections.

Castro set to arrive at 3 pm on Thursday, 20 August
President Fidel Castro of Cuba will arrive on Thursday, 20 August at 3 pm. He will be received at the Las Americas International Airport by President Leonel Fernández, Vice President Jaime David Fernández and members of the cabinet and the diplomatic corps. He will stay at the Hotel Jaragua together with President of Haiti Rene Preval and the 13 chiefs of state of the visiting Caricom countries.

US wants DR to lobby for Cuban democracy
U.S. acting ambassador Linda Watt expressed her hope that the chiefs of state gathered in DR will convince President Fidel Castro of Cuba to promote democratic changes in Cuba. President Castro, President Preval of Haiti and 13 statesmen of English-speaking Caribbean countries will be in Santo Domingo next week for a Caribbean Summit.

New offices for Air France
Air France's new offices in Santo Domingo are located at Plaza El Faro at Av. Máximo Gómez 15, facing the Supermercado Nacional. This is Air France's 11ths year, since its first flight 6 December 1987. The Santo Domingo Air France office is responsible for the northern Caribbean. Air France flies daily to Paris from Santo Domingo.

Big birthday part for Santo Domingo
The Municipality of Santo Domingo announced the celebration of a big party at the Plaza España in front of the Alcazar to commemorate the city's 500th birthday. The music will be very varied including merengue, bachata, son, gaga, atabales, salves, boleros, salsa, jazz and rock. Participating artists are Vickiana, Grupo Maniel, Adalgisa Pantaleón, Transfusion, Francis Santana, La Reverenda, Vinicio Franco, Los Paleros de Nigua among others.

NBA players to compete in Santo Domingo
Dominican NBA player, Luis Felipe López, the fifth Dominican elected to play in the National Basketball Association professional league was received last night with his family by President Leonel Fernández at the National Palace. López gave the President an autographed ball as a gift. The native of Santiago accepted to be a sports ambassador in Vancouver, Canada where he will play with the Grizzles. He said he would lobby so that every year an All Stars Game of the NBA players could take place at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo. President Fernández said the government would financially contribute to make possible the games.

DR has won 20 medals in Games
The DR won three more medals in tae kwon do for a total 10 in the sport. These include two silver medals, won by Gabriel Mercedes on the first day of competition. The tae kwon do team is 12 athletes strong and will return 17 August to the DR. So far the DR has won 20 medals, including four of gold, 4 silver, and 12 bronze at the fourth day of competition.

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