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Daily News - 24 June 1999

PRD president resigns
Dr. Emmanuel Esquea Guerrero resigned from his post of president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), the leading opposition party. Esquea said he was resigning because he had fulfilled the promise made to the late José Francisco Peña Gómez to carry out a successful primary to choose the party's presidential candidate in the next election. Political analysts say that Esquea is resigning because he is not happy with the agreements made by Hipólito Mejía, who won the presidential candidacy, with the losers of the race in order to guarantee party unity. The agreements would distribute posts within the PRD and in case of the winning of the 2000 presidential election. Esquea was supposedly offered the position of Senator of Santo Domingo, occupied by Milagros Ortiz Bosch, who has an agreement with Hipólito to run as his vice president on the PRD ticket. Esquea declined to travel with the PRD to attend the Internacional Socialista meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The PRD primary surveys and the final results
Previous to the days of the PRD primary held last Sunday throughout the country, several leading publications published results of surveys carried out by international polling agencies. The actual results when compared to the polls was as follows:
 
PRD
Candidates
 Bulletin # 7
 
Sigma Dos-
Listín Diario
 Hamilton-Hoy  Gallup-Rumbo
 Hipólito Mejía  74.37%  67.9%  67%  71%
 Rafael Suberví  13.93%  20.4%  16%  6%
 Milagros Ortiz  5.82%  3.7%  11%  14%
 Hatuey Decamps  4.58%  4.3%  4%  5.7%
 Rafael Abinader  1.28%  3.2%  1%  3%
 

Hipólito visits Balaguer
A day after winning the PRD presidential candidacy, Hipólito Mejía visited former President Joaquín Balaguer at his home. Commenting on the meeting, Hipólito Mejía told Hoy newspaper that it was a "very interesting and harmonious visit". He said that Balaguer's lucidness left him perplexed. Balaguer will be 93 this year. He further described the former statesman as "very pleasant." "I am learning many things from him" said Mejía.
He said he visited Balaguer because he had promised to do so when he was elected presidential candidate so he could speak from presidential candidate to presidential candidate.
Balaguer is expected to be the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano presidential candidate in the 2000 election. While it is highly unlikely he will win the election, whomever he endorses in the second round has a good chance at winning. Both the PLD and the PRD are expected to seek Balaguer's support. Balaguer's support of the PLD in the 1996 election resulted in their reaching power.

Conflicting polls on PLD presidential contenders
El Siglo newspaper reports that a Penn, Schoen & Berland poll, that took place 13-20 June when 1,000 PLD members were questioned throughout the country, showed these favor Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal 61% to Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina's 33% and 5% to Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez. Félix Jiménez has retired from the race.
In the 24 June issue, the newspaper reports that a Global Strategy Group poll shows Danilo Medina has 60% of the preference, while Jaime David Fernández has 33% and Felix Jiménez 3%. The Global poll took place 10-17 June, and some 1,217 PLD voters were interviewed.
The PLD primary will be held this Sunday, 27 June throughout the country. It is a closed primary, with only 12,500 PLD members having the right to vote.

Poor Dominicans affected by physician strike
Indigent Dominicans are affected by the 48-hour strike called by public hospital medics throughout the national territory. The strike doesn't affect operations of private medical centers. The physicians demand a 60% salary increase. Public hospitals are only offering emergency room services.

Bosch honored with first writer's stamp
The government honored former President Juan Bosch, who will be 90 years old on 30 June, by placing into circulation two stamps with his photograph. The stamps are part of a release commemorating outstanding Dominican contemporary authors. The RD$10 and RD$2 stamps have been released by the Dominican Postal Institute and the Official Philatelic Commission.

Bidding for the Sugar Council lands
El Caribe newspaper reports that 12 of 22 companies that had requested terms of the tender for the lease of the State Sugar Council properties presented their credentials in order to participate in the Commission for the Reform of the Public Enterprise tender scheduled for the end of July, beginning of August. The Commission will now determine the companies that are authorize to bid. The sugar mills that will be leased are Amistad, Barahona, Boca Chica, Haina, Consuelo, Montellano, Ozama, Porvenir, Quisqueya and Santa Fe.
Those seeking to be accreditation are:
Impulsora Azucarera del Noroeste S.A. de C.V. (Mexico)
Booker Tate, representing Santo Domingo Caribe Comercial, C. por A. (England)
Pellerano & Herrera/Pantaleón S.A. (Guatemala)
Azucarera del Guadalfeo, representing Santo Domingo Laboratorio del Sur (Spain)
Ingenio del Cauca, S.A. (Colombia)
Western Supplies Enterprises (Curaçao and Dominican Republic)
Consorcio Azucarero Central/Sucden Kerry/Amerop, (DR, France)
La Isabela Group (Dominican Republic)
Central Pringamosa (Dominican Republic)
Coopcaña (Dominican Republic)
Caña Brava Agroindustrial (Dominican Republic)
Banco Continental (Dominican Republic)

International organization to build aqueducts in Southwest
International Plan and the National Institute of Potable Waters and Sewages (INAPA) signed a cooperation agreement for the construction of 12 aqueducts in southwestern communities. International Plan will be contributing US$500,000. Heather C. Borquez, director of the Plan, said it seeks to resolve the potable water scarcity in impoverished southwestern communities in Azua, Barahona and San Juan de la Maguana. The projects will benefit 125 communities.
INAPA, the Dominican government organization in charge of aqueducts throughout the nation, will provide technical assistance.

Customs Department reports 20% increase in collections
Customs Department collections are up 20% compared to last year. The Dirección General de Aduanas RD$6,456,698,851 million, up from RD$5,385,429,397 million in 1998. Highest percentile increase was in February with a 25% variation. Highest collections took place in March with RD$1,403,616,179 million.

Textile parity bill moves ahead in US Congress
The Committee of Finances of the US Senate unanimously passed the textile parity bill proposed by Florida Senator Bob Graham. The bill now passes to be conciliated with the bill presented by Congressman Philip Crane so a unified project is presented in July for final approval. If definitely passed, in August or September of this year, local free zone sectors expect a boom in the number of contracts for apparel manufacture they receive.
Dominican Ambassador Bernardo Vega was the only diplomat that participated in the Committee of Finances debates. He told the Listin Diario newspaper that he is optimistic that the bill that benefits Dominican exports will pass. He says there is a 60% chance. Vega, nevertheless said, that if the bill is rejected this year, it is very unlikely it will be introduced as it would be the third time it is studied by the US Congress.

Appeals Court restricts medical practice of physicians
The Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo confirmed the suspension of the license to practice medicine to plastic surgeons Juan Francisco Contreras and Juana Pimentel. The court upheld the judgment by Dr. Modesto Martínez that at the same time fixed a RD$1 million bail for each. The physicians face a suit for mal practice by patient Carmen Villanueva who underwent a plastic surgery procedure. A brother of Juan Francisco Contreras, Dr. Edgar Contreras has also been suspended from practicing medicine, after his patient Isabel Vargas died following another plastic surgery operation.

45-year-old woman has an in vitro baby
El Siglo newspaper reported on the case of Maria Espiritusanto, a 45-year old woman, who had been married for 25 years with Victor Lappost, and not been able to have a baby before. The mother named the baby boy Victor Elías for her husband, and Dr. Hector Elías Rosario, the head of the medical center, where the in vitro fertilization operation was performed. The couple lives in La Romana. The mother is a dentist; the father sells automobile spare parts. The baby was born at 35 weeks, weighing four pounds. Dr. Rosario says that this case gives hope to mothers of more than 40 years to pursue their quest for a child.

Grease at the National Theater in July
"Grease" will go on stage in the National Theater 8, 9, 10 and 11 July, with the performance of 70 Dominican actors. There will be performances at 5:30 and 8:30 pm. Grease, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all times. The original authors are sending representatives to see the Dominican production.
The Leading actors are José Guillermo Cortiñes (Danny Zucco) and Katherine Peña Sanlley (Sandy Dumbrowsky).
There will be a special participation of Carlos Alfredo Fatule (Tee Angel) and Lilyanna Díaz (Miss Lynch). Dante Cucurullo is in charge of musical direction, Bienvenido Miranda, lights; Salime Pineda, Carlos Veitía and Nurín Sanlley, choreography. Stage design is by Fidel Lopez.

Moneys to repair Olympic Center to come from Venezuela?
Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña said that the government will request a loan of US$27 million on account of the Acuerdo de San José petroleum purchases credit to repair the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center in Santo Domingo and other sport installations. The center will be site of the Pan Am Games in 2003 and is in very bad conditions. The DR purchases most of its petroleum from Venezuela which builds up a 20% credit for every US$100 purchased.

Basketball Tournament opens Friday
The XXVI Superior Basketball Tournament opens Friday, 25 June at the newly remodeled Palacio de los Deportes of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. San Lázaro, Mauricio Báez, San Carlos, Los Mina, and Villa Duarte will vie for the Copa Cerveza Presidente. President Beer and Pepsi are the main sponsors of the tournament. The tournament opening game will be at 7 pm. The first place and second place winners ­ San Carlos and Villa Duarte -- of the previous tournament will open the series.

Luis Felipe López to play for DR basketball team
The Dominican Olympic Committee says that it has the money to pay the NBA insurance, so that Luis Felipe López can participate in the pre-olympic tournament that opens 14 July in San Juan, Puerto Rico. López plays with the Vancouver Grizzlies team of the NBA. He was interested in playing with the Dominican national team, but conditioned this to the payment of the NBA required insurance.

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