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Daily News - 26 July 1999

DR influence increases in Puerto Rico
The Listín Diario reported on the growing political influence of the Dominican community in Puerto Rico. Thousands of Dominicans are swearing in as US citizens and can now vote in the Puerto Rican elections. The newspaper highlighted how in the most recent naturalization ceremony, of 800 foreigners being sworn in as US citizens, 400 were Dominicans. The Dominican government recognizes dual citizenship. An estimated 32,000 Dominicans residing in Puerto Rico are also US citizens. The increasing political influence is good news for Dominicans residing in Puerto Rico.

Peguero Méndez gets his own party
Hector Rafael Peguero Méndez, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) dissident who secured the support of the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) to win the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies in 1998 finally has his own political party. Political analysts say he "bought" the Partido Popular Cristiano, formerly of Rogelio Bogaert. The advantage to "buying" the party is that it already has enough signatures to merit its recognition by the Central Electoral Junta, the board that organizes presidential, congressional and municipal elections in the DR. The Secretary General of the PPC will now be Rafael "Fiquito" Vasquez, a deputy who is Méndez’s close ally in the Chamber of Deputies.
Peguero Méndez aspires to be re-elected to the post of president of the Chamber of Deputies. The PRD hopes to ally with the PRSC to impede this.

Balaguer disputes PRD claim
Former President Joaquin Balaguer denied that Hipólito Mejía, presidential candidate of the PRD, had offered his party (the PRSC) the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies as of 16 August. Balaguer told the press referring to a past conversation with the PRD presidential candidate, "He spoke to me, he told me about the problem, but no solutions nor proposals were made," said Balaguer. He said that they just agreed to meet again.
Balaguer told the press he is hoping for an improvement in his health prior to accepting to run for president in 2000.
Balaguer seems to be delaying on the decision to accept the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies for his party because it will be interpreted as a move to support the presidential aspirations of Hipólito Mejía versus Danilo Medina of the PLD. Both PLD and PRD presidential candidate need the votes of the PRSC followers to win the presidency in 2000. While it is unlikely he will make it to the second round of the election, nonagenarian Balaguer himself has sufficient loyal voters to influence the final results of the election.
More so, by accepting the PRD support to a PRSC candidate, Balaguer would be helping the PRD to achieve a much-wanted objective: to impede Peguero Méndez from being re-elected. The PRD does not have enough deputies to impose its own candidate. Peguero Méndez has the support of the PLD deputies.

Who will be the next president of the Senate?
The PRD will choose the next president of the Senate today. Whomever the PRD chooses will win as the PRD is majority in the Senate. Ramón Alburquerque, present incumbent, and Samana senator, Milton Ray Guevara aspire to the post. The senators will vote on 16 August. The PRD has 24 senators of a total 30 senators. Guevara seeks to win proposing an end to the confrontational style of Alburquerque.

Danilo Medina proclaimed as PLD candidate
In his speech during the Saturday celebration of his nomination as presidential candidate of the ruling PLD, Licenciado Danilo Medina, was very critical of his leading contender, Hipólito Mejía of the PRD. In his speech, Medina highlighted that Mejía represents the past, while he represents the future. Medina said that the presidential candidate of the PRD does not have plans to develop modern farming techniques, but rather favors micro farms and will promote an economy based on his micro farm mentality. He also highlighted that if Mejía wins, there will be a dictatorship of the PRD, as congress, the city governments and the presidency will be in the hands of PRD men and women, bringing about a social and economic stagnation.
Continuously, Medina highlighted that he represents the future and Mejía, the past. "The candidate of the PRD represents the 19th Century. We are the candidate of the 21st Century," he said.
In his speech he promised to promote new jobs with incentives for small and medium sized businesses.
President Leonel Fernández and Vice President Jaime David Fernández attended the celebration.

Medina is responsible for hunger of Dominican people
Tony Raful, president of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano, the leading opposition party, disqualified Danilo Medina from running for President. Raful says that Medina, as Secretary of the Presidency, is responsible for the poverty that embraces the Dominican people. He accused him of mismanagement of state resources. Raful criticized that Medina utilized so much of his Saturday speech to denigrate his leading contender, PRD Hipólito Mejía. He said that the speech sounded more like a public relations piece for the government than that of a man aspiring to win the presidential election.
Political analysts say that Medina’s best chance is to peg his aspirations to the popularity of the present government. President Leonel Fernández is considered the most popular man in the DR.

High school to train potable water technicians
The government inaugurated the Liceo Tecnico CAASD, only one of its kind in Latin America. The high school will train young Dominicans as potable water technicians. These will be employed by the government water departments and are expected to have jobs waiting for them upon graduation. The new school is part of the Decenal Plan of the Ministry of Education that calls for the preparation of technicians instead of graduates in general studies. The government invested about RD$8 million to build the school.

US$1,800 million in remittances?
The Listin Diario reported that the Central Bank estimates that Dominican expats sent home from US$1,300 to US$1,800 million last year. Central Bank stats show US$1,326 million entered the system through remittance companies and another US$160 million was received in the form of pensions accrued by Dominicans who have worked abroad. This is up from US$1,089 million and US$158 million in 1997.
The average remittance from the US is US$180, while from Europe these average US$250 a month.
Remittances are in third place behind tourism and free zone hard currency receipts.
The World Bank recognizes the importance of the remittances, that are donations, that in the alleviate poverty. The moneys received are a vital complement to the income of thousands of Dominicans.

DR defeats Canada and Peru in volleyball
The Dominican women’s volleyball team had a surprise victory over Canada in their first outing in the Pan Am Games on the opening day of the games. The Dominicans won their games 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 26-24. On the next day, the DR defeated Peru, 22-25, 25-11, 25-14 and 25-23. DR had lost to Peru in the World Games in Japan, which cost it to drop from its 9th place world standing to 11th place.
On Sunday, the DR lost 3-0 to the Cuban team, which is the favorite to win the gold medal. The Dominican team put up a fight, losing 25-22, 25-19 and 25-17.
This is the third time a Dominican volleyball team competes in a Pan American Games. In 1955, the DR team finished fourth after Mexico, the US and Brazil. In 1979, the DR finished sixth behind Cuba, Peru, Brazil, the US and Mexico.
The DR matches Brazil today. In an earlier game, Brazil defeated Peru 3-0.
Cuba and the US are the favorites to win the gold medal.

At least a silver medal, for Dominican karate champ
Dominican Katia Acevedo will bring home at least a silver medal. She defeated the US’s Kimberley Morgan (6-1) and Cuban Fernández Súarez (6-1) in her first two matches in the Pan Am Games. Today she will face Brazilian Lucelia Ribeiro for the gold medal.

Baseball team gets good start
The Dominican baseball team defeated Guatemala 10-1 in the start of the baseball tournament of the Pan American Games now being held in Winnipeg, Canada. The Dominican baseball team is considered a strong contender for the gold. While in the past the Dominican team performed poorly being made up mostly by amateur players, rule changes permitted making up a team with professionals. New rules allowed putting together a Dominican team selected from young prospects that play in the Minor Leagues of US professional baseball. Former Aguilas Cibaeñas player, Felix Fermin is the team manager.

Festival de Merengue
Merengue Festival continues with the presentation of live bands at the Malecón stages and Avenida del Puerto. Schedule for the week is as follows:
Monday, 26 July
Los Hermanos Rosario and Rafy Matías
Tuesday, 27 July
Los Toros band, Sergio Vargas, Rockabanda
Thursday, 27 July
Fernando Villalona, Manole Banda del Truco
Friday, 30 July
Eddy Herrera, Parada Joven and Juan Manuel
Saturday, 31 July
Kaki Vargas and Ramon Orlando
Also part of the Merengue Festival, the Second Gala of Unpublished Merengues 1999 will take place on Thursday, 29 July at the Teatro La Fiesta of the Hotel Jaragua. Fifteen compositions were selected from 400 submissions and are being arranged by leading Dominican musicians for the upcoming competition. The event is part of the Merengue Festival that opens 23 July and will end 1 August in Santo Domingo, and the southeastern beach communities of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.
The Gran Encuentro de Música Típica is set for Friday, 30 July at 8:30 at Plaza Nico Lora (in front of Parque Eugenio María de Hostos) on the Malecón. Francisco Ulloa, Jose y su Artilleria Pesada and La India Canela will perform their own particular brand of grassroots music.
Merengue Festival will close with a bang on Sunday, 1 August. In Boca Chica Beach, Fernando Villalona and Francisco Ulloa entertaining all at the main parking lot as of 3 pm. That same evening, in Santo Domingo, the festival closes with an all night party at the Avenida del Puerto starring Toño Rosario, La Banda X and Peña Suazo y su Banda Gorda.

Presidente Summer Games
Presidente Beer is sponsoring what is being called its Summer Games. Sumo fights (with contenders inside inflated balloon sumo costumes), races, roulette, beach volleyball and other games scheduled. There will also be live music with some of the top rock groups, including Al Jadaqui and Toque Profundo, as well as the participation of leading DJs.
The locations are as follows:
8 August: Playa Salinas, Baní
22 August: Cabarete, Puerto Plata
5 September: Boca Chica, Santo Domingo

"Aida" at the National Theater
Giuseppe Verdi's opera, "Aida" will go on stage at the National Theater, 25, 27 and 29 August. It is a presentation of the Opera de las Americas group. The performers include Evangelina Colon and Teresa Perez de Frangie, mezzosoprano Marianne Cornetti, Ondina Matos, Antonio Barasorda and Francisco Casanova, Noel Ramirez, Janusz Monarcha, Frank Lendor, Carlos Alfredo Fatule and Juan Tomas Reyes. The National Choir, National Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Concierto Dominicano are also performing. The National Symphony will be directed by Jan Jozef Wnek. The New Orleans Opera Association is providing the scenography, and Malabar Limited, the costumes. This opera is a production by Teresa Pérez de Frangie and Eduardo Villanueva and Luis Carlos López.

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