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Leonel Fernandez Calls P.R. Visit A Big Success

D.R. presidential candidate in 2004 has hectic two days in San Juan, touching as many bases as possible


November 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Presidential candidate Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) was in San Juan for only two days, but even those supporters familiar with his demanding schedule were impressed with his accomplishments in such a short period.

He spoke at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR)-Rio Piedras, Inter American University (IAU) Law School, and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC).

Among the dignitaries he met with were Gov. Sila Calderon, former Govs. Pedro Rossello and Rafael Hernandez Colon, gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, San

Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, as well as Antonio Garcia Padilla and Manuel J. Fernos, the presidents of the UPR and IAU, respectively.

"I welcomed the opportunity to see these leaders, most of whom I knew already, and to discuss with them the dynamic relationship between the D.R. and Puerto Rico, which has evolved into the most important bilateral one in the entire Caribbean," said Fernandez. "The one I worked with the closest was Gov. Rossello because we were both in office at the same time. He visited Santo Domingo several times and I visited San Juan multiple times. It was a pleasure to see him again, and I was particularly interested in discussing how his Health Reform in Puerto Rico can be adapted to the D.R. when I return to the presidency. He assured me he would assist us.

"It was nice to see Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo again because we have met several times in Washington and I look forward to his assisting me with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus," continued Fernandez, who served as his country’s chief executive from 1996 to 2000. He is the leading candidate in the May 16, 2004 presidential elections there. Fernandez described himself as neutral in the forthcoming campaign in Puerto Rico.

"It was a pleasure to see Gov. Hernandez Colon again and to continue discussions with him in expanding cooperation between the Rafael Hernandez Colon Foundation in Ponce and the Global Foundation for Democracy & Development in Santo Domingo [which Fernandez heads]," said Fernandez. He recalled that the last time they met was in Santo Domingo at the funeral of the late President Joaquin Balaguer.

He said his meeting with Gov. Calderon was cordial and he was impressed she introduced him to her Dominican-American assistant who coordinates outreach programs for foreign residents.

Fernandez said he enjoyed his visit to the UPR and the exchanges he had there with students and faculty, as well as the discussion he had with President Garcia Padilla on expanding cooperation between the UPR and the Global Foundation for Democracy & Development in Santo Domingo.

He expressed his appreciation to Mayor Santini for his programs to assist Dominican residents of the capital city and for the "fine job the San Juan Municipal Police performed in coordinating the security arrangements for my visit."

Good exchange with business community at the PRCC

Fernandez was the guest of honor at a luncheon sponsored by the PRCC’s president, Hector Mayol, and board members and attended by 100 businesspeople. "It was a pleasure to discuss with businesspeople the opportunities and challenges that exist in the relationship between the D.R. and Puerto Rico," said Fernandez. "Many of them have a direct working relationship with the D.R., and it is people like this who have made the relationship what it is today. I want to see more of that occur, and I pledged to President Mayol to assist him and his members expand this already significant relationship in as many ways as possible."

The San Juan PLD chapter hosted Fernandez at a fund-raising dinner at Club Tropimar in Isla Verde on his last evening in San Juan.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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