Dominican Republic

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Presidential elections were held in the Dominican Republic May 16. Since then, the country has undergone a deep political crisis that has heightened differences amongvarious sectors, duly noted by the press. The media have, however, continued exercising their right to report and comment without hindrance. In the aftermath of the elections, Foreign Affairs Minister J.A. Taveras Guzmán, apparently annoyed at the critical tone of sorne foreign press reports, issued a communiqué recalling that defamation and libel are punishable offenses under Dominican law. Several correspondents of foreign newspapers and news agencies, followed by sorne local journalists, protested the minister's action, saying they considered it undue interference in the excercise of press freedom. The situation shortly thereafter returned to normal and the minister's warning was soon forgotten. Sorne weeks before the elections, Narciso González (Nardsazo), a university professor and columnist for a provincial weekly, was reported missing in Santo Domingo. Officals say the inddent remains under investigation. Theories abound, as he is a controversial writer known for his opposition to President Joaquín Balaguer's administration.