Opposition leader counters, but digs new hole
Santo Domingo.- Ex president Hipólito Mejía yesterday countered attacks on his campaign by providing copies to the media of a check for RD$500,000 allegedly written May 6, 2004, by the extraditable Oscar Ezequiel Rodriguez, to president Leonel Fernandez, but opened a new front lauding alleged virtues of Rafael Trujillo’s bloody dictatorship.
The check of the Popular Bank had been given to Fernandez as a contribution to that year’s campaign in which he beat Mejía, then seeking reelection.
Also handed out as an attached document was a copy of a card allegedly inviting the extraditable to a reception in the National Palace, for the handover ceremony to Fernandez.
On Tuesday Mejía pledged to disclose the check to the media, after newspaper Listin broke the case Monday, that the extraditable, wanted by the U.S. on drug charges, headed an organization which supports his candidacy.
Mejía said despite the Trujillo dictatorship’s many evils “as everywhere,” there were also many good things, such as mandatory military service. “I was in the mandatory military service, and I wanted to be in the mandatory military service but my people convinced me that that was the of the Chief, I believe that there are many things of the Chief which are needed, I am not of those who have the pathology of freedom and that everything of the Chief is bad, I don’t believe that. There were bad things as everywhere, but there were many good things.”
The statements have roiled the country’s morning radio and TV talk shows, especially because Mejia’s statements came during a gathering of retired generals and admirals including Rafael Betances Nivar, José María Pérez Bello, Juan Bautista Rojas Tabar, Héctor Lizardo Jorge and Julio Ramos Troncoso, who handed him a plaque.