US presses to observe Dominican Republic voting, defends gay envoy
Santo Domingo.- US Assistant deputy secretary for the WesternHemisphere, Juan Gonzalez on Friday urged Dominican Republic’s authorities to allowinternational observers for the May 15 general elections, and also defended thebeleaguered gay US envoy.
After a National Palace meeting with president DaniloMedina, the US official told reporters that the Caribbean country "mustshow the world that in this process the votes of all its citizens count." "TheUnited States always opens the door to international observers, that’s our experienceand is very common around the world, and what we hope is that DominicanRepublic does likewise"
The US Embassy had asked the Central Electoral Board (JCE) onMarch 23, to accredit 26 US diplomats as observers in the elections, but wasturned down and instead announced this week that foreign diplomats canparticipate as guests only.
Reiterates defense of gay US envoy
The senior US official also defended the work by USambassador James W. Brewster, whose activism for the LGBT community has metwith often scathing rebuke from various sectors of Dominican society.
Gonzalez said he addressed other issues with Medina, particularlyimmigration, on which he acknowledged the government commitment to respect forhuman rights.