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Isaac lashes Caribbean as it heads toward Florida

admin | 8/24/2012, 8:21 a.m.

In theDominican Republic, authorities began to evacuate people living in low-lying areas but encountered some resistance.

"Nobody wants to leave their homes for fear they'll get robbed," said Francisco Mateo, community leader of the impoverished La Cienaga neighborhood in Santo Domingo, the capital.

The approach of the storm led military authorities at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to cancel pretrial hearings for five prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks. They also evacuated about 200 people, including legal teams and relatives of Sept. 11 victims.

Isaac also posed a threat to next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, where 70,000 delegates, journalists and protesters are expected to descend on the city.

Convention officials said they were working closely with state and federal authorities on monitoring the storm.

"We continue to move forward with our planning and look forward to a successful convention," convention CEO William Harris said in a statement.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said RNC officials had consulted with state, local and federal authorities and there were no plans to cancel the convention.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said some outside agencies that had planned to send officers to help with convention security in Tampa might be forced to keep them home to deal with a storm.

"My primary concern right now is that we will lose resources," he said

Out in the eastern Atlantic, another tropical storm, Joyce, formed over the open water, but forecasters said it posed no immediate threat to land. The U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami said that the storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and that it was becoming disorganized.

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Associated Press writers Trenton Daniel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Tamara Lush in Tampa; Steve Peoples in Washington; and Ezequiel Abiu Lopez in Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic, contributed to this report.