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NPP: Island Is In State Of 'Anarchy'

Poll: Residents Want Navy Out

Statehood Feud Still Dominant

Reservists Called For Kosovo Duty

Calderon Won't Defend Death Penalty Decision

Riot Squad To Leave Vieques


House NPP Delegation: Island Is In State Of `Anarchy'

By Proviana Colon Diaz

February 5, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

The House of Representatives New Progressive Party (NPP) delegation on Monday complained that the island's government is in a state of "anarchy" in which the "slowness" of the legislative process has given the Calderon administration a feeling of being "provisional."

Minority Leader Edison Misla Aldarondo criticized Gov. Sila Calderon for failing to file legislation to fulfill her campaign promises, and he lambasted the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) majority in the House for being divided.

"There is an absence of government. Therefore, there is a state of anarchy. On one side, we have a governor with no power to make important decisions, and a Legislature that says: `I'm the boss here,' but fails to do its work," Misla Aldarondo.

Calderon gave a speech before a joint session of the Legislature last month to announce the filing of about 20 priority administration measures.

Misla Aldarondo denounced that while Calderon was giving her speech, thousands of island residents were being left without jobs as the companies for which they worked closed down and the governor failed to do anything to protect them.

"Where is the legislation regarding the campaign promise of one job per household, the economic proposals, the promises for public workers?" Misla Aldarondo said.

The minority leader not only criticized Calderon but his PDP colleagues, who he said are failing to do their job.


P.R. And Vieques Residents Want Navy Out

February 5th, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Most people in the greater island of Puerto Rico and the island municipality of Vieques want the Navy to leave by 2003, according to a poll published Monday.

The poll showed 53% of Puerto Rico residents would vote for the Navy to leave in 2003 compared to 46% of those in Vieques who would vote that way. About 18% in both areas said they want the Navy to leave immediately.

In Vieques, another 18% said they would vote to allow the Navy to stay in exchange for $50 million in financial aid, while only 11% of Puerto Rico residents would vote that way.

Up to 17% of Vieques residents said they were unsure of how they would vote. That compares to 9% in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, most Vieques residents believe they should be the ones to vote on whether the U.S. Navy gets to stay in their island municipality, residents of the greater island of Puerto Rico also want to participate in the referendum.

The poll showed 62% of Puerto Rico residents believe the referendum should not be limited to Vieques residents alone.

In Vieques, 70% of respondents said only they should participate in the referendum.

The poll in Puerto Rico was carried out by Kaagan Research Associates by surveying 1,000 residents. In Vieques, Stanford Klapper Associates interviewed 300 people.

The poll's margin of error is 3% for the larger sample.


Statehood Feud Still Dominant

Ivan Roman, San Juan Bureau

February 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001
The Orlando Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Is highlighting and defending Puerto Rican identity and culture incompatible with fighting for the island to become the 51st state of the United States?

Singer-songwriter Rafi Escudero says no. That's why he's running for president of the pro- statehood New Progressive Party against the odds-on favorite, former Rep. Leo Diaz.

But Escudero and his message, promoted by more liberal forces in the party, don't seem to be getting a fair shake in a party still consumed by a power struggle resulting from its defeat in last year's elections.

"We as a party have to say clearly that there is a compatibility between being and feeling Puerto Rican, celebrating that, and feeling deeply proud that we are U.S. citizens when we are born," Escudero said.

Party leaders are talking less about that and more about who put him up to it. Diaz refused to come to a candidates' meeting called by interim NPP President Norma Burgos, who has become persona non grata over questions about her loyalty and her collaboration with political foes on the Vieques issue.

Diaz accused her of getting Escudero to run to dash the image of a party united behind his candidacy. Some in the NPP persuaded Diaz, who didn't run for re-election, to run for president to block Burgos. After a swirling controversy, Burgos and others bowed and left Diaz alone in the field.

But then Escudero, who has also criticized the NPP's more conservative stance on Vieques and its reluctance to criticize the U.S. government, stepped up.


Army Reservists From Puerto Rico Called For Duty In Kosovo

February 3, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Dozens of Puerto Rican U.S. Army reservists have begun training for a mission to Kosovo and will soon depart for the Balkans, military officials said Friday.

The 29 reservists are medical officers and ambulance drivers from a company based at the Fort Buchanan army base, said Pedro Silva, Army Reserve spokesman. They are now receiving training on how to handle the cold weather in Kosovo, he said.

They are to join about 30 other Puerto Rican reservists already serving as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in the Serbian province, where ethnic tensions have continued to provoke violence more than 1 1/2 years after NATO ended its 78-day air war. The bombing campaign was intended to force former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

Silva did not specify when the new reservists would leave but said it would be within the next few weeks. There are about 9,000 U.S. troops serving in the Balkans.


Calderon Won't Defend Casellas' Death Penalty Decision

February 3, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The administration of Gov. Sila Calderon will not intervene in a federal case on the constitutionality of the application of the death penalty in Puerto Rico.

Based on the Commonwealth Constitution, U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Casellas ruled that the death penalty cannot be applied in Puerto Rico in federal jurisdiction cases. His ruling was appealed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Justice Secretary-designate Anabelle Rodriguez said the appeals process was too advanced for them to join it now.

In its appeal before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the DOJ argued that the death penalty in federal crime cases is applicable to Puerto Rico because federal laws generally supersede local laws.


Riot Squad To Leave Vieques When Military Practices Restart

February 2, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Police Superintendent Pierre Vivoni said he plans to remove the Riot Squad from Vieques on March 9 when the U.S. Navy notified that it would restart its military training, according to published reports.

He declined to give further details, stating that Gov. Sila Calderon would do so at a later time.

Vivoni also declined to say what unit will replace the Riot Squad, which has been deployed at the gate of Camp Garcia since May 2000.

A Navy spokesman declined to comment on when military training would resume.

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