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513 Capitol Court, NE, Suite 200

Washington, DC 20002

202-546-3060 202-546-3380 Fax

Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US

Press Release

FOR RELEASE -April 9, 2001

Contact Jose Aponte: 202-546-3060



Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US considers Hypocritical

Governor George Pataki’s latest Actions concerning Puerto Rico

Washington, D.C. - The Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US (CEF), a non-profit, non-partisan organization seeking federal legislation that would ensure Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination, today announced its indignation at New York Governor George E. Pataki’s attempt to secure his re-election bid by using the current Vieques controversy to appease the New York Puerto Rican community. While the Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US is not opposed to Governor Pataki expressing his opinion concerning the fate of Naval operations in Vieques, failing to link it with the underlining problem of Puerto Rico’s unresolved political status, is a slap on the face and an insult to the collective intelligence of New York’s Puerto Rican community.

"This is a controversy that has been constantly in the news since 1999. Where was the Governor’s outrage then", said Jose E. Aponte, Executive Director of the Citizens’ Educational Foundation. Mr. Aponte also served as an Assistant for Hispanic Affairs for Governor Pataki between 1999 and 2000. "In a state where over one million Puerto Ricans reside, it was made clear to me that we would not be dealing with any Puerto Rico issues. While I welcome any change that helps foster relations between Puerto Rico and New York State, the Governor fails to address the self-determination issue in any serious way," states Mr. Aponte.

"We are going to hold Governor Pataki to his word when he states that, "New York and Puerto Rico are very united," Mr. Aponte said. Additionally, the Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US will be organizing a local chapter for Puerto Rico Self-Determination with the purpose of not only organizing all those New Yorkers who are supportive of Puerto Rico self-determination, but also to hold local politicians accountable for any role they partake propagating a political status that makes tolerable a colonial condition based on permanent disenfranchisement and less than full and equal empowerment.

"It is time that Puerto Rican communities across the nation demand respect from their local leaders," Jose Aponte said. "If Governor Pataki believes that he could win the support of the New York Puerto Rican community in time for his upcoming re-election bid by speaking out on Vieques, two years after the current controversy began, without discussing its link to the unresolved nature of Puerto Rico’s political status, he is in for a very big disappointment. Various members of the New York State Assembly have already spoken about the need for the United States Congress to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status," Jose Aponte said. "Why does the Governor then refuse to even address this issue?"

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