Berrios Returns To Jail
Bush Defends Bombing
Status Task Force Extended
Navy Lands Transferred
Vatican Intervention Sought
Talks May Resume
Vieques Alternatives Sought
Gutierrez Faces Primary
PIP President Returns To Jail
May 1, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios may have to serve six months in jail after being accused Tuesday for trespassing, for the second time, on the U.S. Navy's restricted area in Vieques.
Berrios was admitted to the Federal Detention Center in Guaynabo following a judicial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Jesus Castellanos on Tuesday morning, in which the PIP leader chose not to acknowledge the federal court's jurisdiction or justify his participation in civil disobedience acts on Vieques.
According to PIP Sen. Fernando Martin, the maximum sentence for second offenders is six months in jail.
President Bush Defends Navy Exercises
May 1, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - President George W. Bush reaffirmed that the U.S. Navy needs to be well trained to guarantee the preparation of the U.S. Armed Forces and to guarantee national defense, according to published reports.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the president "wants to make sure the troops can carry out their duties, which consists of protecting the peace."
Fleischer added that the president's priority is "to make sure the troops receive the training they need."
"And the line of responsibility for making certain that our troops are able to carry out their missions falls to the Department of Defense," added Fleischer.
White House Executive Order: Extension Of The President's Task Force On Puerto Rico's Status
April 30, 2001
WASHINGTON - The following was released today by the White House:
AMENDMENT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 13183, ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT'S TASK FORCE ON PUERTO RICO'S STATUS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to extend by 3 months the time in which the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status is to report to the President as directed in Executive Order 13183 of December 23, 2000, it is hereby ordered that section 4 of Executive Order 13183 is amended by deleting "May 1, 2001" and inserting in lieu thereof "August 1, 2001."
GEORGE W. BUSH
U.S. Navy Lands Officially Transferred To Vieques
By Proviana Colon Diaz
April 30, 2001
VIEQUES In a press release issued by the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy's Installations and Facilities Duncan Holaday informed that the transfer of the 8,148 acres of Navy land located at the western end of Vieques to the island municipality's local government, the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, and the Department of the Interior was done as required by federal law.
"This is an important step in sustaining a long-term, cooperative relationship with the people of Vieques," Holaday said. The Municipality of Vieques is receiving 4,248 acres in the interest of promoting timely economic development of the property and to promote employment opportunities."
The Navy is also transferring 3,100 acres to the Department of the Interior. The property will be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency under the Department of the Interior, and will serve as a wildlife refuge under the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966.
Community leader Alba Encarnacion urged Vieques Vice Mayor Henry Gonzalez, to sign the transfer of the 4,000 acres of land from the Navy to the municipality.
Sources had said that it was Gonzalez's intentions not to sign on the transfer until a halting in the military practices occurred, because "no peace agreement are signed in times of war", which according to him is the case of Vieques.
"I ask, Henry [Gonzalez] to sign that paper and give the people of Vieques the opportunity to see those lands," said Encarnacion.
Puerto Rico Asks For Vatican Intervention In Vieques Bombing
April 29, 2001
VATICAN CITY - Puerto Rico 's governor has asked Pope John Paul II to intervene to stop the U.S. Navy bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques .
Puerto Rican Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado gave the pope a letter from Gov. Sila Calderon during a meeting at the Vatican on Sunday. Mercado was in Rome to attend the beatification of the first layman from Puerto Rico , Carlos Manuel Rodriguez.
Archbishop of San Juan Roberto Gonzalez Nieves, who was also at St. Peter's for the ceremony, said in a radio interview broadcast in Puerto Rico that the letter had been delivered.
"These steps are part of a process" to attract global attention to the situation on Vieques , Gonzalez Nieves said.
Calderon canceled her trip to Rome for the ceremony because the Navy began renewed exercises on Vieques over the weekend.
Talks On Vieques May Resume After This Week's Exercises
April 27, 2001
Washington - The Pentagon and the government of Puerto Rico may be heading back to the negotiating table soon to resolve the issue of the U.S. Navy bombing exercises on the island of Vieques , which resumed Friday.
The court ruling that allowed military maneuvers to go on as planned did not give the Pentagon carte blanche on the matter. On the contrary, it may force the United States to engage in talks with the Puerto Rican government regarding future drills.
DOD To Examine Alternative Approaches To Vieques
April 27, 2001
As notified to the government of Puerto Rico , the Navy is proceeding with a short training exercise at the naval training range on Vieques by its forces en route to the Arabian Gulf. While there, our forces, along with those of our allies, will be conducting surface patrols and flying combat missions for the protection of vital American interests in that region.
The Department of Defense is committed to seeing that our men and women in uniform are properly trained to meet their missions. At the same time, the Department of Defense shares the concerns of all U.S. citizens including the citizens of Puerto Rico and the people of Vieques about the potential effects of training on the health and safety of our citizens and the environment. The Department of Defense will ensure that all military training conducted by its components is in full compliance with established federal law and regulation, and is protective of the environment and the health of local populations. In accordance with previous agreements, the Navy will not be using live ordnance for training; it will continue to support the health studies underway; and it is prepared to work with Governor Calderon and the government of Puerto Rico to ensure that the Clinton-Rossello agreement benefits the residents of Vieques , those who fish in the nearby waters, and the island's envir! ! ! onment.
Further, the Navy will continue to examine alternative approaches to training that would permit it to reduce the need for Vieques to the absolute minimum necessary beyond May 2003.
As before, we look forward to the continued cooperation of the people and government of Puerto Rico in providing adequate security for the Navy to conduct the training that is so critical for the safety and proficiency of our armed forces. For the time being, the effectiveness of our deployed naval forces and the safety of our men and women in uniform depend on the continued limited use of the Vieques naval training range.
Gutierrez Faces Primary
April 27, 2001
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has represented a majority- Hispanic district in Chicago for most of the past decade, is facing the prospect of a primary challenge next year by attorney Marty Castro, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Castro, who was born and raised in Chicago, is a former appointee of Mayor Richard Daley to the Chicago Library Board. Gutierrez has often been at odds with Daley's political organization.
Castro also is a fundraiser for--among others--Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. Durbin's son, Paul, is a law partner of Castro.
Castro said he wants to be "about building bridges and not burning them"--a not-very-veiled reference to Gutierrez's outspoken style. Responded Gutierrez, "I will make my voice known."