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No Change In Vieques Policy
Training To Continue

DEA Falsified Arrests

Beijing To Host Ruiz-Holyfield Rematch

Closing Of Bases May Cause $B Losses

Statehood Effort Goes On Offensive

Bush: Vieques Agreement Could Be Better



May 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All rights reserved.

QUIGLEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

QUESTION: OK. On Vieques , during an interview with Univision for the Cinco de Mayo, the president seemed to hint at a willingness to negotiate a new deal. He said that he inherited the problem, that the government of Puerto Rico -- at least he said doesn't support the agreement, that the Navy will have to leave in a reasonable amount of time. Does this reflect a change in policy?

QUIGLEY: I don't think so. I mean, I won't try to parse the president's words. But, I mean, we have announced that we are continuing to look at alternative sites for training. And we would do our very best to try to find alternative sites after the May 2003 time frame.

But in the near term, there are no alternatives that we are aware of that would provide the type of training that provide so much value to our uniformed service members, principally sailors and Marines, that they find on Vieques .

QUESTION: As a follow-up, has the president indicated that the Navy should leave Vieques without the referendum in which the people of Vieques will decide the future of the Navy presence?

QUIGLEY:Not that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of any follow-on discussions subsequent to his interview.

QUESTION: Has the White House indicated that there should be talks with the government of Puerto Rico to end the training immediately or limit it further than what already exists?

QUIGLEY:Same answer: Not that I'm aware of.

QUESTION: Back to Vieques , on March 9, there was a report that the secretary was due to send to the White House in terms of how the Navy was going to conduct live fire training throughout May 1, 2003. Has that report ever left the department to the White House?

QUIGLEY: I don't think so. I think it is still in the process here.

QUESTION: And does the department continue to have at least the goal to conduct the training throughout 2003 as provided by the agreement?

QUIGLEY: Well, you know, we will comply with the law. And the law currently states that there will be a referendum this November, and depending on the outcome of the referendum, then that will describe the course of action in the future past that point.

QUESTION: That would include training prior to the referendum as scheduled for the next battle group rotation?



DEA Agents: San Juan Office Falsified Arrests


May 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 THE MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON -- The Drug Enforcement Administration's Caribbean office routinely falsified its claims of drug arrests and seizures for at least three years, according to five present or former agents who worked there.

Agents in the DEA's office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, claimed credit for hundreds of arrests that were in fact made by local police, the agents told The Herald's Washington Bureau. A former supervisor estimated that 70 percent of the arrests the DEA claimed from 1998 through 2000 were phony.

``It got so bad,'' said the former supervisor, ``that agents were checking the newspapers every day to see who was arrested so they could go get the information and transfer it onto DEA arrest cards.''

The DEA office in San Juan investigates substantial drug cases in Puerto Rico and supervises DEA agents who provide information about drug activity in other Caribbean nations. Top DEA officials use arrest figures to measure the performance of an office and its leadership, and higher numbers can lead to more resources for that office. In the San Juan office, for example, arrest numbers tripled in the late 1990s and the staff size doubled.

In a brief interview May 3, DEA administrator Donnie Marshall said an internal investigation of ``all the issues'' involving questionable arrests in San Juan was under way. He said it would be ``inappropriate'' to comment until the review was completed.


Beijing To Host Ruiz-Holyfield Rematch


May 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved.

According to Don King, east is east and west is west, and the two will finally meet at ringside. King, the boxing promoter, said yesterday that John Ruiz and Evander Holyfield will fight a rematch in Beijing in August for the World Boxing Association heavyweight title, and that the winner of that bout will most likely fight Hasim Rahman to unify the division.

This is the first time a world heavyweight title bout is being held in China, and it is expected to be the largest boxing event in China's history.

"This opens up the heavyweight division to do the same thing we're doing for the middleweight division," King said yesterday at a news conference in Manhattan that was also attended by Rahman, Ruiz and Holyfield. "Let the crème de la crème rise to the top for the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."

Ruiz has fought Holyfield twice. He won the W.B.A. belt from Holyfield in Las Vegas in March after losing their first bout last August in a controversial 12-round decision.


Closing Of Military Bases May Cause Billion-Dollar Losses

May 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - If the Roosevelt Roads and Fort Buchanan bases in Ceiba and Puerto Nuevo respectively are closed, Puerto Rico could lose $1.15 billion in economic activity and 5,380 workers could be out of a job, according to the numbers given by local veterans.

It was indicated in published reports, that the veterans who gave those numbers, based on military reports, are concerned for the possible closing of these military bases if the U.S. Navy loses the Nov. 6 referendum that will decide its future on the island municipality of Vieques.

The same concern was expressed last week by former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo, who said members of the Congress have stated that they will consider presenting legislation to close the military bases if Gov. Sila Calderon's administration continues the pressure towards the immediate cease of the Navy bombings on Vieques.


Statehood Effort Goes On Offensive

Ivan Roman, San Juan Bureau

May 13, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN -- With every report on CNN showing irate crowds in Vieques tearing down the U.S. Navy's fence, some leaders of the New Progressive Party see their hopes for statehood slip further and further away.

So they've decided to fight back by doing some intensive damage control.

Three NPP legislators flew to Washington last week to try to convince national newspapers and members of Congress that the hundreds of protesters who obstructed the Navy's exercises on its target range don't represent most Puerto Ricans . Neither does the local government's hard line against the bombing, they say.

"There's an impression in Washington that there is an anti- American wave in Puerto Rico ," said former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo. "The party is working out a strategy to send a different message."

The NPP picked July as the month to reaffirm U.S. citizenship and a permanent union with the United States. It stands to be a replay of last year when, reacting to a massive march, the NPP held its own pro-U.S. rally.

NPP leaders criticize Gov. Sila Maria Calderon, who backs the island's current commonwealth status, for letting herself be used by pro-independence activists as she confronts Washington and sues the Navy to stop the bombings.


Bush Hints At Willingness To Strike A New Vieques Deal


May 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. All rights reserved.

President Bush has signaled his willingness to strike a new deal with Puerto Rico over the future of the Navy's bombing range on Vieques Island, telling a predominately Hispanic audience that "the Navy needs to find another base" for its Atlantic training exercises.

"We've got to continue working to find a proper solution. . . because the agreement that was reached before evidently is not satisfactory with the current government of Puerto Rico," Bush said.

The president's remarks, which were not formally released by the White House, stopped well short of meeting Gov. Sila M. Calderon's demand that the Navy immediately stop using the Vieques range. But Calderon's office in Washington said she was "encouraged" and hopes for a new dialogue with the administration on the issue.

"The President's statement shows that he's paying attention," said Gov. Calderon, who has demanded an immediate end to bombing on the Puerto Rican island. "I trust we can resolve this situation very soon."

Bush's remarks were made last week in an interview broadcast on Univision, a network geared toward Hispanic audiences.

"The ideal solution would be to, in the reasonable amount of time, find a new base for the Navy to practice in," Bush said on the show. He gave no timeframe for such a solution.

The Navy has looked for an alternative site for its war games, but has not yet found one, according to spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon.

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