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Calderon Proposes New Vote On Status

NPP: Status Issue Belongs In D.C.

Governor Calls On Viequenses To Vote

No Pro- Or Anti-Navy Messages At Barbosa Activities

Over 5,000 Registered For Referendum

England Warns Of Referendum’s Effects


Puerto Ricans To Vote Again On Political Status, Gov Says

July 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

HUMACAO, Puerto Rico (AP)--Speaking to thousands celebrating the island's commonweath status, Puerto Rico 's governor on Wednesday said that residents would be given another opportunity to vote on whether they want independence, statehood, or the status quo.

Sila M. Calderon, elected last year under an anti-statehood campaign, said a commission would be formed to look into the best method for islanders to express their opinions on their political status. Options include another referendum or plebiscite.

The vote would likely take place next year as part of the 50th anniversary of the island's becoming an American commonwealth. The measure would be nonbinding without congressional approval.

"Let us not wait for others to do it for us," Calderon said in Humacao, during the celebration of the 49th anniversary of the Commonwealth Constitution.

She said the commission would be formed as soon as Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios is released from federal prison, where he is serving a four-month sentence for trespassing on U.S Navy land in Vieques.

A series of nonbinding votes, the latest in 1998, have failed to attract enough supporters to upgrade ties to full statehood. A small minority of Puerto Ricans support full independence but the majority has always voted to keep the island's commonwealth status.

Calderon also urged Vieques inhabitants to vote in Sunday's nonbinding referendum on whether the U.S. Navy should continue using the Puerto Rican island as a bombing range.

"Viequenses have to express their desire to have bombings stop now," Calderon told about 10,000 people.


NPP To Limit Participation In Unity And Consensus Commission

July 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - In response to Gov. Sila Calderon's call for the creation of a Unity and Consensus Commission, New Progressive Party (NPP) President Leo Diaz said Thursday that he would limit his participation to communicating the stance of his political party.

During a radio interview, Diaz said the institutional position of the NPP regarding the status issue is that "it is an issue that must begin to be discussed in Washington."

"We won't be discussing the status of Puerto Rico for several months and years to finally go to Washington. Why not start where we should?"

The former representatives was emphatic when stating that he won't participate in a process that may be used to manipulate or postpone the attention that should be given to the status issue.

He also said he believed the governor is trying to play with the status issue, just as she has done with many other issues, but that the NPP will try to prevent Calderon from postponing it and from creating false expectations among the people.


Governor Calls On Viequenses To Vote

July 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon urged Viequenses to vote in the referendum on Sunday "without fear and from their heart."

"Even though it is a vote that is legally non binding, it is a vote that has moral force," the governor said Thursday in a press conference at La Fortaleza.

She said Sunday's vote "has nothing to do with our relationship with and loyalty to the United States."

She reiterated that the referendum's results will be sent to President George W. Bush.


No Pro- Or Anti-Navy Messages At Barbosa Activities

July 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party (NPP) President Leo Diaz Urbina warned that no NPP leader is authorized to use the activity to commemorate the birthday of Jose Celso Barbosa to promote any of the options of Sunday's referendum in Vieques.

He reiterated that the NPP does not recognize the local referendum called by Gov. Sila Calderon.

He said NPP leaders, including former Gov. Carlos Romero Barcelo, have promoted the Navy's permanence and use of live fire, but that it is their personal position and they should assume responsibility for it.

In related matters, Diaz Urbina said he would be the main speaker during the Barbosa activity, which will be attended by one of President George W. Bush's main advisors.

However, he refused to identify the official or the theme of his message.

Likewise, he declined to speculate whether attendance to Friday's activities will exceed that for the July 4th activity in San Juan.


More Than 5,000 Registered For Sunday's Vieques Referendum

July 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - State Elections Commission President Juan R. Melecio said 5,893 people have registered to participate Sunday in the local referendum in Vieques about the future of the U.S. Navy's presence in that island municipality.

In published reports, Melecio said the voting will begin Friday with the votes of inmates. There are 34 Viequenses in local prisons and a smaller undetermined number in the federal one.

Melecio said preliminary results of the referendum should be available by 5 p.m. Sunday.


U.S. Navy Secretary Warns About Effects Of Referendum

July 24, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gordon England warned that the "good will" that exists in the U.S. Congress toward Puerto Rico could be considerably jeopardized if Viequenses vote in favor of ousting the Navy from that municipality.

According to published reports, England made the statement Monday before

A Defense appropriations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives where he answered questions together with Chief of Navy Operations Adm. Vern Clark about the consequences of the Navy's exit from Vieques.

While Clark reiterated the threat to the Roosevelt Roads Navy Base in

Ceiba, and to other military installations on the island, England said there could be greater consequences in the relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

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