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Governor Suggests Navy Practice Elsewhere

Vieques Mayor Gets 4 Months In Prison

Calderon Won’t Consider Language Law

Harlem Heavies To Endorse Ferrer

NPP To Begin Statehood Program

NATO Maneuvers Denounced

Burgos Released

20 Days For Olmos

De Castro Font Will Not Defend Himself

Calderon Suggests Navy Conduct Practices In Alternative Sites

August 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon suggested Tuesday that the U.S. Navy conduct its next military practices in one of the alternative sites already identified in its August 2000 report.

Calderon made the suggestion in a letter sent to Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in response to his letter sent at the beginning of the month.

"The Navy should pay attention to the demands of the people of Vieques and conduct their future military practices in the identified alternative sites in August 2000, while they identify a permanent alternative site to Vieques," she said in the letter.

She also reminded England that the Navy has not complied with the limits established by the local Noise Prohibition Law of 2001 and the U.S. Noise Law of 1972.

Vieques Mayor Sentenced to 120 Days

August 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A federal judge has sentenced the mayor of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques to 120 days in prison for trespassing on military lands to protest U.S. Navy bombing on Vieques.

The sentence given to Damaso Serrano was the longest handed down by the federal courts in San Juan against a first-time offender arrested during Vieques protests.

Puerto Rico Gov. Sila Maria Calderon immediately issued a statement criticizing the sentence as ``excessive.''

``The sentence of four months given to the mayor of Vieques is excessive compared to others handed down by ... the same court,'' said Calderon. ``(Serrano's) only crime was to struggle for the peace and well-being of his people.''

U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Castellanos argued that Serrano, as the island's leader, was inciting others to commit crimes by trespassing on Navy lands during bombing exercises in late April. By imposing the stiff sentence, Castellanos said he was ``preventing that Vieques become a place of anarchy.''

Calderon Will Not Consider Language Law This Term

August 13, 2001
Copyright © 2001 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc. All rights reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

San Juan - Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon on Sunday said she will not consider any law that would establish Spanish as the island's only official language, much less include such a provision in the Constitution, during her four-year term in office.

Last week, the head of the Senate, Antonio Fas Alzamora, proposed a referendum to decide whether or not to amend the Constitution and establish Spanish as the only official language in Puerto Rico.

"This government has never considered any such proposal, and it is not a priority," Calderon said in a press release.

"In addition, it is a highly divisive issue at a time like this when the Puerto Rican people want and need unity," she said.

Currently, both English and Spanish are considered official languages, although less than half of all Puerto Ricans use English on a daily basis, or even understand it.

The governor said that it is not her public policy to underestimate or attack English, "or elevate Spanish to the constitutional level."

The two languages "have lived together in Puerto Rico for more than a century ... and are a part of our idiosyncrasy and therefore deserve our respect," the governor said.

"Spanish is our language. There is no threat to its preeminence in Puerto Rico," she said, adding that her government "is committed to developing the bilingual Puerto Rican."

Harlem Heavies To Endorse Ferrer


August 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Daily News, L.P. All rights reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

Harlem's top political leaders agreed yesterday to throw their support in the mayor's race to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

The decision, which was orchestrated by Rep. Charles Rangel (D- Harlem), will be formally announced Friday at a Harlem press conference - the very day that the Rev. Al Sharpton is to be released from a federal jail.

The backing of Harlem's leaders no doubt will strengthen Ferrer's chances in the Democratic primary against Public Advocate Mark Green, who has been the front-runner all year.

NPP To Begin Program To Educate About Statehood

August 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Being certain that there is a political willingness in Washington to hold a status plebiscite, the New Progressive Party (NPP) will start an educational program about statehood to be known as `Statehood Mission'.

According to NPP President Leo Diaz Urbina, the program seeks to train leaders and at the same time convince the people to support that choice of status.

Puerto Rican Group Denounces NATO Military Maneuvers In Vieques

by Pedro Bosque Perez

August 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.. All rights reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico - A leader of the protests against U.S. Navy war games on Vieques said Saturday that demonstrators will stage more civil disobedience during next month's maneuvers, which reportedly will include delegations from other NATO countries.

Jose Paralitici, spokesman for the Coordinadora Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques (CTPRV) group, said the Navy plans to carry out military exercises on the island in September and November, "which will be fought with ... civil disobedience."

According to Paralitici, other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries could participate in the September maneuvers, and he said his group will lobby legislators in European countries "so that they desist from coming here and bombing Vieques ."

Norma Burgos Released From Jail

August 12, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party Sen. Norma Burgos was released from jail Saturday morning after the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston agreed to study the legality of an extended sentence of 20 days imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Hector Laffite.

Burgos, who favors U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico was sentenced to 40 days in jail, which ended Saturday, for trespassing on U.S. Navy land in Vieques.

During the senator's July 6 trial, Burgos berated Laffite for the unjust sentences imposed on protesters, which motivated an intense argument between the two and the increase of 20 additional days to her sentence.

This decision was reversed Friday by the Appellate Court, who ordered Burgos' release. However, the senator was not immediately released since the prison authorities said only 39 of her 40-day sentence was completed Friday.

Vieques Tactics Bring Olmos 20 Days In Cell

By Iván Román | San Juan Bureau

August 11, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A federal judge, calling Edward James Olmos' actions a "dangerous example," sentenced the actor Friday to 20 days behind bars for running onto the U.S. Navy's target range in Vieques in April and disrupting bombing exercises.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Dominguez said he usually sentences protesters who go onto the target range as human shields to 30 days, but Olmos' acceptance of the facts was a mitigating factor. Going onto the target range goes beyond free speech and is perilous, the judge said.

"That is a dangerous example to set," Dominguez said. "As a federal judge, I must also attempt to deter."

De Castro Font Will Not Defend Himself Before PDP

August 10, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Rep. Jorge de Castro Font said Friday that he will not appear before the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Governing Board to defend himself after being summarily suspended from the party in what he said was an action lacking "justice, fairness, and democracy."

De Castro Font was summarily suspended Thursday from the PDP after a unanimous decision was issued by the PDP Governing Board, which met at party headquarters in Puerta de Tierra.

The PDP lawmaker has been a staunch critic of Gov. Sila Calderon's administration and has recently associated with leaders of the New Progressive Party (NPP), going as far as saying that he did not "know what party I'll belong to" in 2004.

De Castro Font reiterated that he will continue to criticize the PDP's actions, which he has done all his life, and which he said earned him the suspension.

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