Poll: Too Much Attention To Vieques, Keep English & Spanish
P.R. Cant Join CSA
Estrada: Govt Has Abandoned Vieques Fight
Next Bombing Set
Navy: Assigns $3.5M For Ad Campaign, To Transfer Referendum Funds To SEC
Calderon Meets With Anti-Navy Leaders
Poll: Too Much Attention Been Given To Vieques, English And Spanish Should Be Island's Official Languages
September 11, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The majority of the Puerto Ricans surveyed in a poll published in El Nuevo Dia showed concern that too much attention has been given to the Vieques issue, instead of other problems such as improving the economy and fighting against crime.
Seventy-six percent of those consulted in a sample of 1,000 people over 18 years old from all over the island, excluding the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, expressed this general concern.
The survey was carried out from Aug. 17-30 by Kaagan Research Associates and has a margin of error of 3%.
On a related issue, 49% believes that the fight to oust the U.S. Navy from Vieques has deteriorated the relationship between the U.S. and the island, while 43% believes that the situation remains stable.
In a 56% to 36% result, the Puerto Ricans surveyed believe that the status issue should be put aside for a while.
The survey also revealed that there is a widespread pessimism among Puerto Rico residents, that they have little faith on the approval of the amendment to Section 956 in Congress, and that English and Spanish should be the island's official languages.
52% believe that Gov. Sila Calderon will succeed in convincing the U.S. Congress to vote in favor of the bill proposing the amendment to Section 956. 52%, while 30% thinks she won't, and 18% thinks she will get less than she had requested.
65% of the surveyed people believes that the island is going through "difficult and serious problems," while 34% thinks that the current problems are not worse than those from previous times.
It also revealed that 83% believes English and Spanish should be kept as the official languages of the island, while 16% wanted Spanish to be the sole official language.
U.S. Prevents Island From Joining Caribbean States Association
September 10, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Kenneth McClintock announced Monday that the U.S. Department of State declined a request from Gov. Sila Calderon to allow Puerto Rico to become part of the Caribbean States Association.
The NPP senator said the United States hasn't joined the aforementioned organization due to the active participation of Cuba in the association.
"This is not the first time that Gov. Calderon has been involved in a situation in which the federal government has had to intervene to prevent Puerto Rico from being governed as a nation separated from the United States," said McClintock.
The legislator said that during former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon's administration in the 1980's, Calderon tried to do business with Japan, which resulted in the intervention of the United States in the matter.
Rev. Estrada: Government Has Abandoned The Fight For Vieques
September 10, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Rev. Wilfredo Estrada, who was recently released from prison for trespassing on U.S. Navy land in Vieques, said the government of Puerto Rico has abandoned its fight for the demilitarization of Vieques, by accepting to conduct a federal referendum on the island municipality on Nov. 6.
"The options [within the federal referendum] are immoral.I believe that the government has placed the people of Vieques in this situation, which is simply abandoning the fight. It is like suddenly giving up the fight after two and a half years," said Estrada.
The reverend revealed himself a bit frustrated when he said he didn't "spend 32 days in jail out of pure pleasure."
Estrada also said during a radio interview that the federal referendum proves that the ousting of the Navy by May 2003 "is just a joke."
Puerto Rico Notified Of Next Bombing
September 8, 2001
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The next round of U.S. Navy bombing exercises could begin on Vieques island as soon as Sept. 24, the Navy told Puerto Rico's government.
The notification came in a letter Friday to Puerto Rican Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado, saying the exercises could last some 23 days. The training is to involve ship-to-shore shelling and air-to-ground bombing with inert ammunition, said the letter, signed by Capt. S.K. Shegrud.
The Navy is required to give the island's government 15 days' notice before the start of exercises under a 1983 agreement.
Mercado criticized the announcement as ``another act of insensitivity and lack of respect for the will of the Puerto Rican people.''
Navy Assigns $3.5 Million For Referendum Campaign In Vieques
September 8, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Navy will spend up to $3.5 million to try to convince Viequenses to vote for the permanence of the Navy on the island municipality in the referendum scheduled for November, officials said.
The funds have been obtained from the Navy's overall operations and maintenance budget, said Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Goode, the Navy's spokeswoman in Puerto Rico.
According to Goode, the money will be used to "explain the Navy's mission and its programs" available to Vieques residents.
The Pentagon has denied that the activities are part of a direct political advertising campaign, according to published reports.
"This is an information campaign so that the people of Vieques understand the importance of our training here," Lt. Cmdr. Dawn Cutler said. "The Navy is trying to make sure that the voters in Vieques are educated and informed."
Navy To Transfer Funds To SEC For Referendum
September 7, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - State Elections Commission (SEC) President Juan R. Melecio said he expects the U.S. Navy to transfer some $612,000 to the island government for the Nov. 6 referendum on the future of military practices in Vieques.
"Once we have the estimate, we can transfer the money in 24 to 48 hours," said the Navy's spokeswoman at the Pentagon, Dawn Cutler.
Calderon Meets With Anti-Navy Leaders In Vieques
By Proviana Colon Diaz
September 7, 2001
VIEQUES - Demanding more action on the Vieques issue and the release of Mayor Damaso Serrano from federal prison, several anti-Navy leaders met Thursday afternoon with Gov. Sila Calderon at the absent mayor's home.
The leaders expressed "satisfaction" with the governor although they said they failed to convince her on some of their main demands, namely, removing the police from Vieques, supporting civil disobedience, and committing to joining them in seeking Serrano's release from prison.
"My position is exactly the same I have made public. I have a constitutional responsibility as governor to comply with the law, and I will fully comply with it," Calderon said.