Governor Gets Support, Is Criticized On Vieques
Over 400 Puerto Ricans Survived Attacks
Misla To Lobby In Washington For Vieques Practices
`Unreal' To Request Bombing Cessation
Burgos Back In NPP
Islamic Spokesman Condemns Afghanistan Attacks
Governor Gets Support On Vieques Stance
By Judy Sarasohn
October 11, 2001
Puerto Rico Gov. Sila Calderon met with Vieques protest leaders earlier this week and won at least grudging support of her efforts to end the Navy's use of the island of Vieques for bombing exercises. She's in a particularly difficult situation now with lawmakers and defense officials arguing that Vieques is needed more than ever for training as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Calderon supports the Bush administration's proposal to scrap the November referendum on stopping the exercises and to impose a May, 2003, exit date for the Navy. But if Congress doesn't include a firm date in the defense authorization legislation, she would oppose killing the referendum.
According to the San Juan Star, Robert Rabin, one of the protest leaders, said they were now satisfied with Calderon's explanation of her efforts to press the Bush administration. "Without being more specific," the newspaper reported, "the governor explained that Republican lobbyists working for the Puerto Rican government had [been] actively advancing the government's position in the White House, said Rabin."
PIP Criticizes Governor For Her Stance On Vieques
October 11, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) executive president accused Gov. Sila Calderon on Thursday of discarding the achievements reached in the fight to immediately oust the U.S. Navy from Vieques.
Calderon recently said "it was acceptable" for her government for the Navy to leave the island by May 2003.
"It is almost pathetic and profoundly deceiving that the governor and the Puerto Rican government have publicly surrendered on the Vieques issue," Fernando Martin said in press conference.
The legislator said the argument that the national crisis due to the terrorist attacks perpetrated a month ago on the United States makes it impossible to make the petition to President George W. Bush is "pathetic."
Martin also accused the governor of bending the arms of the Vieques leaders to accept her position, when they are the Navy's "victims," and urged Calderon to use her force against Bush and high ranking military officials.
"The Vieques people have been the victims. They had acted with the courtesy and generosity that the governor does not deserve. I'm convinced that they feel profoundly deceived, frustrated, and abandoned by the governor," Martin said.
At Least 400 Puerto Ricans Confirmed To Have Survived Attacks
October 11, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - A month after the terrorist attacks in the United States, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Office (PRAFA) in New York confirmed that approximately 400 of the original 900 in the list of Puerto Ricans missing are well or have survived the tragedy.
However, New York authorities cannot say the official number of Puerto Rican victims missing in the World Trade Center rubble.
According to published reports, PRAFA New York Director Felix Lopez said almost 500 are still on the missing list, of which 30 are officially missing.
However, to determine the exact number of victims would be impossible since the original list does not include people who do not have relatives in Puerto Rico, and some of which the Red Cross does not have any information.
The Red Cross has made public some reports on the foreign victims, but in the case of Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens, there is no official list published.
Meanwhile, the city of New York informed that there are 4,815 missing people, of which only 422 have been certified as dead.
Misla To Lobby In Washington For Vieques Military Practices
By Proviana Colon
October 10, 2001
House New Progressive Party Minority Leader Edison Misla Aldarondo left the island Wednesday en route to Washington D.C., where he plans to lobby in favor of several issues, including the continuation of military practices in Vieques until 2003.
Misla Aldarondo, who is also the Republican Party National committeeman, said he has meetings scheduled with several aids of President George W. Bush and other elected officials.
Among his priorities will be to again express his solidarity with the nation and the victims and their relatives in light of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
"We want to also express our total and sincere support to our nation's president in all actions aimed at answering the threat made against our fellow citizens," Misla Aldarondo said.
The attack to the United States, and the national emergency that has occurred is what makes it "correct, sincere, and practical to halt all actions related to seeking the immediate halt of military practices in Vieques."
"We shouldn't take any action, public or secret, that could diminish the readiness of our Armed Forces, where with much honor, thousands of Puerto Ricans participate," Misla Aldarondo said.
The committeeman said he will also lobby again for U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 30A, as did the previous administration, because in his opinion there is no opportunity in Congress for the approval of Section 956, option currently being pushed by Gov. Sila Calderon.
Calderon: `Unreal' To Request Cease Of Bombings In Vieques
October 10, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - For the first time during her tenure, Gov. Sila Calderon admitted Tuesday that the request to immediate cease bombings in the municipality of Vieques "is unreal at this moment," coinciding with Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila's previous expressions.
The governor now defends the U.S. Navy bombing exercises until May 2003, when the Navy should leave the island municipality, as established by the January 2000 agreement between former President Bill Clinton and former Gov. Pedro Rossello.
"Of course it is unreal at this time," Calderon said in press conference at La Fortaleza after a meeting with Vieques leaders.
Calderon attributed her government's new position on the issue to the Sept. 11 attacks.
"They are two different things. At this moment we have to refocus our way of doing things because we have priorities. The priority now is to achieve the cancellation of the referendum and substitute it with a congressional law that establishes the date on or before May 2003," insisted Calderon.
She said Bush's position on the May 2003 date remains intact and was reiterated 13 days after the terrorist attacks.
Burgos Accepted Back Into NPP Caucus
October 9, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Norma Burgos was formally accepted back into the Senate NPP delegation Monday after a two-hour meeting with her fellow senators and NPP President Carlos Pesquera.
With the decision, Burgos is again a member and spokeswoman of her party in the legislative committees to which she belonged to before she was ousted from her delegation in April.
Island's Islamic Spokesman Condemns Attacks Against Afghanistan
October 8, 2001
The main spokesman of the Islamic community in Puerto Rico, Iman Abdel Hasse, condemned the attacks by the United States and its allies against Afghanistan and explained that he condemns them with the same vengeance that he condemns that terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11.
Hasse made an appeal to all parents, teachers, ministers, and priests to explain to the Puerto Rican community that the island's Arab community has nothing to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
It is estimated that there are approximately 3,500 Arabs in Puerto Rico, and they had previously clarified that the whole community should not be made responsible for these acts.