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San Juan Star
Calderon's Self Defense Is Short On Credibility
by Arturo Guzman
November 10, 2001
The Oct. 29 letter from four senior members of the US Congress to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee offered additional evidence about Calderon's "Vieques for 956" trade-off proposal which I have been uncovering in this column since last year and recently as Oct. 5, (STAR, "Lies, lies, lies: Calderon and Vieques"). Calderon's pro-forma denial shortly followed, this time absent of the previous "lies, lies, lies" hysterical theatrics but with as much credibility as Pinocchio would have at a liar's convention.
In her response, while listing a litany of the patriotic duties she claims she has performed since the Sept. 11 tragedy, this "born again" American patriot neglected to mention that the funds she collected to assist the victims were destined for New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent and to the exclusion of other fellow citizens.
Although Claderon's self-defense may find some local credibility, in Washington other than her well paid lobbyists, few will pay any attention. The fact is that the 956 proposal was D.O.A. when the new president in his first month in office announced that his administration would offer no corporate tax relief ("corporate welfare") but instead would concentrate on efforts to reduce the taxes of individual citizens. Thus, Vieques remained as her sole, if weak, bargaining chip until it was blown off the negotiation table by the terrorist attacks. Osama bin Laden wrote the epitaph for 956.
Nonetheless, as usual a scapegoat had to be found to cover up for all the administration's miscalculations, betrayals and ineptness in dealing in Washington with these and other issues of importance to Puerto Rico. Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila tried to place the blame on none other than Rep.(Sen) Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer and recently the indicted Rep. Edison Misla Aldarondo. The perfidy of the association became all too evident. Acevedo typically committed yet another blunder by choosing the wrong target for his defamation.
Few people possess the moral standing, credibility, recognition, respect and relations in Washington and Puerto Rico than does Ramirez. As member of a party that has often selected electoral expediency at the cost of ideological commitment, she is serving as its collective conscience and a persistent reminder that competing to administer the colony is not as important as overcoming the colonial condition.
Worse, Acevedo cowardly picked on a lady, and a widow, and if it weren't for the fact that Ramirez stands and leads on her own, male instinct and chivalry would have demanded that Acevedo pick on someone his own size. Except that it would have been hard, if not impossible, to find anyone, male or female, able or willing to stoop that low. People who live in glass houses should not cast stones.
Acevedo appears to forget that he is also under federal investigation and implied corruption by association when it is he who is morally corrupt. Lest we forget that it was he who directed the Popular Democratic Party efforts against the enactment of the Young Bill by portraying the people of Puerto Rico as beggars. This is one and the same person that formed part of a group that visited members of the Congress telling them that Puerto Rican women got pregnant to get higher welfare benefits.
Our resident commissioner is the one who once upon a recent time recruited and paraded through congressional offices contingents of socially underprivileged stateside Puerto Ricans, whose speech was only louder than their clothing and their evident ignorance of manners and protocol, with the purpose of portraying all Puerto Ricans in such an unfavorable manner as to raise the question, "are these the type of undesirables you would want in the union?" He is the one whose demeanor upon taking oath of office compelled a veteran congressman and personal friend to ask me, "Who is the little runt with the attitude?".
Whether 956 or Vieques, Calderon and Acevedo are only beginning to reap the poisonous seeds they have sown and continue to sow to this day. If culpability is to be placed for inadequacies, complexes and failures, I'll offer more than the determining reason of national budgetary policies: It is Calderon, Acevedo and their party's leadership who have not wasted a moment to proclaim their anti-American sentiment from the moment they invited Hugo Chavez to their inaugural to spite the United States.
It is they who turned the legitimate claims of the residents of Vieques into a political cause celebre intended to advance separatist cause and weaken the US national defense. It is they who proclaim and postulate the absurd notion of actual separate nationhood, and it is also they who contradictorily try and deceive the members of the Congress masquerading as "fellow Americans" every time they need to extend their hands to beg.
But Ramirez, and hundreds of thousands of others like her, will continue to stand in the way of lies and deceit, calumnies and defamation and portray them for what they really are: the morally bankrupt leadership of a morally bankrupt ideology. This ideology has survived standing on the shoulders of poor Puerto Ricans in order to protect the vested interests of the oligarchy of an equally bankrupt, corrupt, and failed colonial regime.