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Vieques Environmental Appeal Nixed

Calderon: "Irresponsible" With Vieques, Urged To Meet With Bush

Anti Navy Leaders Prepare To Halt Next Exercises

Governor Opposes Live Fire On Vieques

Garcia Padilla New UPR President

Appeals Court Hands Vieques Environmental Groups Setback

November 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

BOSTON (AP) - A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a defeat for environmental groups who had hoped to use the Endangered Species Act to halt U.S. Navy bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques .

In June, a U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico denied a preliminary injunction sought by groups led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., ruling the more "concrete" national security concerns of the Navy outweighed the harm to endangered species.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling Monday, rebuffing the environmental groups' claims that the Navy made procedural errors in its consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The appeals court has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico .

The groups, Water Keeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council, contend there are 13 endangered species in the bombing area, including brown pelicans, West Indian manatees, four whale species, four turtle species and three plant species.

Because the appeal only concerned alleged violations for exercises between August and December, the stay would have halted exercises only through December.

Farrique Pesquera: Calderon Being "Irresponsible" With Vieques

By Proviana Colon Diaz

November 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

Pro-independence activist Rafael Enrique "Farrique" Pesquera, brother of New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera, accused Gov. Sila Calderon on Monday of being "irresponsible" with the people of Vieques and failing to promote in Washington D.C. the results of the July 29 local referendum in which the overwhelming majority voted in favor of the immediate halt of military practices and the departure of the U.S. Navy.

Pesquera added that it was "ironic" of Calderon to assume now the NPP position in regards to Vieques, defending the Gov. Pedro Rossello-President Bill Clinton agreement.

Furthermore, he urged both Calderon and Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila to "make justice" to the winning option, which was not only favored by the majority of the Vieques voters, but which according to him, is also supported by the majority of the island's residents.

The pro-independence activist added that it was "immoral" of the duo to use the Sept. 11 tragedy in New York as an excuse to now defend the Navy.

"I think that the death of innocent people is no excuse to justify such a mean position against the health and well-being of the people of Vieques," Pesquera said.

Governor Urged To Meet With President Bush

November 19, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The Coordinadora Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques organization announced Monday it will not allow the resumption of bombings with live ammunition on Vieques and urged Gov. Sila Calderon to meet with President George W. Bush as soon as possible.

Organization spokesman Jose Paraliticci said it is necessary that Calderon meet with the president due to the threat of resuming live bombings in January.

"It is time that the governor puts Vieques on her list of priorities and goes to talk to Bush," Paraliticci said in a press conference.

Paraliticci said Calderon should follow the example of former Gov. Pedro Rossello, who personally discussed the Vieques issue with former President Bill Clinton.

"She is a woman of the state. I don't see how she cannot meet with Bush. She shouldn't be afraid, because Bush can be pressured," Paraliticci added.

The anti-Navy activist said he understood why the governor goes to Washington to lobby for the amendment to Section 956 but insisted she should do the same with the Vieques issue.

Anti Navy Leaders Prepare To Halt Next Military Exercises

November 18, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Vieques leaders and anti U.S. Navy organizations are preparing themselves to impede the upcoming round of military maneuvers scheduled for January, regardless of whether the Navy uses live or inert ammunition.

"The moratoria that we had declared in the past maneuvers is over. We are prepared to paralyze the next maneuvers and we will continue with our demand," said Ismael Guadalupe, leader of the Pro Rescue and Development of Vieques organization.

"Whether it is with live or inert ammunition, we reject it. We want no more bombs," Guadalupe added in published reports.

The statements of the Vieques leader followed the request of two high-ranking officers to Navy Secretary Gordon England, to change the current public policy on Vieques to allow the use of live ammunition during the next maneuvers.

Governor Opposes Live Fire On Vieques

November 18, 2001
Copyright © 2001 EFE. All rights reserved.

Compiled From Wire Services

San Juan, Nov 17 (EFE).- Planned live-munitions military exercises by the combat group of the U.S. carrier "John F. Kennedy" on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques have sparked fresh opposition.

Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon criticized the U.S. Navy's intention to use live ammunition in maneuvers set for January involving frigates, destroyers and the carrier prior to their deployment near Afghanistan.

She said that the planned use of live ammunition on the island, which has been the site of sporadic maneuvers by the U.S. Navy for 60 years, "is a change in the terms of the January 2000 presidential instructions," and would outrage Puerto Ricans.

At the time, then-President Bill Clinton instructed the Navy to use only inert ammunition and only for 90 days a year.

Calderon sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, who had been asked by Navy operations chief Adm. Vernon Clark and Marine commander Gen. James Jones to authorize maneuvers with live ammunition for three or four days in January.

Calderon wrote that Puerto Ricans support the war effort of the U.S. Armed Forces, but said "many residents of Vieques could consider the use of live ammunition on their island as a violation of presidential instructions."

``Such a decision would inflame passions among protesters and create a very sensitive situation for all concerned,'' she added.

The carrier's combat group plans to begin training in Vieques in January, before the vessel leaves to relieve the carrier "Theodore Roosevelt" in the campaign against Afghanistan's Taliban and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

Navy Officials Seek To Restart Live Bombing In Vieques

November 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Two high-ranking U.S. Navy officials asked Navy Secretary Gordon England to authorize the commencement of bombing with explosives in Vieques during the practices in January.

In a letter sent to England, Gen. James Jones, Navy commander, and Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations, expressed that in times of war, U.S. troops should be adequately trained.

In the letter both military officials requested the support of the secretary to "a modification in a time of war of the current practice of sanctioning the use of live munitions during the combined training exercises."

"Training not only improves their effectiveness in combat, but saves lives," the high-ranking military officials said.

The next military practices are scheduled to start in January.

According to a presidential directive imposed by then President Bill Clinton, the Navy's exercises in Vieques should be limited to munitions without explosives after the fatal accident during a bombing training in 1999.

Garcia Padilla Appointed As New UPR President

November 16, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Attorney Antonio Garcia Padilla, former dean of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Law School, was appointed Thursday as the new UPR president.

The announcement was made by UPR Board Chairman Salvador Antonetti, who noted that 10 of the 11 units of the system participated in the selection process.

He said nine of 10 participant units recommended Garcia Padilla, while the Mayagüez Campus recommended another candidate, Medical Science Campus Prof. Nicolas Linares. The Aguadilla Campus abstained from participating in the process.

Garcia Padilla was dean of the UPR Law School from 1986 to 2001. Jorge Sanchez, who was interim UPR president following Norman Maldonado's resignation, will occupy Garcia Padilla's former position.

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