DECEMBER 22, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) will start the new year with an ambitious work agenda, mainly orientated to reorganizing its political and electoral structures to promote the discussion on the future political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.
PDP Secretary General Jorge Colberg Toro also believes that this next year will be the most important for his party "because the reorganization and the strengthening of the electoral structure is what will determine our objective of consolidating our organization as the majority party in Puerto Rico."
"This year was difficult because of the economic situation that the government found, but I am very optimistic for this new year because we will start to see the fruits of our seed that was planted this year," the PDP official said.
He also indicated that the U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections next year creates a favorable environment for many candidates to attend to Puerto Rican matters, such as the proposal to amend the U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 956 and the matter related to Vieques and the U.S. Navy.
As for the PDP's steps to promote changes to the present Commonwealth, Colberg Toro said the programmatic commitment of his political formation is aimed at developing the Commonwealth to obtain the tools for economic development.
Colberg Toro, meanwhile, said he expects a hard year of work, in reference to the political and electoral PDP agenda, "because we are going to work as if the internal primaries of the parties are in 2003, and there is a process of evaluating candidates and many other things that need to be conducted before getting to that step."
He indicated that the PDP reorganization, which started in November, will be completely implemented in January, and it will affect all its structures, from the presidency to the basic units.
He explained that there is a dialogue process with some legislators about their wish to return to the old primary system, where each party chooses its candidates the summer of the election year and not during the previous November, as stipulated in the current Electoral Law.
"It is a proposal of several legislators that is being discussed. There are points in favor and against, and the party's position will be decided by the government board," said Colberg Toro, while refusing to speculate on what that decision might be.
PDP Autonomists Confident On Commonwealth Development
DECEMBER 22, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Active autonomists in the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) are confident about the success of their political agenda in collaboration with the administration of Gov. Sila Calderon.
Luis Vega, chief of the group of legal advisors of House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo, said the work agenda of the autonomists for now is "to continue collaborating with the efforts of the government of our party and our administration in the responsibilities that has been entrusted to each one of us and contribute positively and effectively to the unity and consensus process that will be convened and make contributions from our perspective."
"There is no doubt that as we face the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth and the beginning of the 21st century, there is a lack of a revision of the autonomous space of the people of Puerto Rico," said the president of the Pro-Commonwealth autonomist group.
He explained that this revision should be done to strengthen the bilateral and sovereign character of our association with the United States and also obtain those economic and international powers that allow the creation of jobs.
In that sense, he stressed that the public hearing process and the discussion that the PDP did in 1999 and 2000, which produced its government program on status, is a positive point because the process opens the discussion on how to resolve the political status to new consensus options.
He indicated that the minimum consensus in the PDP government program with respect to the Commonwealth development is directed at strengthening and democratizing the relationship with the United States and also affirming the area of the auto-government of the Puerto Ricans.
He said he is comfortable collaborating with the Calderon administration because some of her government's actions, such as developing the international economic presence of Puerto Rico and the presence in international organisms, show the autonomist orientation.
From his point of view, autonomist lawyer Miguel Lausell has reiterated that the problems that have emerged in the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States are due to the confusion of that relationship because many years have passed since it has been established, and clear communication mechanisms have not been established up to now to achieve a fast and just agreement between both countries.
Ha said though the Commonwealth has served Puerto Rico very well, "at this time we need to obtain greater powers that allow us to help the people, by its own efforts, to achieve the goals of economic development and social well being, which should be the fundamental objectives of a government with its people."