UPR: Students Divided On Statehood Group Petitions, Another Violent Incident Occurs PDP Awaits Report Before Acting In Arizmendis Case Island Republicans Ecstatic, Democrats Surprised With Election Results Calderon Eager To Work With GOP Majority
UPR Student Support Divided On Statehood Group Petitions
November 7, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) The student assembly of the Natural Studies Department of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Rio Piedras Campus approved a motion for peace to prevail and for freedom of expression to be respected, as proposed by the leaders of the Puerto Rican Statehood Youth (JEP by its Spanish acronym).
The departments of Education and Social Sciences did not back the same motion, because among other arguments, it was emphasized that the JEP promotes militarism, which is against peace.
According to published reports, the Social Sciences Department also approved a motion for respect to be shown to all flags that are taken to the campus.
Two previous activities of the JEP to distribute U.S. flags were condemned by the majority of the students, degenerating into minor attacks in which university guards had to intervene.
Another Violent Incident Registered At UPR Rio Piedras
November 7, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) A new violent incident occurred Thursday at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Rio Piedras Campus between students from the statehood movement and students from the pro-independence movement.
The incident took place after a group of statehood supporters handed out U.S. flags and propaganda at the UPR Education School, campus press official Charo Melendez told The AP.
The official said the activity at the Education School was calm and orderly under the supervision of the campus Security Coordinator Board, but afterwards, the statehood supporters ran to the Students Center, where they were received by hundreds of students who opposed the activity and denied them access to the center.
Campus Chancellor Gladys Escalona condemned the incident and urged the students to allow free speech and peace to prevail.
Melendez said when the tension grew, the statehood supporters were taken to the security office. The press official said the students returned to the center, where they were pushed away again by the opposing group of students.
Then, students from the statehood movement had to run to seek refuge in the computer center, where they closed the doors until the other group desisted in their persecution.
Melendez said one of the statehood supporters was injured and was taken to the campus medical facilities.
The campus chancellor was holding a meeting with several campus deans to discuss the steps to be taken to manage the situation.
This is the most recent of several incidents between students from the statehood movement and pro independence movement who opposes giving U.S. flags on the campus.
Immediately, New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera condemned the aggression against the students and urged the UPR authorities to prevent incidents like this one from happening again.
"I demand that the university authorities guarantee the liberties that we all have the right to and to take the necessary measures to prevent a situation like this one from happening again," Pesquera said in a press release.
Calderon Awaits Report Before Acting In Arizmendis Case
November 7, 2002
MAYAGUEZ (AP) Gov. and Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Sila Calderon said Thursday that she is waiting for a report on the allegations against Rep. Alida Arizmendi before making a decision in the legislators case.
Calderon denied that she had issued instructions to dismiss Arizmendi from the positions she holds inside the PDP, as was stated early Thursday.
With her statements, Calderon appeared to distance herself from statements made by PDP Secretary General Fernando Torres, who had said early Thursday that the legislator would be dismissed from her political positions because of complaints against her about irregularities in her income tax forms and her financial reports to the State Elections Commission.
Calderon said she talked to Torres about his statements and told him that they had to wait for the results of the investigation before acting, if it should be necessary.
However, she reminded him that she has always acted quickly in cases involving PDP leaders suspected of misusing public funds or violating the law.
The House Ethics Committee gave Arizmendi on Wednesday 20 days to answer the Governmental Ethics Offices referral that alleges violations to the House Ethics Law and the Electoral Law and perjury.
The complaint is related to alleged irregularities in Arizmendis income tax forms in claiming several people who are not family members as relatives and campaign donations that went to personal accounts.
Island Republicans Ecstatic, Democrats Surprised With Election Results
By Proviana Colon Diaz
November 6, 2002
With the results of the midterm elections in the United States, Republicans and Democrats on the island are analyzing the outcome.
As expected, the Republicans celebrated their victory in both House and Senate, while the Democrats studied the results and made plans for the presidential race.
The Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives with 227 seats versus 203 won by the Democrats. There are still four places to be accounted for.
In the Senate, Republicans regained control with at least 51 seats won.
In Puerto Rico, attorney Luis Fortuño, committeeman for the Republican Party, said island affiliates were "ecstatic" with the results.
Fortuño, who confessed Wednesday afternoon to have been up since 1 a.m. following the election results, said island chapter founder Luis A. Ferre established a task force to have the largest participation ever in these midterm elections. This included participation in gubernatorial races, as well as those in the House and the Senate.
The former Tourism director added that President George W. Bush gave special priority to the Hispanic vote and noted that Puerto Rico must remain involved in national politics to take advantage of this opportunity.
Fortuño noted that the outright control of the Republican Party will translate into a more active economy, which will benefit the island.
"The Republican Party is the pro growth party; therefore, Im convinced that the national economy will start growing faster now," Fortuño said.
In addition, there are plans for national security, education, and health care that will also benefit the island, Fortuño said.
For attorney Gilberto Maymi, executive director of the National Democratic Party in Puerto Rico, Tuesday nights results are surprising and must be given careful evaluation.
"Clearly this is not a time of much happiness for the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico. The results contradicted all historical tendencies. . . We at least hoped the results would be closer," Maymi said.
Maymis statement is sustained by the fact that this is the first time in 50 years that Republicans have taken absolute control of the White House, Senate, and House.
Although he said it was too soon for any official analysis on a larger scale, he noted that possibly the position taken by the Democrats with regards to the legislation following the terrorist attack of Sept 11 might have worked against them.
"It is difficult to vote against someone whom your own Democrat leaders are supporting," Maymi said.
Maymi said the key is to find how to fight the president and the Republican Party without being accused of not being patriotic.
It is also clear, according to Maymi, that the Hispanic and black vote turnout was much lower than had been expected. This in spite of the multimillion-dollar campaign, perhaps the largest investment in history, to attract the minority vote, said the attorney.
"Clearly the message being received is a little bit confusing if the voter can see the difference between the ideas," Maymi.
Still, Maymi said there is no time to "lick the wounds as we must get back to work."
Maymi said primaries promise to be very exciting as at least a dozen names are now being mentioned as possible candidates for the presidential race. Among them are Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. John Lieberman (D- CT), Sen. John Edward (D-NC), Sen. Tom Daschle D-SD), and former Vice President Al Gore.
Calderon Ready To Work With Republican Majority
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin
November 6, 2002
The triumph of the Republic Party in both the U.S. House and the Senate on Tuesday left Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon beaming with joy.
Calderon, who has refused to identify herself with either one of the two main political parties on the U.S. mainland, had publicly endorsed the candidacies of (D-NJ) Frank Lautenberg for senator, and Republican New York Gov. George Pataki. She had also expressed herself in favor of Florida Gov. Jeb Bushs reelection. All of them won Tuesday.
"I feel very satisfied with the great victory received by Pataki, Lautenberg in New Jersey, and Jeb Bush in Florida. I think these three public officials will work effectively for the Hispanic and particularly the Puerto Rican communities. I am happy to have endorsed all of them," the governor said.
Calderons public display of support for Pataki has been evident ever since the New York governor became an advocate for the islands petition to withdraw the U.S. Navy from Vieques by May 2003. She has also helped in the relief efforts following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
However, Calderon has said she can work well with Democrats and Republicans, and that her support for the aforementioned public officials should not be seen as a quid pro quo.
"As governor, Ive been careful in keeping good relations with both parties, and I believe I can work quite well with the Republican and the Democratic parties," Calderon said.
She added that she is ready to work with the newly elected Congress as soon as it takes office. However, the governor didnt specify whether she expected more support for her administration now that the Republican Party controls the federal government.
"I believe I will have to contact the new leadership, which will be defined in the next few days. I know almost all of them personally, and they all know about the economic and social projects of Puerto Rico. I met with most of them last year, so I have no doubt that this is a matter of waiting until that leadership takes office so I can resume my relations with them," Calderon said.