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Ft. Buchanan Closing Raised…Gov. Gets Honorary Degree…Flag Trial Reset For May 5th Marlins Reel In Rodriguez…P.R. Libel Law Ruled Unconstitutional… Visiting Hispanic Lawmakers Criticize Bush On Iraq… PIP Seeks BPPR Investigation… 2 More Nat’l Guard Units Activated

Federal Report Indicates Possible Closing Of Fort Buchanan

January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — A July 2001 report sent to the U.S. Senate Military Construction Subcommittee and several military authorities indicates that Fort Buchanan in Guaynabo might be closed by 2005 if its functions are consolidated and transferred to Roosevelt Roads Naval Base.

In 2001, the Defense Department initiated an analysis of its military facilities, in and outside the U.S. aimed at closing some of them to cut expenses, according to published reports.

"Concerns related to the current law statutes regarding the U.S. Navy’s role in Vieques indicates that the General Accounting Office (GAO) must consider the possibility of moving the Fort Buchanan operations to the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in the event that the Navy loses its ability to use the Vieques target range," the document reads.

Last October, the U.S. Congress approved a $30.7 million cut in to new constructions in the facility, after the Southern Command announced it would transfer its operation to Texas.

Calderon Receives Honorary Doctorate From Hunter College

January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

Gov. Sila Calderon received Thursday an honorary doctorate and the Presidential Medal from the Hunter College of the New York City University (CUNY).

Calderon also gave the main speech of the college’s commencement ceremony, La Fortaleza said in a press release.

The governor was presented with the Honoris Causa Doctorate in Humanities by CUNY President Jennifer Raab.

During the winter commencement, 838 students received their bachelor’s degrees and 426 received their diplomas of postgraduate studies.

After the ceremony, Calderon visited the CUNY facilities, accompanied by Raab and Dr. Felix V. Matos, the center’s director.

This is the governor’s first visit to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, an institution considered to be the only interdisciplinary entity at undergraduate level aimed at studying the experiences of Puerto Ricans on the mainland.

Trial Against NPP Leaders For Rioting Rescheduled For May 5

January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The trial against New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera and three other NPP leaders accused of rioting was rescheduled to May 5 by Superior Court Judge Fernando Gierbolini Borelli.

Several motions filed by the accused are pending even after the hearing held Thursday.

In one of these motions, Pesquera’s defense team asked that the video transmitted on the government channel about the incident that occurred at the Women’s Advocate Office not be accepted as evidence.

The trial was originally scheduled for Feb. 3.

Marlins Reel In Rodriguez

January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Miami Herald & The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. All rights reserved.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
(AP /Tim Sharp)

In one of the biggest acquisitions in team history, the Marlins signed free-agent catcher Ivan ''Pudge'' Rodríguez to a one-year, $10-million contract Wednesday.

A 10-time American League All-star, Rodríguez gives the young team a marquee player likely headed to the Hall of Fame as well as a personable and marketable bilingual Hispanic star to build around.

The Marlins' pitch to Rodríguez involved more than just money, however. Rodríguez, a Puerto Rican native, has a home in Miami Beach and the team played up South Florida's large Hispanic community during contract negotiations.


Born: Nov. 30, 1971, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.

Age: 31

Resides: Miami

Nickname: Pudge

Ht./Wt.: 5-9, 205.

Years in majors: 12

All-Star Game appearances: 10

Gold Gloves: 10

Other honors: Won 1999 American League Most Valuable Player award.

Texas Rangers records: Most hits (1,723), most doubles (344), most seasons batting .300 or higher (five).

Miscellaneous records: Most doubles by a catcher in a single season (47, 1996); most at-bats by a catcher in a season (639, 1996); highest caught-stealing percentage in a season (54.2 percent, 1999).

Family: Wife, the former Maribel Rivera (married 6/20/91); children, Ivan Dereck (6/5/92), Amanda Christine (6/21/95), Ivanna Sofia (1/12/00).

Puerto Rico: Libel Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Adam Liptak

January 23, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved.

A federal appeals court held that Puerto Rico's criminal libel law is unconstitutional. The case was brought by Obed Betancourt, a reporter for a newspaper, El Vocero de Puerto Rico, who had been threatened with prosecution for libel by several police officers. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, held that the law, which does not require proof of malice, violated the First Amendment in cases involving public officials and public figures.  

Federal Hispanic Lawmakers Criticize Bush On Iraq Stance

January 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Latino legislators visiting Puerto Rico criticized the White House on Wednesday, saying that President George W. Bush hasn't done enough to avert war in Iraq.

The U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute is holding its annual board meeting on the island, encouraging university students to become more involved in U.S. politics.

Hispanics now constitute the largest minority group in the United States, representing a powerful force in politics.

"I don't want war for my children or grandchildren, or for any other person," said Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, a California Democrat and vice-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "He is pushing (war) and for me, there are other methods that could be taken."

Nearly a dozen lawmakers were attending the meeting.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat and former chair of the Hispanic Caucus, echoed Napolitano's comments.

"I don't agree with the war," Becerra said.

Several of the representatives visited the Luz Eneida Colon Elementary School in San Juan, and Napolitano later visited the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila encouraged the 60 university students in the audience to apply for political internships and fellowships in Washington D.C.

Hispanics need to have stronger voices in policy making, Acevedo Vila said.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's mission is to develop the next generation of Latino leaders.

PIP Requests Investigation Of Banco Popular Transaction

By Proviana Colon Diaz

January 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW News. All rights reserved.

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Fernando Martin filed a resolution Wednesday to investigate the terms of the transaction that lead to a $21 million fine against Banco Popular De Puerto Rico (BPPR). BPPR recently admitted to having controlled leaks that lead to drug money laundering and to the role played by the Financial Institutions Commissioner Office in it.

If determined that the Financial Institution commissioner did not play any role, then that lack of action in itself should also be investigated to determine whether it was negligent or whether the current law prevents the commissioner from doing so. If the later is the reason, then legislation would be proposed to amend the law that creates the office, Martin said.

"What we need to find out is what deficiencies, if any occurred, because they may be preventive steps that need be made," Martin said.

Martin did not refer his request for an investigation to any particular committee but said he had already spoken with Bank and Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman Roberto Vigoreaux and he expressed interest in doing so.

Martin noted that the investigation against BPPR lasted for over three years during which at least three commissioners were appointed and their role if any in that investigation should be evaluated.

"We are dealing with frankly a dramatic situation," Martin said.

BPPR is in fact the island’s largest bank and holds multiple transactions with the Commonwealth.

On Tuesday, Gov. Sila Calderon vehemently defended the bank and its president, Richard Carrion. The governor noted that no business transactions with the government would be canceled as the financial institution had not pleaded guilty to any crime.

Martin said the governor, a major stockholder, of the bank should have abstained herself from making any comments in favor of the bank.

Two More Puerto Rico National Guard Units Activated

January 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Two units of the Puerto Rico National Guard were activated Tuesday to serve in missions related to the war on terrorism, announced Maj. Millie Rosa of the National Guard.

Unit 295 was the first of the two activated. Approximately 80 soldiers left Tuesday for combat training at an undisclosed location.

Approximately 100 soldiers in Unit 755 will be transferred to the Persian Gulf, although their departure date was not revealed. The group will report Friday to Camp Santiago in Salinas to begin the training.

Rosa said Unit 755 was also mobilized during the Persian Gulf War and the conflict in Kosovo.

The major was unable to confirm or deny that the activation is related to the imminent intervention in Iraq.

Since the war on terrorism began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, almost 1,400 Puerto Rico National Guard officers have been mobilized.

In Puerto Rico, the U.S. Army has 10,000 reserve officers, most of them ascribed to Fort Buchanan, and 12,000 in the three divisions of the National Guard.

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