Rossello Welcomed With Open Arms
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News
March 16, 2003
Former Gov. Pedro Rossello welcomed
It has yet to be decided who will be the next gubernatorial candidate for the New Progressive Party (NPP) in 2004. But the question of whether it will be former Gov. Pedro Rossello was answered loud and clear on Saturday by tens of thousands of supporters who nearly paralyzed traffic from the Baldorioty de Castro Highway in Isla Verde to Roosevelt Avenue in Hato Rey to welcome him with open arms.
It took Rossello's caravan about three hours what would normally take anyone about 15 minutes to drive from the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport to the Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
Visibly moved, Rossello thanked the crowd who acclaimed him even from the multilevel parking lot of the Plaza Las Americas shopping mall.
"There are no words to express the happiness I feel to be here with you again, joining each of you to rescue Puerto Rico and to put it back on track toward progress," he said once he reached the stage at the premises of the stadium, accompanied by his wife Irma Margarita Nevares and many NPP legislators and mayors.
Wearing a sky blue, black, and white long-sleeved sweater, a heavily guarded Rossello moved across the crowed to join San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini and former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo at the stage from where he addressed his followers in person for the first time in two years.
Slogans and theme songs from his political campaigns in 1992 and 1996 came blasting through the loudspeakers as Rossello reached the podium. Then, to the contentment of those present, he did his well-known victory dance to the beat of La Macarena, which everybody followed.
In contrast to his old-time in-your-face attitude, a calm and relaxed looking Rossello said he was ready to face up to the opposition. He said he has heard the calling of his people and that he has come back to answer that call with actions, not with threats.
"I don't come here with daggers or weapons of war to destroy. I come here to rebuild. I don't come here with hate, but with a vision for the future," the governor said.
At the end of his speech, Rossello threw himself into the crowd, which followed him out to the streets, emptying the stadium's premises in a blink of an eye.
Some of the NPP leaders who were there since earlier in the day were former NPP Reps. Lourdes Ramos and Leo Diaz, former NPP Senate President Charlie Rodriguez, NPP Reps. Jennifer Gonzalez, Albita Rivera, Jorge De Castro Font, and Melinda Romero, as well as NPP Sens. Kenneth McClintock, Orlando Parga, and Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer.
Rossello is scheduled to meet with NPP President Carlos Pesquera on Monday. Although no agenda has been announced, they are expected talk about whether they will compete for the gubernatorial post in a primary.