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Cops Who Hailed Rossello Criticized… Study: Racism Is Still Strong Among Puerto Ricans…Rossello Welcomed…$96M Identified To Raise Public Employees’ Salaries…’Macho' Comes To Raleigh…Santini Confirms Support For Rossello…Scientists Examining ET Signals From Arecibo Telescope…Puerto Rican Soldiers ‘Ready For War’

Rivera Criticizes Police Officers Who Welcomed Rossello

March 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) – Police Superintendent Victor Rivera Gonzalez criticized agents who on Saturday went to welcome former Gov. Pedro Rossello in uniform.

Rivera Gonzalez said these agents violated agency rules which prohibits them making political statements while wearing uniform.

"Any person who is a member of the Police and makes an official political partisan statement is going against his uniform, the police, and the people of Puerto Rico," said Rivera Gonzalez.

"If they do it as a private citizen, they don’t compromise the name of the police. Outside working hours, it is something else," he added.

However, Rivera Gonzalez didn’t say if he would take punitive action against those agents who violated the police rules.

During the welcoming event on Saturday, a group of police officers lifted a sign that read "Police officers with Rossello."

The superintendent issued these statements together with Inspector Roberto Machado, vice presient of the Pro-ELA Police group, who publicly expressed himself in favor of Gov. Sila Calderon in 2000.

Study Reveals Racism Is Still Strong Among Puerto Ricans

March 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Although slavery in Puerto Rico was abolished 130 years ago, prejudice and race discrimination continue to be present in all levels of Puerto Rican society, according to several academicians, who discussed the subject to mark Race Equality Week.

They said all of the studies on the matter have shown that racism plays a role in job and education opportunities, as well as in an individual’s chances of getting a promotion and participating in politics.

"We are invisible. In a way, we black people are right where we were 130 years ago, because there are no black people in high society. However, you can see many black faces in the housing projects, in prison, and in the unemployment line," said Ebenecer Lopez Ruyo, president of the Puerto Rican Council Against Racism.

Ana Irma Rivera Lassen, of the Marching Feminists Group in March, said few people acknowledge their black heritage because they think it would limit their social mobility and access to higher spheres of power.

She said that for example, 84% of Puerto Ricans described themselves as white in the U.S. Census of 2000.

"A person may have dark skin. But if he or she has European traits, then it’s okay," said Juan Guisti, professor of history at the University of Puerto Rico.

Rossello Welcomed With Open Arms

March 16, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 


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.

Funds Identified To Raise Public Employees’ Salaries

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

March 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

Following an over three-hour long third meeting between union representatives and the government, an estimated $96 million to meet the public employees’ negotiated salary increase was identified Friday.

The announcement was made during an extensive, confusing, and at times contradictory press conference, where after being repeatedly asked in many ways, United Public Servers President Jose La Luz nodded his head in the affirmative to say that with the allocation of the funds, the possibility of a general strike was terminated.

La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Cesar Miranda said 19 government agencies will make adjustments to comply with the 21 contracts negotiated. Agencies have make adjustments in their proposed budgets to obtain $34 million, while another $64.5 million will come from the island’s general budget.

Miranda, however, acknowledged that there are still problems to meet what had been negotiated at the Education, Family, and Health Department.

La Luz and Workers Federation President Jose Rodriguez Baez assured that the adjustments were satisfactory and that the government will comply with the $150 increase negotiated.

Both leaders will go now to the union leaders and present them with the accord, which will be presented Sunday to all union leaders for their approval.

La Luz and Rodriguez Baez declined to give further details but affirmed that their position had not changed and that "what had been negotiated is not negotiable."

Calderon made a campaign promise for a salary increase for public employees by $400 during her tenure in office.

She has granted $100 and promised another for January 2004. Union leaders thus argued that she is failing to meet half her promise.

But arguing the recession and the possibility of a war, Calderon has argued she is doing the best she can with what she has.

In her recent State of the Commonwealth address, she announced plans to increase the salaries of public workers by $100 effective January 2004.

The unions had negotiated $150 by July 2003.

'Macho' Comes To Raleigh

Al Myatt

March 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
The News & Observer Raleigh, NC. All rights reserved. 

RALEIGH -- Boxing legend Hector "Macho" Camacho is coming to the RBC Center on April 18 -- not as a ringside celebrity to greet fans and sign autographs. Camacho, a three-time world champion, will fight Carlton Ray Holland of Durham as Camacho tries to position himself for a comeback and a shot at a fourth world title.

Camacho (76-4-2, 37 knockouts), a left-hander from Puerto Rico, will meet Holland (16-7-1, 8 KOs) in the 10-round main event. The card is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

The flamboyant and often outlandishly-attired Camacho is a former WBC junior lightweight champion, a former IBC middleweight champion and former IBC welterweight champion.

Promoter Chuck Lanier said Camacho's compensation for the fight will exceed $150,000..

"The officials at the N.C. Boxing commission said that Camacho is the most recognizable boxer ever to be on a card in the state," Lanier said.

Camacho's opponents have included big names such as Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Vinnie Pazienza, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Edwin Rosario, Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trinidad.

Tickets for the upcoming card go on sale on Tuesday at the RBC Center with prices of $25, $50 and $75.

For ringside and VIP packages, contact Lanier Marketing at (919) 467-3972.

Santini Confirms His Support For Rossello

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

March 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini confirmed that he will support former Gov. Pedro Rossello for the New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidacy. Santini said he waited until now to formally endorse Rossello, because he wanted to find out for himself what he had suspected all along: that the majority of the party is with Rossello, not with NPP President Carlos Pesquera.

"After making sure that this was the opinion of the base, not just the tip of the party, I have decided to make public our support for Rossello as NPP gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming elections," Santini said.

Santini's announcement didn't come as a surprise to anyone Thursday night. His preference for Rossello has been suspected, especially since he was reluctant to take sides with Pesquera after Rossello had officially expressed his intention of making a comeback, about a month ago.

The San Juan mayor said he would not ask Pesquera to withdraw his intention to run in a primary with Rossello. He added that his support for the former governor in no way jeopardizes his position as NPP first vice president, because his is an elective post, not a position of trust. Therefore, Pesquera cannot ask him to resign the first vice presidency.

"I won't say a single word or criticism against Pesquera. I respect him a great deal, and I think he is an excellent human being and an excellent member of this party," Santini said.

He added that his loyalty is to the NPP and the party's cause. He said his priority will be to make sure that the NPP win the 2004 elections.

Santini made these statements following a meeting held at the San Juan municipal committee in Hato Rey. Many Rossello supporters, including former Health Secretary Carmen Feliciano, crowded the building from where the San Juan mayor held a conference call with Rossello that was retransmitted through loudspeakers so that everyone there could listen to it.

Rossello thanked Santini and everyone at the committee for their solidarity and said he was committed to winning the elections in San Juan as well as the rest of the island.

The conference call was held about two hours after Rossello had aired a televised message expressing his urge to put Puerto Rico back on track and to rescue it from Gov. Sila Calderon's administration.

Some of the NPP leaders who were there with Santini on Thursday were NPP Sen. Kenneth McClintock, NPP Rep. Albita Rivera, and NPP Fajardo Mayor Anibal Melendez.

On another note, the San Juan mayor said the primary between Rossello and Pesquera won't hurt the party's capacity to raise funds. McClintock added that the enthusiasm that Rossello's comeback has sparked will continue to grow and said he has no doubt that the NPP will be able to count with enough economic support to campaign in 2004.

Scientists Examining Signals From Arecibo Radio Telescope

March 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Scientists listening for radio signals from extra terrestrials are going to harness the power of idle home computers.

A project using massed home-computing power to search for alien signals from outer space is going to give a second listen to the most promising radio sources it's detected in four years of work.

Scientists on the SETI(at)home project will use the giant Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico this month to revisit up to 150 spots identified as potential sources of radio signals broadcast by alien civilizations. SETI stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

The signals were from among the literally billions detected since the search for extraterrestrial intelligence project began in 1999.

The University of California, Berkeley-based project harnesses the computing power of 4 million-plus volunteers to scan the data collected at Arecibo. It is largely sponsored by The Planetary Society.

The collective effort cuts both the cost and time required to sift through the extensive data gathered at Arecibo, the world's largest telescope of its kind.

The dozens of promising signals the effort have turned up were chosen for several reasons, including the numbers of times they were detected, their strength and proximity to known stars.

``I give it a one-in-10,000 chance that one of our candidate signals turns out to be from ET,'' project scientist Dan Werthimer, a Berkeley physicist, said.

The results of the second listen should be available in two to three months.

Gen. Marquez: Puerto Rican Soldiers ‘Ready For War’

March 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

JUANA DIAZ (AP) – After affirming that Puerto Rican soldiers "are ready for war," National Guard Adj. Gen. Francisco Marquez announced Friday that another 500 Puerto Rican soldiers will be mobilized soon for a possible U.S. attack against Iraq.

"We have mobilized 3,500 soldiers and will soon mobilize another 500 members of the National Guard," Marquez said. "Another 5,500 will be available."

However, he said he still doesn’t know how many will be mobilized in total.

Marquez made his comments at Fort Allen in Juana Diaz after a ceremony in which 128 school dropouts graduated from high school.

The general said none of the Puerto Rican units have arrived at the Gulf.

"As units, they have not gone yet to the Gulf, but I have some men there before the rest of the unit arrives. I now have some 2,300 soldiers in different posts in the United States," Marquez said.

He said these soldiers are preparing for war as a means to maintain the peace because that is the military’s mission.

"The National Guard process is voluntary, and they understand what their duties are," he said while affirming that all those mobilized have accepted the challenge.

Marquez said it doesn’t correspond to him to support or oppose a possible military conflict, since his responsibility is to train the troops and have them ready to execute the functions they are assigned.

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