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Noriega Criticizes Melecio Over Rossello’s Ads…Berrios Prods Acevedo Vila To Discuss Status, He Opposes Politicizing The Issue Before Elections…Rossello Rejects PIP Constitutional Assembly Proposal…Justice Dept. Awaits Fed. Comment On Vieques MOU …Acevedo Vila Retakes PDP Reigns…'Naked Boys Singing' Can Show

David Noriega Lambastes Juan Melecio

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

SAN JUAN (AP) - Former Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) legislator David Noriega criticized former State Elections Commission (SEC) President Juan R. Melecio for defending the ads that accused several Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leaders of corruption.

Noriega said such ads also denigrate Melecio's reputation. He added that Melecio--who presides over the campaign committee of pre-gubernatorial campaign of former Gov. Pedro Rossello--has used his prestige to approve of a demagogic campaign.

The aforementioned ads were aimed at counteracting the public accusations that the governing PDP has made against the NPP for its recent history of government corruption scandals.

Melecio justified the campaign and distanced Rossello from the corruption felonies committed by former cabinet members.

"I didn't expect judge Melecio to sink so low," Noriega concluded.

Berrios Urges Acevedo Vila To Discuss Status Issue

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

SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios Martinez urged the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leadership to engage in legislative action to resolve the political status of the island.

Berrios Martinez, who is also running for governor, said that the PDP platform that won the general election in 2000 included the possibility of taking legislative action to work with the political status of the island in case a consensus couldn't be reach among the three local political parties.

"The PDP controls the Legislature. Therefore the decision of whether we do something about it before the elections is in the hands of that leadership," said the veteran politician.

"If we don't do anything is because they aren't wiling to do so," he added during a radio interview.

The PIP gubernatorial candidate insisted on inviting PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila to discuss the possibility of debating the century-old status issue through a special assembly.

Berrios Martinez's invitation came forth a day after he failed to convince New Progressive Party (NPP) pre-gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello to let a special assembly deal with the future relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland.

"We don't really need to reach an agreement, but it's good to have that kind of dialogue," Berrios Martinez said, adding that there is no valid reason for the PDP not to discuss the status issue with the PIP.

Berrios Martinez disagreed with Acevedo Vila, who has recently said that discussing the status issue before the general election would politicize the issue.

"The status of Puerto Rico is a political matter. He is contradicting himself. I think that is just an excuse," Berrios Martinez added.

Acevedo Vila Delays The Discussion Of Status

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

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

A day after he took the reins of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), resident commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila, criticized the meeting between statehood advocate and former Gov. Pedro Rossello and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Ruben Berrios.

"I believe that meeting was held at the wrong moment, and could unfortunately result in the politicizing of an important issue for the people of Puerto Rico," Acevedo Vila said.

Berrios and NPP pre-gubernatorial candidate Rossello met Friday to discuss the political problem that has affected the island for over a century.

On July 30, when he filed his candidacy for governor, Acevedo Vila committed himself to a discussion of status as soon as he had assumed the PDP presidency.

Acevedo Vila added that he will begin an internal discussion on status, and that when they are ready, they will make the necessary statement.

Berrios And Rossello Met

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

SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) President Ruben Berrios Martinez and former governor Pedro Rossello met on Friday to discuss the island status issue.

Afterwards, Berrios held a press conference to announce the results of the meeting.

The pro-independence leader said Rossello rejected his proposal to hold a referendum in December on the people’s decision to hold a constitutional assembly or not.

"Rossello reiterated his refusal to endorse a constitutional assembly on the status issue, which is something I find regrettable," Berrios said.

According to Berrios the former governor reaffirmed his rejection of the constitutional assembly as a way of solving the status issue but did not offer any reasons for doing so.

"Now it us up to the Popular Democratic Party leaders to decide if this mechanism, which is the one favored by Gov Sila Calderon, is also endorsed by them," Berrios said.

Immediately Berrios urged PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila to meet and discuss the possibility of working together in favor of a constitutional assembly.

"If in reality the PDP wants to solve the status issue, this is the moment to meet," Berrios said.

Meanwhile Berrios and Rossello agreed to work separate agendas for a common goal; the return of U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads to the Puerto Rican people in the event that it’s closing is ordered.

Berrios has proposed that the land be used to develop multiple industries while Rossello suggests it be used to create a international transshipment port.

Justice Dept. Awaits Federal Comment On Vieques MOU

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

SAN JUAN (AP) — Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez, said on Friday that the U.S. Department of the Interior has not responded to her recommendations on the memorandum of understanding related to the transfer of the land in eastern Vieques to the government of Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez said that federal authorities should have responded to her memorandum proposal this week.

"Up to Thursday night [federal authorities] had not sent their comments," said Rodriguez in a press conference held at La Fortaleza after a meeting of the Vieques Transition Committee.

Rodriguez did not want to comment on the memorandum draft sent to the federal government claiming it is a working document, which is subject to comments.

The Justice Department has not concluded the negotiation with federal authorities about the land in eastern Vieques, which has already been transferred to the Puerto Rican government.

Acevedo Vila Retakes Reigns Of Popular Democratic Party

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

August 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila, who is also running for governor in 2004, became the official president of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday during a swearing-in ceremony at the party's headquarters in Puerta de Tierra.

Surrounded by his family, Gov. Sila Calderon passed on the reigns of the PDP over to Acevedo Vila in a room filled with PDP leaders, government officials, and followers.

"We have deposited our hopes on you. You are the stand-bearer of our ideals and the leader of the new generation. I don't have the slightest doubt that you will be the next governor of Puerto Rico," Calderon said as the room broke in a roar of cheers and applauses.

The governor noted the fact that it was in that same room where she was sworn-in as president after Acevedo Vila passed on the reigns to her. Calderon said she was satisfied with her performance as party president and governor and urged him to continue what she has started.

"I have fulfilled the mission that I had set for myself and that you have given to me. With that understanding and with great emotion, I give you, Anibal, the presidency of this party that I adore," Calderon said.

After an effusive hug, Acevedo Vila took the podium, from where he urged voters from all parties to cross party lines and vote for him in 2004.

"Pro-commonwealth brothers, pro-statehood brothers, pro-independence brothers, non-affiliated brothers, Puerto Rican brothers who feel proud of who we are and who reject deceit and lies, I ask you to join me. Join the new Puerto Rican impulse," said an energetic Acevedo Vila.

Following the ceremony, the resident commissioner told reporters that starting Friday he would be discussing the possible changes in the party's directory. He acknowledged PDP Secretary General Fernando Torres Ramirez's desire to explore other professional areas but said Torres Ramirez has also expressed his willingness to continue working with the party and that those issues would be sorted as soon as possible.

Acevedo Vila didn't say when he would present his government platform, as New Progressive Party pre-gubernatorial candidates Carlos Pesquera and Pedro Rossello have been doing but assured the press that he would present his ideas "when the time is right."

On another note, the resident commissioner reacted to the ads that had been placed by the Rossello Committee 2004 on Thursday which presented pictures of him, the governor, and about 30 other PDP leaders as "the most wanted" corrupt politicians.

"Rossello was the one who was portrayed in that ad. That ad represent the old styles of running political campaigns that the people repudiated in 2000 and will repudiate in 2004," said Acevedo Vila, adding that nothing will make him give up his run for governor.

'Naked Boys Singing' Can Show In P.R.

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- An appeals court has ruled that ``Naked Boys Singing'' can return to a city-run theater where it was twice canceled, but producers are following through with a backup plan to stage the musical at a private theater.

The court on Tuesday recognized the original contract between City Hall and the show's producers allowing the production to be staged. The Puerto Rican version of the musical, written by Robert Schrock, features eight nude men dancing to Spanish-Caribbean beats such as salsa and plena.

The appeals court also agreed with producers that the Tapia Theater's board of directors censored the show prior to seeing it when they walked out on a dress rehearsal nearly two weeks ago.

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