Soldiers Happy To Be On Puerto Rican Soil New Party Endorsements Decision Upheld Red Cross Official Goes To Island Paradisus Found 'It Kinda Sucks': Delgado Calderon Asks Bush For Federal Disaster Aid Rossello Will Listen To Pesqueras Advice 18 Soldiers Back On Temporary Pass Ramirez, Santini Bow To Tiody
Happy To Be On Puerto Rican Ground
By Manuel Ernesto Rivera of Associated Press
November 18, 2003
In Iraq, Puerto Rican military police officer Julio Rivera always had a loyal companion: uncertainty.
"One doesnt know if [one is] going to be attacked, who is the person...standing over there. We have to be watching...the...people who are passing, and every day we have to watch if that person will be the shooter or if it will be the other one, without knowing who the person is," recalled Rivera, who has served in the U.S. Army for seven of his 27 years.
Rivera, who spent nine months in Iraq, was one of the soldiers who joined a breakfast with Gov. Sila Calderon on Tuesday to recognize the work of the hundreds of Puerto Rican soldiers in the war.
Maximino Rivera, the soldiers father, said he felt "very proud" of his son and he now understands how his parents suffered when he fought in the Vietnam War.
"When he left, I understood how my parents suffered for me, but I am very happy and thank God he is with me again," he said.
The father said he preferred that his son not be mobilized again. "If they mobilize him again, I think my heart will break because it is very painful," he said.
Happy to be spending time with their families and hoping not to return to the Middle East, dozens of Puerto Rican soldiers participated in the breakfast with the governor.
Only 19 years old, military police officer Aurea Gonzalez said she would return to the conflict if she had to, but she would prefer to remain with her family in Puerto Rico.
"It isnt an easy situation because we are alone and we arent used to be so far from our families for so long, at least those of us who are part of the National Guard and Army Reserve," said Gonzalez, who has been stationed in Saudi Arabia for the past nine months.
Gonzalez said she hopes that the Puerto Rican soldiers who are still in and around Iraq return "safe and sound."
The young soldier said she doesnt know of any Puerto Rican soldier who has deserted.
"Yes, there are many who are far from their families for a long...time and all they yearn for is to return home. There are many who have been in the service for years and have said, This is it, not because they want to desert but because they feel they have completed their mission," she said.
The governor offered a brief message to the soldiers in which she highlighted their courage. "You have defended democracy in a decisive moment; at that moment, not only did you say, Present, but so did your family," Calderon said.
Before her message, the governor asked for a minute of silence in honor of the 13 Puerto Rican soldiers who recently died while on duty.
Some 90 soldiers of the Puerto Rico National Guard will begin training in December before being deployed to Iraq and other destinations, according to National Guard spokeswoman Maj. Millie Rosa.
Some 2,500 soldiers of the Puerto Rican National Guard are deployed throughout the world, 350 of them in the Persian Gulf, Rosa added.
Appeals Court Upholds Decision On Endorsements
November 18, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) The Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld its decision declaring unconstitutional the requirement under the Puerto Rico Electoral Law that a notarized lawyer must authenticate the registration petitions of a new party.
The Justice Department had requested the reconsideration, arguing that the matter had already been judged and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court had maintained the constitutionality of the requirement in the case filed by the Civil Action Party.
With the appeals courts refusal to alter the determination, the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Hector Laffitte prevails. Judge Laffitte had ruled that the statute violated the right of free association and expression, according to published reports.
The only path left for the Puerto Rico government is to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"That is under consideration at the moment. We have 90 days to do it," said State Elections Commission lawyer Gerardo De Jesus.
Red Cross Official Goes To Puerto Rico
November 18, 2003
AKRON--The head of the Summit County chapter of the American Red Cross was deployed Saturday to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to lead the disaster relief effort under way there.
Wayne Brennessel is helping residents who are evacuating their homes amid rains and flooding in the eastern part of the island.
``One of the most challenging aspects of a flood disaster -- it can be many days before the extent of the damage is realized,'' Brennessel said.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by donations of time and money. To donate to the Disaster Relief Fund, call 1-800-HELP NOW or send contributions to the Summit County chapter at 501 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303.
November 18, 2003
WHO would have guessed that Puerto Rico has yet to be introduced to the concept of the all-inclusive vacation? For better or worse, that wait's over. On Dec. 20, Sol Melia Hotels will open the Paradisus Puerto Rico resort on the very tip of the Miquillo Peninsula, just east of San Juan.
The beachfront resort features two-story bungalows that house 490 brightly colored balconied suites. On the 85-acre site, guests can choose from five restaurants, four bars and two golf courses, but there's only one main pool. Doubles start at $519 - that's all-inclusive, per room, per night. Hardly a steal (solmelia.com).
If you want it, here it is, come and get it: a villa at the all-inclusive Sol Melia Paradisus.
'It Kinda Sucks': Delgado: Rodriguez Edges Blue Jays Slugger For AL MVP: Expected To Win: Mystified By Voting
November 18, 2003
Carlos Delgado's power displays at the plate have caused thousands of jaws to drop over the years.
Yesterday, it was Toronto Blue Jays first baseman's turn to be astonished upon learning he had been beaten out in the American League MVP voting by Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
"My reaction was like it kinda sucks, huh?" Delgado said from his parents' home in Puerto Rico.
"We are sitting here waiting for the results, and obviously I was expecting to get the award and that wasn't the case."
Rodriguez won with 242 points in voting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Delgado finished second with 213. Rodriguez was picked first on six ballots, while Delgado received five firsts.
"If they were going to pick somebody from a team that didn't make the playoffs, I think that would have given me an edge," Delgado said. "But that's what I get for thinking, I guess."
Delgado and Rodriguez put up near identical numbers in 2003; with the Rangers shortstop holding an edge in home runs (47 to 42), runs scored (124 to 117), and slugging percentage (.600 to .593), while the Jays first baseman emerged on top in RBIs (145 to 118), batting-average (.302 to .298), and on-base percentage (.425 to .396).
Despite the statistical similarities between the two, Rodriguez was the only player to appear on all 28 ballots cast by the baseball writers -- an exercise in democracy that left Delgado mystified. "I don't understand who they vote for," he said. "I don't know, I really can't read minds so I can't get into anybody's head. But I don't know. What game were you watching?"
Calderon Amends Request To Bush For Federal Funds
November 17, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) Gov. Sila Calderon amended on Monday the petition for emergency federal aid that she made to U.S. President George W. Bush, increasing the amount she had requested to help Puerto Rico recover from the heavy rains that have been pounding the island since last week.
Calderon said she is also requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluate the situation in the municipalities of Arroyo, Fajardo, Humacao, Naguabo, Yabucoa, and Canovanas to determine whether they should also be included in the petition to Bush.
"Im amending the request to the president because individual losses have reached $5.2 million, and in the original petition those losses had been estimated at $4 million," the governor said during a press conference on Monday following an event in which several police members were promoted.
On Sunday, Calderon had requested that Bush declare Puerto Rico a federal disaster area.
The municipalities included in the first petition were Salinas, Guayama, Maunabo, Rio Grande, Santa Isabel, Guanica, Juana Diaz, Patillas, and Yauco.
Meanwhile, the mayors of Lajas and San German requested the governor to include their municipalities in the list of the towns that have been most affected by the rain.
Rossello Says He Will Listen To Pesqueras Advice
By Manuel Ernesto Rivera of The Associated Press
November 17, 2003
SAN JUAN New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello said on Monday that he would listen to the "advice" that his former opponent, Carlos Pesquera, gave him during a meeting they had at Pesqueras home.
He said in that way, he intends to win over the support of the more than 130,000 NPP members who voted for Pesquera in the primary.
The former governor said he had a cordial and open meeting with Pesquera, whom he said expressed his willingness to continue to be active in island politics, especially in matters that may help the cause of statehood for Puerto Rico.
"Im completely open to hearing opinions and advice, particularly from those who competed in the primary at every level, and we will speak emphatically with our actions," Rossello said during a press conference at his committee headquarters in Hato Rey following the meeting with Pesquera.
However, the former governor acknowledged that Pesquera didnt promise to participate actively in the 2004 gubernatorial campaign.
"We didnt specify that, but I understand that his availability to be active in pushing forward the causes of the party and of the pro-statehood movement are there on the table and that they imply that he will be active in this campaign," Rossello said.
He added that he would maintain constant communication with Pesquera and that there is an open invitation to call each other to discuss matters regarding the party and the pro-statehood movement.
Rossello also met with defeated resident commissioner primary candidate Carlos Romero Barcelo, who he said has expressed his willingness to participate in activities of the party and the pro-statehood movement.
The NPP gubernatorial candidate added that he expects Romero Barcelo to eventually meet with NPP resident commissioner candidate Luis Fortuño.
Meanwhile, Pesquera said the meeting he had with Rossello was sincere and focused on the fact that the party needs to make changes in order to win the general elections of 2004.
Pesquera said Rossello needs to attract undecided voters and to alter his message regarding his way of governing so that he can prevail in the gubernatorial race.
"It was a sincere meeting between us. It was held at the right time. I will continue defending my position firmly. A series of changes must take place so that the NPP can become an option for the pro-statehood people," Pesquera said during a radio interview.
"The NPP has already made its decision. What is left to be done now is to strengthen that option," he added.
Eighteen Puerto Rican Soldiers Return On Temporary Pass
November 17, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) Eighteen Puerto Rican soldiers returned to their homes on Sunday as part of a two-week recess program, after which they must resume their mission in Iraq.
The soldiers, who had to travel for three days to arrive home, belong to units 456 and 394 of the U.S. Army Reserve.
According to published reports, the atmosphere at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport was somewhat quiet in comparison with the reception that other groups of soldiers have received.
Sergeant Roberto Perez, 28, carrying nothing more than a backpack, was the first to emerge from the terminal. He said he was waiting for his wife to pick him up.
Perez said he had no words to describe how it felt to be back on the island after eight months on the battlefield.
He added that going back to Iraq will be difficult, but that at least he would be able to recharge himself to go on with the mission.
Miriam Ramirez Withdraws Bid For Republican Party Post
November 17, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer said on Monday that she wouldnt seek a post within the Republican Party at the assembly that has been scheduled for Nov. 23 in San Juan.
Ramirez de Ferrer, who had expressed her interest to serve as president of the party in Puerto Rico said on Monday that she withdrew because she wanted to avoid controversy.
"I have decided not to run because that directorate has already been chosen. I wont go into a polemic," the senator said in an interview with the Associated Press.
The NPP legislator said that, as a member of that party, she wouldnt cease in her fight for statehood and that she would work for the re-election of President George W. Bush.
After Tiody De Jesuswidow of former Gov. Luis A. Ferrefiled her candidacy for the presidency of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini withdrew from his quest for the post.
Meanwhile, Zoraida Fonalledas and NPP Resident Commissioner candidate Luis Fortuño are seeking re-election as national committeewoman and national committeeman of the party in Puerto Rico.
Santini Says He Doesn't Feel Ousted By Tiody
November 16, 2003
SAN JUAN (AP) - San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini said on Sunday that Tiody De Jesus, who is the widow of former Gov. Luis A. Ferre, didn't ruin his chances of becoming the next national committeeman of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico.
De Jesus filed her candidacy to preside over the local Republican Party. Santini was also interested in the position.
"Tiody is an excellent woman, a lady who I respect very much and who has expressed her wish to participate in something for which Don Luis has fought for so long," Santini said in a press conference.
The San Juan mayor added that after learning of De Jesus' intentions, he talked to her and decided to withdraw his aspirations for the post.
"It took me by surprise because I didn't have it in mind at that moment, but it was to be expected of Tiody. She has lived for that for 30 years," the mayor said.
Santini made his statements at the Placita Roosevelt which is been remodeled at an estimated cost of $15 million.