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White House Status Task Force Reconvenes…Kerry Policy On Puerto Rico Promised…Marc, Dayanara Split…Del Toro Gets Oscar Nod…Berrios: A Woman Could Head The PIP…Irizarry Cruz For Ousting ROTC From RUM…Acevedo Vila Condemns Rossello’s Ads…Bill Of Wrongs

White House Status Task Force Reconvenes

January 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

After several years of inactivity, the White House's interagency Status Task Force held its first meeting on Wednesday, local press reported.

The meeting allowed the group to study plans leading to the definition of the status alternatives which will be available to Puerto Ricans, said Ruben Barrales, co-chairman of the group who is in charge of Puerto Rican affairs in the White House.

In the future, the analysis of the presidential committee will include, among other things, deciding whether the Commonwealth is a permanent status condition, he maintained.

By December 2005 at the latest, the governmental agency must submit, a "progress report" regarding the status alternatives available to Puerto Rico as it faces its political future.

Meanwhile, the White House acknowledged that Gov. Sila M. Calderon sent a letter to President George W. Bush on December 8 in which she asked him to consult with the Government of Puerto Rico and with Puerto Ricans of all "political viewpoints" regarding this process of federal analysis.

"I am worried about any (status) plan in which Puerto Ricans are not an integral part, which seems to be the case with reviving the special status task force." Calderon indicated that, "Reviving this group at this stage is seen in Puerto Rico as an effort to promote the interests of just one Political Party (the Republican Party)." Calderon's office made the letter public on Wednesday.

Kerry Policy On Puerto Rico Promised

January 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry proposes to establish formal public policy relative to Puerto Rican affairs, announced Manuel Ortiz, one of Kerry's political advisors.

The pre-candidate's official position will be made public in two weeks, a local newspaper reported.

Luis Navarro, spokesperson for Hispanic Affairs in the Kerry Campaign, has indicated that the presidential hopeful supports Puerto Rico defining its status via formulas which are neither "colonial nor territorial".

Kerry is also on record in the Senate as being in favor of extending Section 30-A of the Federal Income Tax Code.

Senator Kerry won solid victories in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primaries.

Chairman of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila has denied that popular democrats support Kerry, because of his links to the economic initiatives of the NPP.

The PDP has also rejected the proposal of General Wesley Clark, Kerry's contender, who suggested excluding the Commonwealth from a future dialogue on island status.

Clark has named a council of Puerto Rican advisors composed of pro-statehooders such as Carlos Romero Barcelo and defenders of free association such as Marco Rigau.

Marc And Dayanara Split Again

January 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

It appears Marc Anthony's broken marriage can't be mended.

The on-again, off-again union of the Latin singer and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres appears to have wrapped up for good, reports E!Online.

The missus, who had taken Anthony's real last name, Muniz, filed for divorce Jan. 20 in Miami, calling their union ``irretrievably broken.''

The couple, who wed in 2000, have two children, Cristian, 2, and Ryan, 5 months. Anthony also has a 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

The beauty queen is seeking alimony and child support for their two sons.

Wedded bliss for the camera-friendly couple has been short-lived ever since they swapped vows in a quickie Sin City ceremony in May 2000.

Their first split came two years later. No reason was given at the time, and the couple never filed for separation or divorce.

Five months later, the duo appeared to have patched things up when they renewed their vows in a ceremony at San Juan Cathedral in their native Puerto Rico.

The reconciliation even produced a son, Ryan Anthony Muniz, born in August in New York. But baby wasn't enough to keep Anthony and Torres together.

Del Toro Gets Oscar Nomination


January 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004
PUERTORICOWOW. All rights reserved. 

Bernicio Del Toro was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his role in the recent film "21" Grams. Del Toro will be competing against Tim Robbins (Mystic River), Alec Baldwin (The Cooler), Djimon Hounsou (In America) and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) for the Oscar to be presented during the annual ceremonies to be held in Los Angeles on February 29.

He previously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2001 for his role as an incorruptible Mexican policeman in the movie "Traffic".

A Woman Could Lead The PIP, Berrios Says

January 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - A woman could soon be president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), which hasn’t happened since the party’s founding in 1946.

Acknowledging that he can’t be president forever, Ruben Berrios, who has been heading the party for over three decades, said the PIP has valuable leaders that can substitute him, including Vice President Maria de Lourdes Santiago.

Berrios said the young attorney who seeks an at-large senate seat is an excellent political leader.

He added that it is wrong to think Gov. Sila M. Calderon’s performance as governor would make it harder for other women to reach the post.

PDP Senator Favors Ousting ROTC From RUM

January 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

MAYAGUEZ (AP) - Popular Democratic Party Sen. Rafael Irizarry Cruz, who was a lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army, said Wednesday that he favors ousting the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (RUM).

Irizarry Cruz, the chairman of the Veteran Affairs Senate Committee, said the ROTC facilities should be relocated outside the campus to avoid the constant confrontations with students.

The lawmaker added that military science courses should be given in other institutions.

Since last semester, students and professors have held demonstrations to protest the presence of the ROTC on campus.

Those who favor the ROTC’s presence say demonstrators have vandalized the facilities.

Acevedo Vila Condemns Rossello’s Latest Campaign

January 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday criticized New Progressive Party gubernatorial contender Pedro Rossello’s latest advertising campaign in which he appears dressed as a blue-collar construction worker.

Arguing that Rossello’s eight years as governor produced adversary conditions for the working class, Acevedo Vila condemned the former governor’s campaign. Rossello has said he will soon be dressing up as a baker in his effort to get to know the working class better.

"This is someone whose excessive privatization and obsession with statehood left thousands of people unemployed.... If during those eight years he was unable to understand the needs of the working class, I doubt he could do so in a day," Acevedo Vila said.

Acevedo Vila noted that far beyond wearing the clothing, Rossello should treat economic development and job creation seriously.

Bill Of Wrongs


January 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004
Poughkeepsie Journal. All rights reserved.  

Bill of Rights or ''Bill of Wrongs''? Where else in a democratic society are millions of its citizens' rights to vote in question?

In Washington, D.C., the home of 570,000 people, citizens are taxed, conscripted and regulated by Uncle Sam, but have no voting representative in Congress. This is matched by several million voteless citizens in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands. In eight states, nearly 1.5 million are disenfranchised because they once served time as felons. Hundreds of thousands of members of independent parties face discriminatory legislation that would deprive them of their vote. Not to be forgotten is the 2000 presidential election shame, when the votes of millions were prevented, disregarded or not counted.

It seems ironic, given daily doses of our commitment to democracy around the world at a cost of many billions, that we abrogate these principles in our own backyard.

Michael Kulla, Pleasant Valley

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